6 Reasons You Should Fall in Love with The Outsiders (Again)

6 Reasons You Should Fall in Love with The Outsiders (Again)

Have you read the Outsiders? I have read the novel more times than I can count and every time I learn something new and fall in love with the story all over again. If you haven’t read the book yet, read it first and then come back. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

Synopsis with Limited Spoilers

The novel written in 1967 by teenage author S.E. Hinton features 14-year-old Ponyboy Curtis and his two brothers navigating life without parents on the east (poor) side of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Part of a gang, the Greasers, they contend with their rivals, the Socs from the (affluent) west side. When a fight ends up with a dead Soc, the consequences send ripples through the lives of all the Greasers and Socs.

Themes

Part of the reason the story is so timeless is that the themes are still relevant today:

  • class differences
  • communication
  • love
  • loyalty
  • sacrifice

Image by un-perfekt from Pixabay 

Six Reasons to Re-read The Outsiders:

1. The Heart Can Rule the Head

Cherry realizes and acknowledges her attraction to Dallas. Although she knows he is wrong for her, something about him draws her to him, anyway.  She  pushed him away once, but if she saw him again, she wouldn’t have the strength to repeat it. The heart wants what the heart wants.

“I could fall in love with Dallas Winston,” she said. “I hope I never see him again, or I will.”
Cherry Valance

2. Everybody Lies, Even to Themselves

Ponyboy tells himself he doesn’t love Darry. He tells himself that Darry doesn’t love him and wants to place him in a home, even though he knows deep down that isn’t true. He feels as if he is on the outside of his family.

“But I was still lying and I knew it. I lie to myself all the time. But I never believe me.”
Ponyboy Curtis

3. Negative Attention is Still Attention

Johnny is fragile. The abuse Johnny suffers at the hands of his father and the neglect from his mother has twisted his view of family life and love. The only love Johnny has is from his friends who have become his family.

“I think I like it better when the old man’s hittin’ me.” Johnny sighed. “At least then I know he knows who I am.”
Johnny Cade

Because he is unloved by his family, Johnny believes any attention (including negative attention like a beating) is better than no attention.

“Sixteen years on the streets and you can learn a lot. But all the wrong things, not the things you want to learn. Sixteen years on the streets and you see a lot. But all the wrong sights, not the things you want to see.”

Johnny Cade

4. People Don’t Always Say What They Mean

Two-Bit complains about the loss of his switchblade to avoid talking about the loss of Dallas (and Johnny too).

¨Is that all that’s bothering you, that switchblade?¨ a red-eyed Steve had snapped at him.
¨No,¨ Two-Bit had said with a quivering sigh, ¨but that’s what I’m wishing was all that’s bothering me.”
Two-Bit Matthews

5. Even the Toughest People Break

Early in the novel Ponyboy notes that Dallas is unfeeling and hard:

“It would be a miracle if Dally loved anything. The fight for self-preservation had hardened him beyond caring.”
Ponyboy Curtis.

“Dally was so real he scared me.”
Ponyboy Curtis.

After the rumble, Dallas tries to convince Ponyboy that getting hard and unfeeling protects you.

“You get tough like me and you don’t get hurt. You look out for yourself and nothin’ can touch you…”
Dallas Winston

This statement is ironic because Dallas isn’t nearly as tough as he pretends. His soft spot for Johnny makes him vulnerable and ultimately sends him spinning. Because he doesn’t want to live without Johnny, he pulls out an unloaded gun and the police shoot him.

“… I knew he would be dead, because Dally Winston wanted to be dead and he always got what he wanted.”
Ponyboy Curtis.

6. Everyone has Problems

Everyone has problems. Rich or poor, everyone is struggling with something. It’s impossible to judge anyone’s life from the outside.

“Things were rough all over, but it was better that way. That way you could tell the other guy was human too.”
Ponyboy Curtis.

An Outsider Watching the Sun Set

“Maybe the two different worlds we lived in weren’t so different. We saw the same sunset.”

Ponyboy Curtis

Books and Movies

Other novels from S.E. Hinton similar to The Outsiders include Tex, Rubble Fish, and That was Then, This is Now. Hollywood has made all these books into motion pictures. I highly recommend the books over the movies. The movies omit too many subplots.

Interested in purchasing the book click on my Amazon Affiliate Link for the Outsiders.

Pet Peeve

Why didn’t Darry have a cooler name? Ponyboy and Sodapop are both original names, so shouldn’t Darry should have had a similar strange name.

Final Thoughts

S.E. Hinton weaves a story that is impossible to put down once you start. Although it has a semi-happy ending, it is not without loss along the way. Age has changed the way I perceive the story and allows me to make new discoveries each time I read the book.

Have you read The Outsiders? Write me a note in the comments and let me know your thoughts.

Until next time

Frankie 

 

Note: All quotes in this blog are Copyright © S.E. Hinton, 1967. All rights reserved. Hinton, S.E., 1967. The Outsiders. New York: Viking Press.

Feature photo from Needpic.com.