The Outsiders

 

In this book analysis, about the book "The Outsiders" by S. 
 E. Hinton I will discuss character and plot development, as 
 well as the setting, the author's style and my opinions 
 about the book. In this part of the analysis I will give 
 some information about the subjects of the book, and about 
 the author.

 The author wrote the story when she was just 16 years old, 
 in the 1950s. The book was successful, and it was sold, and 
 still being sold, in many copies as a young adults novel. 
 There was a movie made about it, and today there are still 
 many schools that use this book in junior high and high 
 schools for English classes. There were plays made about the 
 book too. The Outsiders is about a gang. They live in a city 
 in Oklahoma. Ponyboy Curtis, a 14 year old greaser, tells 
 the story. Other characters include Sodapop and Darry, 
 Ponyboy's brothers, Johnny, Dallas, and Two-Bit, that were 
 also gang members and Ponyboy's friends. This story deals 
 with two forms of social classes: the socs, the rich kids, 
 and the greasers, the poor kids. The socs go around looking 
 for trouble and greasers to beat up, and then the greasers 
 are blamed for it, because they are poor and 
 cannot affect the authorities. I hope you would enjoy and 
 learn something about the book from reading this analysis.

 Plot Development

 The plot development in the book, "The Outsiders" by S.E. 
 Hinton, was easy to follow. In this part of the book 
 analysis I will give some more details about the plot 
 development. There were no hooks or hurdles in the beginning 
 of the book, the first sentence starts right away with the 
 plot-without any forewords. This is the beginning of the 
 first sentence: "When I stepped out into the bright 
 sunlight from the darkness of the movie house..." (page 9). 
 As you can see, it goes straight to the point without any 
 prologues or any kind of introduction. The plot development 
 in the middle of the story was sensible and easy to 
 understand. It was clear and simple, and the events have 
 occurred in a reasonable order. The ending of the story was 
 a bit expected. I anticipated the death of Johnny because a 
 broken neck usually means death. The death of Dally was not 
 as predictable as Johnny's death because it was said that: 
 "He was tougher than the rest of us-tougher, colder, 
 meaner." (page 19). I did not think that such a tough person 
 would get himself killed because of a death of a friend, 
 although it was said a short time before the death of Dally 
 that: "Johnny was the only thing Dally loved." (page 160). 
 The climaxes at the end of the story were the deaths of 
 Johnny and Dally. Here are quotations about the deaths: 
 Johnny's death: "The pillow seemed to sink a little, and 
 Johnny died." (page 157). Dally's death: "He was jerked half 
 around by the impact of the bullets, then slowly crumpled 
 with a look of grim triumph on his face. He was dead before 
 he hit the ground." (page 162).

 To conclude I can say that the plot development was simple 
 and easy to understand and to follow. The author organized 
 it in a way that fits the actual content of the plot.

 Character Development

 The characters in the book, "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton, 
 were not very heroic-they were just humans-it was easy to 
 believe that this is the way they should be. The characters 
 in the plot give the reader a feeling this can be a true 
 story. The author has created the personality of the 
 characters through the descriptions of Ponyboy-the 
 narrator-and through their actions. Following are some 
 examples of these methods of getting familiar with a 
 character. Here is an example for a description of Ponyboy: 
 "Steve Randle was seventeen, tall and lean, with thick 
 greasy hair he kept combed in complicated swirls. He was 
 cocky, smart, and Soda's best buddy since grade school. 
 Steve's specialty was cars..." (page 17). The reader can 
 find this kind of descriptions almost everywhere in the 
 story, but especially in the beginning. I think the author 
 put them there because the reader does not know the 
 characters, and he needs to get familiar with them. The 
 descriptions make the reader know the characters better and 
 understand their actions. A good example of an action that 
 was taken and suggested something about a character is the 
 way Dally was killed. He wanted the police to kill him, so 
 he robbed a store, and the police officers shoot him. 
 This shows that Dally was sensitive to a death of a friend 
 although he acted like a tough guy. The dialogues in the 
 stories show the thoughts and the feelings of the speakers. 
 The way the gang members talk shows that they are gang 
 members and street boys, because they speak in street slang. 
 When the socs talk to greasers, the reader can feel their 
 aversion to them. Following are some examples for dialogues 
 that indicate something about the characters. Here is an 
 example for a dialogue with slang in it: "...so I can 
 still help Darry with the bills and stuff...Tuff enough. 
 Wait till I get out...I told you he don't mean half of what 
 he says..." (page 26). The highlighted words and phrases are 
 ones that will not be used in formal writing and they 
 even contain grammar mistakes. Here is an example for the 
 hate the socs have to the greasers: "`Hey, grease,' one said 
 in an over-friendly voice. `We're gonna do you a favor, 
 greaser. We're gonna cut all that long greasy hair off.'" 
 (page 13). The reader can feel the hatred of the socs to 
 the greaser in this dialogue when they tell him what they 
 are going to do to him. The central figure of the story is 
 Ponyboy that is also the narrator. Here I would analyze his 
 character. The physical description of Ponyboy can be found 
 in the first page of the book, page 9: "I have light-brown, 
 almost-red hair and greenish-gray eyes. I wish they were 
 more gray, because I hate most guys that have green eyes, 
 but I have to be content with what I have. My hair is longer 
 than a lot of boys wear theirs, squared off in back and long 
 at the front and sides, but I am a greaser and most of 
 my neighborhood rarely bothers to get a haircut. Besides, I 
 look better with long hair." He is smart, according to page 
 12: "...I make good grades and have a high IQ and 
 everything...". He is a bit naive sometimes, like in 
 page 45 when he tried to convince himself that the only 
 difference between socs and greasers is that greasers like 
 Elvis and do not like the Beatles and socs like the Beatles 
 and do not like Elvis. Sometimes, Ponyboy is daydreaming and 
 not connected to reality, like in page 158, when he tried 
 to convince himself that Johnny isn't dead: "...That still 
 body back in the hospital wasn't Johnny. Johnny was 
 somewhere else-maybe asleep in the lot..." 

