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S.E. Hinton's novel "The Outsiders" was published in 1967, when Hinton was only 18 years old.
Hinton's depiction of the tensions between the lower-income Greasers and the upper-class Socs (an abbreviation of Socials) has become something of a modern classic because of the sensitive way it portrays its characters, especially the relationships among the Curtis brothers, and deals with the social divisions at the heart of the story. While the Socs tend to come off the worst, some of them are not without redeeming values, just as not all of the Greasers are above reproach.
That the story devolves into a tragedy, with Johnny, product of a broken home and gravely injured while helping save children from a burning house, succumbing to his wounds, and Dally, distraught over his friend's death, robbing a store and then dying after being shot by the police (suicide by cop?), Hinton's commitment to portraying these lives in a realistic manner was evident. There's no artificial happy ending. The Greasers won the fight (the rumble with the Socs), but ultimately lost the war.
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