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Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Retell the story from the point of view of the Socs. What is the title of this new book? Are the Socs "the insiders," or are they outcasts, too?

2. Write a research paper on presentday gang life. Does the information you find remind you of Ponyboy's gang? Does it remind you of Tim Shepard's gang or the gang from Brumly? Considering that The Outsiders is set in the 1960s, how realistic do you think Hinton's portrayal of gang life is?

3. Write a paper about child abuse. What options are available for young people in Johnny's situation? Are Johnny's reactions and feelings typical of an abused child?

4. Who is your favorite character in this book? Why? Who is your least favorite character? Why? Which character in this book is most like you? Why?

5. Read some of the criticism written on The Outsiders. Do any of the critics mention ideas that you overlooked? What points do you agree with and disagree with in particular critics' assessments?

6. Many readers are surprised when they learn that S. E. Hinton is a woman. Why do you think this is so? What does this say about the book's content? What does it say about gender roles and conceptions about male and female behavior in your country?

7. Discuss the way adults are portrayed as a group and as individuals in The Outsiders.

8. Is there any one character in The Outsiders who can be called a villain? Who are some candidates for the title? In what ways do they fit the title and in what ways do they not?