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Essay/Term paper: The outsiders

Essay, term paper, research paper:  College Papers

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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.

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