In the novel The Outsiders, what does Mr. Syme assign to Ponyboy?

Expert Answers
gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 12, Mr. Syme, Ponyboy's English teacher, is concerned with Ponyboy's grades because they have drastically fallen from A's to F's. Ponyboy mentions that Mr. Syme is personable and truly cares about his students. One day after class, Mr. Syme has a conversation with Ponyboy. He tells Ponyboy that he is failing his class, but he understands Pony's difficult circumstances. Mr. Syme tells him that if he comes up with a good semester theme, he will pass him with a C in the class. Mr. Syme tells Ponyboy that it is a reference theme, and he wants Pony to write about his own experiences and come up with his own ideas. After Ponyboy reads Johnny's message in the Gone with the Wind book, he begins to think about the countless boys who are filled with anger and have lost hope in the world. Ponyboy becomes motivated to tell Johnny's story and tell the struggling boys throughout the country that there is hope. He also wants others not to judge the youth who live in rough circumstances. Ponyboy eventually writes what becomes the story The Outsiders as his reference theme.