The Outsiders Topics for Discussion
by S. E. Hinton

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Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Dallas Winston is an ambiguous character, romantic and independent, in some ways repugnant. He can be cruel and dangerous, but he loves Johnny, the gentlest boy in the gang. What makes Ponyboy admire Dally? Is Dally redeemed by his love and concern for Johnny? Does his suicide alter the way the reader thinks of him?

2. Discuss the various attitudes towards fighting found in The Outsiders. Which attitudes do you agree with? Which do you disagree with? Is violence ever justified?

3. One criticism of The Outsiders is its less-than-realistic language. Euphemisms such as "Glory!" are used in place of more likely, but more controversial expressions. In other scenes there are blanks where a curse would have been. Why does Hinton do this? Does it detract from the story or make it less believable? Why or why not?

4. What do you imagine Ponyboy doing in ten years? What about Sodapop, Darry, Two-Bit, Curly Shepard, Tim Shepard, Cherry, and Randy?

5. Imagine that you are a "greasey girl." Can you identify with Ponyboy's story? Do his complaints apply to you? Do you have any other problems that he would not be aware of?