3 Essay Options for the Outsiders

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Option I. (Value: 60 points) Autobiographical

Ponyboy's experiences of that week were obviously unforgettable. Write about an unforgettable experience in your own life. It doesn't have to be a bad experience; it could be a happy one, or one where you learn a lesson the hard way. You could also focus on a situation you faced, such as a challenge or a dilemma. Whatever you choose, make sure that the subject is of significance to you, and then show the reader this significance and what you may have learned.

Option II. (70 points) Evaluation

The Outsiders is usually one of my students' favorite books. They like it because of the action, suspense, and most of all, the realistic characters. Write an essay in which you evaluate one of the best books you have ever read. Be sure to define what you mean by "good," then offer several reasons that show why your book fits your criteria. Be sure to cite at least one example from the book to illustrate each reason you give. Also be sure toanticipate any arguments your reader might have. ("I know you're going to say...")

Option III. (80 points) Response to Literature

So far in the novel, S.E. Hinton has not used the word outsider. Obviously, she wants us to ponder whom the outsiders are. Write an essay in which you explain whom she may have meant by the Outsiders. Be sure to define what you mean by an outsider, and then explain whom you think Ms. Hinton meant. Be sure to use extensive examples from the book to back up what you say.


  • Always start with the action, especially if you choose #1.
  • For #2, start by showing one of the most exciting parts of the book. For #3 start by showing an example of "outsiderness."
  • Always back up what you say with examples, especially for #2 and #3.
  • Always show, don't tell, especially for #1. 4) PROOFREAD OUT LOUD!!!!!
  • Show part of the incident happening.
  • Explain the 5 W's.
  • Show the rest of the incident or the resolution.
  • Explain the significance.
  • Show a great scene from the book.
  • Explain what makes a great book.
  • Show how your book has those qualities. Give examples from the book for each.
  • Anticipate/Answer possible objections.
  • Show an outsider
  • Explain what you mean by the word outsider. ("An outsider is..")
  • Explain which characters have those qualities. Use examples from the book (both quotes and incidents) to illustrate.
  • Explain what you think SE Hinton was trying to say with that title.

About this Document

3 differentiated essay prompts for the novel, including tips for structure and form.