 The supporting cast in the story is the gang and other 
 characters. The gang members have long descriptions from 
 Ponyboy's point of view, and they are part of the plot 
 development. The other characters in the book do not have 
 long descriptions, and they usually appear in small parts of 
 the plot to help its development.

 To conclude I can say that the characters have contributed a 
 lot to the coherent development of the plot. The characters 
 are believable and they enhance the feeling of realism in 
 the story.

 Setting

 In this part of the book analysis about the book "The 
 Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton I will discuss the setting. The 
 setting is appropriate to the plot-the streets in the "wrong 
 side of town".The author's descriptions are deep but easy to 
 understand. The neighborhood where the gang lives is a place 
 that fits the plot well, and helps to understand it. A good 
 example for a description would be the one in page 85, of 
 the dawn: "...The dawn was coming then. All the lower valley 
 was covered with mist, and sometimes little pieces of it 
 broke off and floated away in small clouds. The sky was 
 lighter in the east, and the horizon was a thin golden line. 
 The clouds changed from gray to pink, and the mist was 
 touched with gold. There was a silent moment when everything 
 held its breath, and then the sun rose. It was beautiful." 
 This kind of description made an image in my mind of a 
 beautiful dawn-this was a word picture.The story happens in 
 the 1950s in the US, it lasts a few days. The author usually 
 describes every part of the day using Ponyboy. The mood the 
 setting creates is of the neighborhood, and street life. 
 This really contributes to the judicious plot development-it 
 makes it more believable and reasonable. 

 To conclude I can say that the setting fits the plot and the 
 characters in a very good way. This is the best setting that 
 can be for this kind of plot and characters, because other 
 setting would make the story ridiculous because a street 
 gang can only fit into the streets.

 Author's Style

 In this part of the book analysis, about the book "The 
 Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton, her style of writing would be 
 discussed. The word usage in the dialogues between the gang 
 members is of street slang. In the descriptions there are 
 less simple words and more descriptive and artistic words 
 (look at Setting and Character Development for examples). 
 There is suspense in the book-usually in the middle of 
 chapters-that makes the reader to want to read what will 
 happen next. An example for suspense is when the socs have 
 tried to drown Ponyboy-there was uncertainty and I was 
 anxious about what is going to happen next. The way the plot 
 develops is easy to follow and to understand-the 
 writer does not make it too complex. 

 To conclude I can say that the author's style is easy to 
 read and not complicated. Reading the book is enjoyable and 
 there is no need to look up words in the dictionary.

 Critic's Choice

 In this part of the book analysis I will write my opinions 
 about the book "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton. The book 
 really focuses on what some kids in the US have to go 
 through. One problem is how Ponyboy has to grow up without 
 parents. Another problem is that the characters are in a 
 gang and at war with another gang. A problem with the family 
 that was shown in the story is that kids today may have 
 parents that are alive, but they might not have enough time 
 for them. Also, kids are worried about not fitting in and 
 might join gangs to act "cooler". It also shows how if a 
 member of a family has an injury it's tough for the family 
 and friends. This happens when Johnny gets hurt and he did 
 not want to see his parents. Also, it was a problem for 
 Ponyboy because he was worrying about him the whole time. I 
 think "The Outsiders" is an average book. It really does 
 show how these things can affect a family and friends.
 The book was rather good. It would have been better if it 
 was written in the 90s, and not in the 50s. This is because 
 then young people that live today time can correlate with 
 it.

 I think people who enjoy action and some adventure, should 
 read this book, because the action, the writing, and the 
 adventure are powerful.