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Susan Eloise Hinton (1950 -) was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the setting for most of her early teen novels (including The Outsiders, That Was Then, This is Now, and Tex) of the 1960s and 1970s. She attended local schools--including Will Rogers High, where two rival gangs, the Greasers and the Socs, often clashed--and graduated from the University of Tulsa in 1970, three years after the release of her groundsbreaking teen novel The Outsiders. Believing that she might lose credibility with readers who would not believe the story if they knew it was written by a teenage girl, Hinton deliberately masked her identity, using the more masculine initials as her pen name. The Outsiders is one of adolescent fiction's most famous novels with sales approaching 15 million copies. At least four of Hinton's novels have been made into films, including the Francis Ford Coppola version of The Outsiders, which featured youthful soon-to-be-stars Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon and Rob Lowe. Hinton also appeared in the movie, portraying a nurse in the hospital scene with Dallas Winston.
Be sure to check out the eNotes link below on S. E. Hinton.
Susan Eloise Hinton was born on the 22nd of July 1950 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Since Oklahoma did not have many activities for girls, reading and writing became her pastimes. She also wanted to become a cattle rancher as a young girl but that ambition was overcome by her love for writing. Her stories written in the beginning were mostly about cowboys and gun fighting and horses.
As she grew up in her teens she realized that nothing interested her as much as she wanted. The typical ‘girl meets boy’ stories were very emblematic and monotonous for her. She wanted something more realistic; a story about what it is really like in the teenage. So taking inspiration from real life and events that had happened in her life she created a story of two gangs and their rivalry. The gangs belonged to two different classes of the society; the lower middle class ‘greasers’ and the upper class ‘Socs’. The story is narrated by her character of ‘Pony boy’. This novel was called ‘The Outsiders’ and was published in 1967. It received some critique in the beginning for showing a rebellious youth but then it became one of the most renowned novels of the time. It sold over 4 million copies in the US. Using the profits of her sales she joined the University of Tulsa where she got her degree and also met her life partner David Inhofe. She married him in 1970 and had a baby boy in August 1983 named Nicholas David Inhofe.
After coming out of writer’s block Hinton wrote her second novel ‘That was Then, This was now’ which was published in 1971. This was a story of two brothers and the differences in their lives and how these move them apart. In her novel ‘Rumble Fish’ (1975) Hinton also tells the story of gang wars and growing up in all this was a man who loses everything significant to him due to efforts of becoming something he is not. In her book ‘Tex’ (1979) a story of two brothers living in a crazy family trying to survive through all of it, grabbed the avid attention of the readers. ‘Taming the Star Runner’ came out in 1988.
Many of her books were adapted into films. ‘The outsiders’ was released in March 1983 and ‘Rumble Fish’ in October 1983. The films were directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Her novels ‘Tex’ and ‘That was Then, This is Now’ also made into films were a hit. Hinton also wrote some adult books which include ‘Hawkes Harbor’ (2004) and ‘Some of Tim’s Stories’ (2006).
Not much is known about Hinton’s personal life as she did not like making it public however her love for reading and writing was revealed by herself. Presently she is still writing and lives with her husband David Inhofe in Tulsa. Her contribution to the American Literature for young adults was acclaimed in 1988 when she was given the ‘Margaret Edwards Young Adult Author Achievement Award’ for her work by the American Library Association.
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