The Outsiders


  1. In our first discussion, we had a few essential questions but we shifted topics and instead had a full out conversation (there's only 2 members in our group). We discussed the similarities with this book, written in the 1960's, versus now, the 2010's. We observed that there is great emphasis on the idea of social classes and gang violence. There are gangs formed within the Greasers and the Socs -- the distinguished groups of the poor and the wealthy -- the rivalry between them is quite similar to gang rivalry today.
    Ponyboy, the protagonist, is ungrateful for his older brother, Darry, but we feel that he is still coping with his parent's death - he is still in denial. Darry is strict with Ponyboy, but Ponyboy doesn't understand why. Darry wants Ponyboy to have a bright future since he wasn't able to have one himself. Soda, Darry's younger brother, is one of Ponyboy's favourite people. He is pleasant to be around, funny, and happy-go-lucky. Yet, with this happy persona, he is able to thoroughly conceal his emotions -- even Ponyboy and Darry don't pay attention to him because he seems as if he's doing fine.

  2. How is the Outsiders rivalry similar to gang rivalry today? Where do gangs exist? Do gangs today have the same motivations as those in the novel? What do you know about the 1960's that may have impacted the writing of the novel?

  3. The gangs described in the Outsiders are very similar to those of today because they are a group of close friends, who "have control" over a certain area, and involve themselves in criminal activity. They thrive in mostly poor, suburban areas. Since there are so many gangs that exist in the US, let alone the world, there are many different motives.

    The characters' speech, way of life, style of clothing, setting are different from that of a piece written about our time period.

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  5. Today, we based our discussion off of questions Isabella prepared, here are our responses:

    Johnny tells Pony to “stay gold” because he knows that Pony is a smart kid and he wants him to stay that way. The other guys are all older and it’s kind of too late for them to turn back, they can’t really dig themselves out of how they’re living. Johnny knows that Pony still has an opportunity to change because he is a good student and athlete and he’s also really smart for his age, and he wants him to stay that way. The guys in their “gang” have all had to make sacrifices and grow up too fast, so they want to take care of Pony and make sure he doesn’t make the same mistakes they did, they see something in him.
    Darry is close to his gang because they are like his family. But, he does not spend as much time with them because he is working two jobs. Darry is a greaser but he is almost ashamed of it. During the rumble, Pony is observing Darry and he can tell that Darry was too good to be a greaser, but he didn’t really have a choice, there was no way for him to go to college and he definitely couldn’t have enough money to be a soc.
    Pony is not ashamed of being a greaser but he is frustrated that he has been labeled one just because of the life he lives. It was not really his “choice” he was just born into it because of the place that he lives and his economic status. He thinks that it is really unfair that socs beat up greasers for fun because socs have a lot more whereas greasers have enough problems. He just wants to get the rumble over with, he wants to beat up the socs and then be done.
    It was not at all obvious that the author was sixteen when she wrote the book because the book is really well written. Also, the fact that she is a girl was also kind of shocking because the book made it seem like she had been a greaser and had some of the experiences that the characters in the book go through.

  6. Today our discussion was about the ending of The Outsiders.
    We think it was a great idea for the author to end the book with peace made between the brothers, Ponyboy, Darry and Soda. Since Soda is the middle child, the fun-loving, happy-go-lucky person in the family, he acts as the glue holding the family together. It ends with the brothers realizing how he feels -- about their quarreling, about his life, etc.

    Also, the book ends with a very important letter from Johnny. After all the denial and anger he felt towards Johnny's death, Ponyboy finally seems like he's able to accept it. He decides that he wants to tell people about Johnny's story, how Johnny was a hero instead of a murderer.