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The Outsiders Essay, Research Paper


The Outsiders

By: S.E. Hinton

This story is about a young boy of 14 named Ponyboy. He is part of a hood group called Greasers on the east side of town, a group of lower-class teenagers who wear their hair long and greasy, wear jeans and ripped-up T-shirts, and are at odds with the rich-kid bullies known as the Socs . This group of hoods are born into rich families from the west side of town, are of a high social class, drive around in Mustangs and Corvairs, and mostly wear checkered jackets with a madras on them. One day, as Ponyboy is walking home from a movie, he is jumped by a gang of Socs. At the last minute, his buddies from his group (made up of his brothers Darry and Sodapop, who raised Ponyboy now that their parents are dead, the hardened hood Dally Winston, quiet innocent Johnny, and wise-cracking Two-Bit) scare off the socs and rescue him. The next night, Ponyboy and Johnny join Dally to go looking around for a good fight and maybe catch a movie. There they sit behind two attractive young girls and Dally attempts to obnoxiously get their attention and pick one up. After Johnny tells him to stop, Johnny and Ponyboy sit with the girls, Cherry and Marcia, and Ponyboy and Cherry discover to their mutual surprise that they have a great deal in common. Two-bit appears, and the three greasers walk the Socs girls back to Two-Bit s house so that he can drive them home. On the way, they run into Bob and Randy, the girls drunken boyfriends and the socs that beat up Johnny a couple years ago, and the girls agree to leave with them in order to prevent a fight between the two gangs. On his way home Ponyboy takes a stop by the vacant lot with Johnny and accidentally drifts off. When he wakes up and goes home his brother Darry angrily lectures him on what could have happened and slaps him. Then he runs out the door, finds Johnny, and goes to the park to get away from things. There, however, the two young greasers run into Randy and Bob, with a few of their Soc friends. One of them holds Ponyboy s head under an ice cold fountain, and Ponyboy blacks out. When he comes to, he is lying on the ground next to Johnny. The bloody corps of Bob is next to them. Johnny explained how he had to knife Bob to save him. Terrified and confused, the two friends hurry to find Dally, the one person they think can help them. Dally sends them with a gun and some money to an abandoned church near Windrixville on a train, where they hide out for a week. They cut their hair so that they won t fit their description in the paper. After a week, dally comes to check on them, and says that because of Bob s death, the disputes between the socs and the greasers have become worse then ever. He also told them that rumble is going to be held to settle the matters once and for all. Cherry feels responsible for the whole problem and acted as a spy for the greasers for updates and info on the socs. Johnny surprises Dally by declaring his intention to go back to turn himself in. Dally drives them back, but as they leave, the notice that the church has caught on fire and had several schoolchildren trapped inside. Ponyboy and Johnny, feeling responsible for the event rush inside the church to save the children. Just as they get the last child through a window, the roof caves in and Ponyboy jumps out with fire on his back and blacks out again, leaving Johnny trapped inside. This time when Ponyboy regains consciousness he finds himself inside of an ambulance. When he reaches the hospital he is told Johnny was hit by a support beam that fell in the church and that Dally went in to save him and got his arm burnt. Johnny had broken his back and is in critical condition. Darry and Sodapop hear the news and arrived at the hospital to get Ponyboy and tell him that he has to attend a hearing where a judge will decide whether to let him stay with Darry or send him to a boy s home with Sodapop. After a couple hours Two-Bit invites Ponyboy to get a coke, where they run into Randy. Randy tells them that he is sick of all the fighting, and that he does not plan to go to the rumble and will leave town. At the hospital, Johnny seems weak. Dally is stronger, and asks for Two-Bit s black-handled switchblade. On their way home, Two-Bit and Ponyboy see Cherry. She refuses to visit Johnny because he killed Bob, and Ponyboy calls her a traitor. At the rumble, the greasers kick the tar out of the socs. Dally shows up just in time to fight, having used Two-Bit s switchblade to get himself out of the hospital. Once the fight had ended Ponyboy and Dally hurried back to see Johnny where they find out he is dying. As he died Dally loses his self-control and runs out of the room. In frustration Dally robs a grocery store and was being hunted by the cops. The greasers hurry to meet him at the vacant lot but the cops pull up. When the cops see Dally pull out an empty gun they open fire killing Dally under a street lamp. Then the gang turns around and see Ponyboy pass out. When he wakes up he is in his bed at home. He has had a concussion from a kick he sustained at the rumble, and had been delirious in bed for several days. When he gets better he attends a hearing, where he is acquitted from any involvement in Bobs death and allowed to remain at home with Darry. Sodapop asks them not to fight and the two brothers agree not to fight anymore.

