S. E. Hilton



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.


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 

I think people who enjoy action and some adventure, should 
read this book, because the action, the writing, and the 
adventure are powerful. There is always something going on. 
For example, when Ponyboy was walking through the park, and 
three socs came out of the bushes and jumped him. This is 
one of the many times that problems between the two gangs 
end in destruction. One other reason to read the book is 
that the end of each chapter of the book does not leave you 
in suspense. You do not have to keep reading to solve a 
problem. There is always something big going on, such as 
when Johnny broke his back trying to rescue children 
from a burning church. A thing that reduced the realism of 
the story was the names of the people (i e Ponyboy, Two-Bit, 
Sodapop). I have never known people with these strange 
names-there are no parents who would give their children 
names like these.

To conclude I can say that the book was not very good but it 
was not too bad either. The writing is clear and easy to 


In this part of the analysis I will give a general summary 
of the whole analysis of the book, "The Outsiders" by S.E. 
Hinton, and discuss the difficulties I had preparing it.
I found the book hard to relate to in some parts because of 
the different time it was written in-the 1950s. A good 
example for it was that Ponyboy thought the big difference 
between socs and greasers was that the greasers loved Elvis 
and the socs loved the Beatles. Since I was not born 
at Elvis' and the Beatles' time and I do not like either of 
them-I cannot relate to it. The were two other reasons for 
why it was hard to relate to the book: the first reason is 
that my life is not like the lives of the characters in 
the book. The things that Ponyboy and his brother did, I 
would never dream of doing. For example, I would not beat up 
people or gang up on people. The second reason is that I 
think it would be hard to live a life without parents as 
Ponyboy does.

To conclude I would like to say that the book has made me 
see the way people that are living on the streets-in the 
wrong side of the town-behave and feel within themselves. It 
is like going "behind the scenes" of a gang.


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