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Using Music to Understand the Outsiders

Using Music to Understand the Outsiders

Excerpt From this Document

Getting Inside The Outsiders Through Music

Rationale

In order for students to understand S.E. Hinton’s novel The Outsiders completely, they must understand the music of the time and how it relates to the novel’s main characters. In the novel, different groups of characters emerge and Hinton distinguishes these groups by associating them with musicians of the time. She relates The Beatles to the Socs, Elvis Presley to the Greasers, and Hank Williams, Sr. to a rougher subculture of Greasers.Unfortunately, many students are not familiar enough with these early popular music artists to grasp Hinton’s use of them in her novel. Therefore, in this lesson, students will gain an understanding of these and other musicians and how they relate to the novel’s themes of forbidden love, friendship, and social ostracism.

Objectives

  • Students will be able to:
  • Recognize themes in The Outsiders and popular music.
  • Recognize social ostracism in their own lives.
  • Recognize different genres of popular music.

Audience

This lesson is designed for middle school students (seventh and eighth grade) reading S.E. Hinton’s novel The Outsiders. However, it could be used with younger or older students reading a similar text.

Time Frame

In order to promote healthy class discussion, this lesson should be completed in roughly three fifty-minute class periods.

Materials

The lyrics and recordings of selected recordings; copies of S.E. Hinton’s novel The Outsiders; a modified version of Paul Friedlander’s Rock Window.

Background

For this lesson to be most effective, students should have read nearly half of the novel. At that point, they will be able to recognize the themes of forbidden love, friendship, and social ostracism. Biographical information should be shared on Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Hank Williams, Sr., Bob Dylan, and The Who. Also, the phrase “social ostracism” should be defined and discussed with students.

Procedures

  • “Heartbreak Hotel”: Discuss this song using the modified Rock Window. Discuss how this song relates to the theme of forbidden love in The Outsiders, specifically concerning Cherry and Ponyboy. Discuss why the Greasers might relate to Elvis Presley.
  • “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”: Discuss this song using the modified Rock Window. Discuss how this song might relate to the theme of forbidden love in The Outsiders, specifically concerning Cherry and Ponyboy. Discuss why the Socs might relate to The Beatles.
  • “I’m So Lonesome, I Could Cry”: Discuss this song using the modified Rock Window. Discuss how this song might relate to the theme of social ostracism in The Outsiders, specifically concerning the Greasers. Discuss why the Greasers might relate to Hank Williams, Sr.
  • “Two of Us”: Discuss this song using the modified Rock Window. Discuss how this song might relate to the theme of friendship in The Outsiders, specifically concerning Ponyboy and Johnny.
  • “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”: Discuss this song using the modified Rock Window. Discuss this song in relation to The Outsiders. Would the Socs or the Greasers relate to this song?
  • “My Generation”: Discuss this song using the modified Rock Window. Discuss this song in relation to The Outsiders. Would the Socs or the Greasers relate to this song?

About this Document

A complete lesson plan to allow contemporary students to connect to the music of the novel, including analysis and response questions.

Tags: Grade 9, Lesson Plans, Literature, Teachers, The Outsiders

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Using Music to Understand the Outsiders Using Music to Understand the Outsiders Using Music to Understand the Outsiders