Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Outsiders

Hinton, S. E. (1967). The Outsiders. New York: Viking Press.

Image credit: Wikipedia

A group of outcasts band together to survive the social injustice present in their small town and high school. 


The Outsiders is the quintessential young adult novel written by S. E. Hinton when she was just a sophomore in high school. Much of the success of this novel can be attributed to its authenticity in its representation of social class in high schools across the United States. Hinton presents two different social groups in an Oklahoma town; the Greasers are stereotyped as poor, uneducated “hoods,” while the Socs are perceived as rich, superior and perfect. Throughout the novel Hinton proves that appearances can be deceiving and all teenagers, regardless of their social class, experience similar challenges during adolescence. Touching on familiar teenage topics such as popularity, friendship, and identity allow young readers to relate to the main characters and storyline no matter what side of the tracks they reside.
The themes of death and loss are also present in The Outsiders, but Hinton uses both themes in a realistic way that demands empathy from the readers. The development of the relationship between the Curtis brothers is touching and authentic. While their familial issues may not be exactly the same as those of every reader, everyone can relate to growing pains within the family dynamic, especially during adolescence. Another important aspect of The Outsiders for many young adults is the portrayal of friends making a surrogate family for teenagers. As adolescents come of age, they tend to identify more with their peers than their family members. And in such a way, they develop a family as evidenced in the group of greasers that they novel is centered around. The book is most appropriate for young adults ages 14 and up due to the violence and intense scenes.

  • ALA Best Young Adult Book, 1975 
  • Chicago Tribune Book World spring Book Festival Honor Book, 1967
  • Massachusetts Children’s Book Award, 1979
  • Media and Methods Maxi Award, 1975 
  • New York Herald Tribune Best Teenage Books List, 1967

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