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Susan E. Hinton's teen novel, The Outsiders, was unique for its time. It proved to be one of the most realistic adolescent novels ever written, combining a grittiness of street life (virtually unknown in previous such young adult books) with real-life problems that many teens encounter. Several important themes are discussed, particularly that of class conflict, which is obvious in the differences seen in the Socs and greasers. The search for personal identity is another theme that most of the characters experience, be they greasers or Socs. Loyalty is another theme on which the novel focuses, since most of the boys have a dysfunctional family life and lean on their friends for support and encouragement. Another aspect which few teen novels of the time addressed was that of death. The Curtis brothers have already suffered the loss of their parents, and later in the book, they experience the death of their most loyal friends as well.
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