In conclusion to the book I believe it was an excellent book and I recommend it to people beginning high school or ending grade school.


1. Dallas Winston -

He is 17 years old and he lived in New York. Dally was first arrested at the age of ten. He if a very cold and mean person. If someone was in trouble he wouldn t lift a finger to help them. He doesn t have any real place to stay, if he was close to someone s home he would sleep there. He would usually stay at

Tim Shepard s or Buck s place.

2. Keith -

Almost never called Keith in his life he goes by the name Two-Bit . This name was granted to him because he had a very smart mouth and in an argument he always got his two-bits worth in. He is a friendly person that always understands people even when he s drunk. He is a good shoplifter and carries a switch bade with him eve though he never uses it. He is always smiling and always cheers people up.

3. Randy -

I suspect that he got involved in the Soc gang because of peer pressure. He had a best friend named Robert that died and then the whole ordeal became to much for him to bear. I find that he is truly kind hearted but is shoved around and given orders


1. groggy -(adj.) not steady, drunk.

2. ember -(noun) a piece of wood or coal still glowing in the ashes of a fire.

3. bawl -(verb) to shout or cry out loudly.

4. lynx -(noun) a wildcat from the northern hemisphere with a short tail, long legs, and tufts of hair ending at the ears.

5. roundabout -(adj.) indirect.

6. madras -(noun) a thin cotton design closely woven to a shirt, dress, or other clothing.

7. hue -(noun) the property of a color that can be distinguished from gray.

8. hood -(noun) a word that identifies a member of a gang.

9. weed -(noun) another word for cigarette.

10. gallant -(adj.) describes a brave and valiant person.

11. slump -(verb) to drop heavily or fall suddenly.

12. jump -(verb) a slang term meaning to rough someone up and take whatever they are carrying with them.

13. tuff -(adj.) a slang term describing something sharp or cool.

14. fuzz -(noun) another way of saying police.

15. heater -(noun) a slang term for a gun.

16. cowlick -(noun) a tuft of hair that won t stay down.

17. bang -(noun) a fringe of hair hanging over the forehead.

18. wisp -(noun) a small bundle or bunch.

19. greaser -(noun) a type of hood that has long greasy hair slicked back.

20. soc -(noun) a type of hood that usually wears checkered shirts and are of a high social class coming from rich families.

New Ending

The hearing was as normal as a walk in the park. Darry, Sodapop, and the socs were all there. I felt like I had been hanging out and the day had been going by as usual. I thought one of the socs was going to pull out a knife as they normally would and I wanted the hearing to end so I could go back to my regular life. I guess that that is why I felt that way about the hearing. The socs were all called up one after the other giving their version of the story which fit together to form what had happened. Next, it was Darry and Sodapops s turn. They told the judge most of the things that the socs had said and added a bit more about how I went to Windrixville to avoid being arrested and how we saved the children. When I was called to the stand I just answered a few yes or no questions, why I went to Windrixville, and how Bob was killed. Once the hearing was over everyone was acquitted of all charges except David, the soc that tried drowning me, who was sentenced to Juvenile Hall for two years. When I finally returned home there was plenty of missed homework to be done, but I decided to take the rest of the week off. Instead, I decided to have Johnny s and Dally s funeral in the vacant lot and bury them there with all our memories together. We promised Dally and Johnny that we would take it upon ourselves not for their deaths to have been in vain.

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