How can I make a sequential time chart of the story The Outsiders using the most important events?  I just need some ideas on how to create this sequential time chart.

Expert Answers
literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In order to create a time line on any text, one needs to have a complete understanding of how the text moves. One needs to ask questions about the novel:

1. Is the text written using flashbacks or flash-forwards?

2. Are there points in the text which are not necessarily part of the true movement of the storyline?

Therefore, to create a sequential (which means a logical order) time line for Hinton's novel The Outsiders, the first step would be to define the main time points. While reading the novel, make notes about things that happen and their relation in time to the other happenings. For example, the novel opens with recollections. What this means is that the action is from the past.

The best way to do this is create a chart where you put the actions of the text into columns so you can "time" them later.

To begin the time line, find the earliest happening in the novel. This is the beginning point of the sequential line. The ending point of the time line will be the last action which takes place. As you go back through the novel, fill in all of the main things which happen by placing them in the appropriate column and then upon the time line.

dragonflyfla | Student

Hi Kennyrogabi:

I love creating timelines. It helps me put things in perspective. I wrote a “How to” article on this awhile back, I hope this will help you get going.  If it needs to be a "Chart" just box the timeline in and extend the vertical lines all the way to the top.

  1. Download and open your time line program if you plan to create a time line on a computer. Or gather your art materials together if you plan to draw a time line by hand. Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Easy Time line creator, Smart Draw and Time Liner 5.0 are all useful in creating time lines.
  2. Plan the consistent increment spacing for the time periods of your time line by drawing a horizontal line across the page and then drawing out the spacing increments with vertical lines extending out from the horizontal line. When spacing your time increments, allow more space for recent history than ancient history.  
  3. Add pertinent dates to the vertical lines located below the horizontal line. Add the historical content to the vertical lines above the horizontal line.
  4. Create a heading for your time line and place it above the vertical lines and content.
  5. Add links to your content and images that will provide more information and documentation, if any exists.