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The Outsiders by S E Hinton tells the story through the eyes of PonyBoy Curtis, the narrator who is " a greaser" from the poor side of town and very distinct from the Socs' gang who, "Get editorials in the paper for being a public disgrace one day and an asset to society the next." There is huge rivalry between gangs and an acceptance of this harsh way of life because "that's just the way things are." Pony does remark how, despite their differences they "saw the same sunset."
The book takes the reader on a learning curve of Pony Boy's self realization and an acceptance of the harsh realities of life while at the same time, the reader is struck by Pony Boy's ability to remain true to himself.
Ensure that you are familiar with the themes, the characters and the book's message. Stereotypes are a dangerous and inappropriate way of judging character and, up to now, the consequences of stereotyping have brought tragedy between the rival gangs. There is an element of hope at the end, however, as Pony Boy has the power to change his future.
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I think you should explore the relationships amongst the different classes within the novel, which may lead to some further exploration of themes.
Another thing that would be important to focus on would be the idea of the effect of the first person point of view. Because the novel is narrated from Ponyboy's point of view, the reader gets a slightly skewed view of the plot. We see what Ponyboy sees and we learn about other characters mainly through his own perceptions of their actions and behaviors. Later in the novel we learn that Ponyboy's perspective may not be too reliable.
You may also want to focus on symbolism, especially the ideas from "Nothing Gold Can Stay" since the ideas from that poem are Johnny's last words and message to Pony.
Another area to focus on would be the various conflicts that each character faces both internal and external.
also, above all, be sure to have all the characters as well as their descriptions straight. Some of the characters have confusingly similar names. Good luck!
This depends on your grade level and your teacher's expectations. At the very least, you should know character names and relationships (and descriptions- there are many!), as well as plot development. Be mindful of the literary elements that are present in the book as well; on a basic level you should be able identify the conflicts (external and internal are present), the theme, and setting (this book is not set in "modern times," but is still relatable).
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