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Although The Outsiders may seem pretty tame today, when Susan E. Hinton first wrote the book in 1967, it was a revolutionary teen novel--the first of its kind. Most previous teen novels featured characters who were innocent boys and girls who fall in love and face minor conflicts concerning dating and juvenile romance. The seventeen-year-old Hinton took dead aim on creating realistic characters, writing about the teen gangs who battled each other at her Tulsa high school. The characters had real problems: The Curtis brothers have lost both of their parents in a car wreck; Johnny Cade is beaten and bullied by his parents and the Socs; Dallas Winston is a thug from the streets of New York City; the Socs are rich but wild, looking for greasers on whom to use their fists. The boys use not only their knuckles but knives, chains and heaters. And things only get worse for Hinton's characters as the story unfolds. Pony and Johnny have to leave town to avoid a murder rap; Johnny suffers a fatal burning; and Dally decides to commit suicide-by-cop in order to end the pain he feels. Soda's problems with his pregnant ex-girlfriend seem uncomplicated in comparison. Additionally, the author creates two of the most unique names in adolescent fiction: Ponyboy and Sodapop.
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Yes, they give them real life characteristicts that anyone can really have.
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