Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

What developments in American society during the 1960’s made S. E. Hinton’s young adult novels possible?

What insights into the moral life do Hinton’s young male characters display?

What are the weaknesses of Hinton’s characterization of females, and how do you account for her shortcomings in creating satisfactory female characters?

In what ways does Hinton show herself to have been a well-read teenager when composing The Outsiders?

Are Hinton’s adult characters extraneous to the plots of her novels?

Is there a conflict between Hinton’s belief in the importance of retaining childhood innocence and her relegation of adults—the usual sustainers and protectors of children—to the periphery of her novels?