The Outsider1 referat

The Outsiders


The Author:

Susan Eloise Hinton wrote the novel The Outsiders when she was 16 years old. She grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was a publishing author by the age of 17. She has always enjoyed reading but wasn't satisfied with the literature that was being written for young adults, which influenced her to write novels like The Outsiders. When she wrote this book the publishers suggested that she use her name as 'S.E. Hinton, so that readers wouldn't know that a woman had written a book about boys and gangs. That book was her first novel and brought her a lot of publicity fame and also a lot of pressure.

The settings:

The story happened in the 1950s in the US and lasted a few days. The author usually describes every part of the day of the young Ponyboy. The story has no time descriptions so nobody knows how long the story does really last but presumably not very long.

The main characters:

Ponyboy Curtis is a 14-year-old Boy who lost his parents in a car accident and lives with his older brothers Darry and Sodapop. He is an intelligent and perceptive boy and a good student and athlete, but most people at his school think he's a bad guy like the rest of his Greaser friends. He often reads books and goes to the cinema but nobody in his gang has the same interests so he does the things he likes alone. He is someone who often thinks about life and who studies people around him and draws conclusions about them. Apart from that he often thinks about the differences between the Greasers and the Socs and sometimes he can't understand either.
He is the narrator. Very clever and does good at school. He is close to Sodapop but not to Darry. Ponyboy fails to be independent, free willed character because he continues to play it safe. Has a lot of fights with Darry because he is very concerned about Ponyboy. In the end when Ponyboy realizes that Darry really loves him a lot they make up with each other.
Johnny Cade is Pony's closest friend and the gang's pet. His parents are alcoholics and don't care about him. He is afraid of walking along in the streets after being attacked by a group of Socs. He is a nice and calm boy who is looking for love, which he only gets in the gang.
He is the gang's pet. When he was a little child he got abused by his parents. He is very sensitive but his parents doesn't take care of him so the gang is like a family to him. Since he was nearly beaten to death by the Socs he always carries a switch blade with him. He died dignified for the life of the kids in the church.

The plot:

The book is about the growing up and the growing conflict between poor and rich social classes; the Greasers always live on the outside and need to watch their backs, Greasers haven't got much money to live and have long hair that they grease, which is their symbol and the Socs (Socials) who drive Mustangs and Corvairs and who live a perfect life. The story is written from the point of view of a 14-year-old Greaser called Ponyboy who lives with his two older brothers Sodapop and Darry alone, after the death of their parents. He tells about his problems, for example, the growing-up without parents, coping with school; and about the everyday and the surviving in a city where two different gangs fight against each other and were war between them dominates. Johnny, Dallas, and Two- Bit are gang members of the Greasers and very good friends of Ponyboy and his brothers. There are many fights, troubles and problems but the Greasers stick together as a gang and help each other every time. They go through many hard times, and some lose their lives because of fights, but in the end the Greasers turn out to be the winners and they realize that friendship is one of the important things of life.


The story starts with an attack on Ponyboy by the Socs on the way home from a movie. His brothers and the gang intervene at the right time to save him. After this event he remembers his friend Johnny who was also beaten nearly to death by a Soc named Bob several weeks before and who still bears the physical and emotional fears of the incident. In the evening Johnny and Pony meet Dally, who wanders round trying to break laws. On their way to a drive-in movie they get acquainted(Bekanntschaft machen) with two girls, Cherry and Marcia who are Socs. After a long talk between Pony and Cherry, about their lives and the differences between their gangs they get attacked by the Socs again, but this time nothing bad happens. Pony comes home too late and has troubles with his oldest brother Darry who is so angry that he hits him. That's the reason why Pony runs away from home. He meets Johnny and during their talks Bob and other Socs come and hit them badly. Out of fear and hatred Johnny kills Bob with a gun. Both of them are shocked and go to Dally who helps them and bring them to a place where they are in safety. Many weeks they hide near a church and Dally supports them with food and news about them. After some weeks they want to present themselves to the police but then they are impede because the church is on fire and they want to rescue some kids who were captured in the church. After the rescue they wake up in the hospital where Pony and Dallas are lying with burns and contusion. Johnny is badly hurt because he broke his back and is in a critical condition. Later Pony meets his brothers who are happy to have Pony back. Everywhere Dally, Johnny and Pony are known as Heroes. The next weeks are hard times for Pony because many bad things happen. During the big rumble between the Greasers and the Socs, Pony is badly hurt by one of the Socs. The Greasers win the rumble and after that Pony and Dally go to the hospital to see Johnny and tell him about the fight. Shortly after this talk Johnny dies, and in the same evening Dally is so desperate that he robs a store and after this he is killed by the police. After that Pony gets very ill and is in a bad condition but he gets all support from all his friends who help him to recover.
Pony is scared by what happened, and is convinced that he not Johnny, killed the Soc. He is also afraid that the Social Services will take him and Soda away from Darry and put them into a foster home.
Pony is very desperate and can't believe it and wants to replace the events. Everything gets worse and worse and Pony has to go to the court because of the death of the Soc boy Bob. Finally Pony is acquitted by the court and things get better. The fights between Greasers and Socs grow less and school is getting much better. In the end the events of the past still haunt him and finally he writes down the story of what happened as a project for English class.

The Motives:

First of all the book wants to tell us what life on the street in the bad/wrong side of a town means. In connection with hatred and war for example, the differences between two social classes and the result of it. It also shows how people live; and it demonstrates also how parents care about their children which shows that they are responsible for every action of their Kids. Finally the average class have managed to show the Socs that they maybe haven't got anything but that they have the courage to achieve/enforce (durchsetzten) themselves.

My Opinion:

In my opinion the book is very good and the plot and the characters are written in a very interesting way. The description is deep and everything is written in a street slang but it is easy to understand. At first when I started to read the book I found the beginning very boring and wanted to stop reading but then I went on and the book became more and more interesting. The way the plot develops was easy for me to follow and to understand. Apart from that, the style is easy to read and not complicated. While I was reading the book I was astonished because there was no need to look up words in the dictionary. I also liked the plot because it is clear and simple and the events occurred in a reasonable order and in my opinion the characters were so human that it was easy for me to believe that this can be a true story. In the book there is also a good description of characters which makes it interesting for me to understand the people and their living conditions. There was one thing in the book which I found out at first. It was the problem with the family that was shown and that kids today may have parents who are alive, but who might not have enough time to care about them which is in my opinion very sad. The part which I liked best was:
Nothing Gold Can Stay
by Robert Frost
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hire to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief;
So down goes down today.
Nothing gold can stay.
This was a poem that Pony recited to Johnny when they were in the church after Johnny had killed Bob, the Soc. When Johnny is dying in the hospital, his last words are 'Stay gold'. He was referring to this poem. It shows their closeness, because they were together, alone, and scared when Ponyboy said it. It also shows that Johnny wants Pony to be a 'good' Greaser, despite everything that has happened.

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