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The Outsiders takes place in Tulsa, Oklahoma during the mid-to-late 1960s. Two groups of teens are in conflict: The Socs are upper-class students with plenty of money and nice clothes; the greasers are poor kids from the wrong side of the tracks. The story concentrates on the Curtis brothers--Ponyboy, Sodapop and Darry--and their greaser friends. Pony and his pal, Johnny, are attacked by a group of Socs one night, and Johnny kills one of the Socs after they try to drown Pony in a park fountain. The two boys borrow a pistol from Dallas, a tough greaser pal, and hop a freight to another town to hide out. Staying in an abandoned church, the boys accidentally set fire to the building--a fire which gains strength while a group of children are inside. Johnny, Pony and Dallas save the children, but Johnny is badly burned. They all return home as heroes for saving the children's lives; however, Johnny is hospitalized with third degree burns, and the Curtis' face the possibility of being separated. Meanwhile, the Socs and greasers face off in a rumble. The greasers win, assuring that their home turf will be honored by the Socs. Johnny eventually dies of his burns; Dallas commits suicide-by-cop in despair; and Pony is cleared of possible murder charges and remains under Darry's care. In the end, Pony begins an English essay detailing the ordeal he has experienced.
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