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By: SE Hinton

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Essential Questions:

  • How does the problem of child abuse affect the outcome of the story?
  • What is the life of a homeless person like?
  • How is family important in the story?
  • What types of prejudice exists in the novel?
  • How does the main character cope with death?
  • What does the student appreciate about the novel?


These words which appear in The Outsiders have been identified as words or derivatives of words that have appeared on past SAT tests. They appear here in the order in which they appear in the novel.

  • aloofness
  • bolted
  • contemptuously
  • delerious
  • dissect
  • credulous
  • indignantly
  • nonchalantly
  • ruefully
  • unfathomable
  • wistfully

    Chapter One

    1. Describe each of the characters and their relationship with one another.
    2. Who are the socs? Who are the greasers?
    3. How do Ponyboy's relationships with Darry and Sodapop differ? Explain.
    4. Why is the 'gang' important to Johnny?
    5. How does Ponyboy react to what Sodapop tells him about Darry?
    6. Do you think Darry loves Ponyboy? Why does he treat Ponyboy the way he does?
    7. What does Ponyboy mean on page 8 when he says, "I lie to myself all the time"? Do you ever lie to yourself? Why?

    Chapter Two

    Vocabulary - Find the meaning for the following words in this chapter: incredulous p. 24, vaguely p.33, nonchalantly p. 25.

    1. Who is the fuzz? (p. 20)
    2. Are the names Ponyboy and Sodapop nicknames? Explain.
    3. Who are Cherry and Marcia?
    4. Why doesn't Ponyboy like referring to Sodapop as a dropout?
    5. What is Ponyboy comparing Two-Bit to when he calls him a "chessy cat" on page 27? What figure of speech is this besides a simile?
    6. What is "a weed" slang for in 1967?
    7. Why does Dally look sick now (p. 33)?
    8. What literary device does the author use to describe Johnny's mugging (pgs. 31-34)?

    Chapter Three

    Vocabulary - Find the meaning for the following words in this chapter: aloof p. 38, impersonally p. 38, ornery p. 39, resignedly p. 44

    1. What does Cherry explain as the difference between the socs and the greasers?
    2. What does Ponyboy mean on p. 39 when he says "Johnny and I understood each other without saying anything"? Have you ever had a relationship with someone who you understood, or who understood you, without having to say anything?
    3. When and how did Pony's parents die?
    4. What happens when Pony comes home after his curfew?
    5. Why does Johnny like it better when his father is hitting him?
    6. At the end of the chapter, how does the author foreshadow that bad things are to come?

    Chapter Four

    Vocabulary - ruefully p. 60, hermit p. 65, premonition p. 67

    1. What does Pony mean when he says the socs were "reeling pickled" on page 54?
    2. What major event happens in this chapter?
    3. How did the author foreshadow that johnny would use his knife in chapter 2?
    4. What would your advice be to Johhny and Ponyboy if they'd come to you for help instead of Dally? Explain.

    Chapter Five

    Vocabulary - reluctantly p. 71, sullen p. 73, eluded p. 78, imploringly p. 72, gallant p. 76, indignant p. 80

    1. Why does Pony have a problem with Johnny's idea to disguise themselves?
    2. What does pony mean when he says, "I was supposed to be the deep one" (p. 75)?
    3. Why does Johnny think is a hero (p. 76)? Do you think Dally is a hero based on what he did?
    4. Why does Pony realize he doesn't like Dally? Can you explain what he means by this?
    5. Examine Robert Frost's poem, Nothing Gold can Stay. What do you think the poem is saying? How might this apply to the characters in the novel?
    6. On page 78, Johnny compares Pony and his brothers to their parents. Which one of your parents are you most like? What similarities do you share?
    7. What does pony mean when he says he drinks Pepsis like a friend (p.78)?
    8. What's a 'heater'? Why does Dally have one?
    9. Why are the socs and the greasers going to fight in the vacant lot?
    10. Who's the spy for the greasers? Does this surprise you? Why or why not?

    Chapter Six

    Vocabulary - bewildered p. 88

    1. Do you think Dally's parents have influenced the way he is; his personality? Explain.
    2. Why doesn't Dally want Johnny to turn himself in?
    3. What "other side" of Dallas is revealed in this chapter?
    4. What's your own definitionof a hero? Do the three boys prove themselves to be heroes, according to your definition? Explain.
    5. Why do you think Johnny wasn't scared, despite the obvious danger, on page 92?

    Chapter Seven 1. Explain what Pony means when he says Soda "reminds me of a colt" on p. 101.
    2. What condition is Johnny in after the fire?
    3. Why would being crippled be worse for Johnny than someone else?
    4. "Maybe people are younger when they are asleep" (p.104). what do you think about this comment?
    5. What is a juvenile delinquent (p. 107)? Find a definition on the internet, in a dictionary, or create your own based on your own knowledge.
    6. Why would Two-Bit think Johnny, Dally, and Pony were heroes all along; before they saved the kids?
    7. What was Bob's 'real' problem, according to Randy (p.116)?
    8. Why did Pony think it was better to see socs as "just guys" on p. 118? What do you think he means by this?

    Chapter Eight

    1. How does what the doctor first says, on page 119, foreshadow Johnny's condition?
    2. "We needed Johnny as much as he needed the gang. And for the same reason" (p.121). What do you think Pony means, and what is the reason?
    3. What does Pony mean on p. 123 when he says, "we could get along without anyone but Johnny"?
    4. If Darry didn't have Soda and Pony, why would he be a soc?
    5. What does Cherry mean when she says Bob "wasn't just anyone" on p.129?

    Chapter Nine

    1. On the bottom of p.133, when Pony asks what kind of a world it is, what comment is he making about how society judges people?
    2. Why do the boys fight? Why is Pony different?
    3. What is the difference between Tim Sheppard's gang and Ponyboy's? Explain how Pony feels this difference might give his group the upper hand?
    4. What do you think Johnny's last words to Pony mean?

    Chapter Ten

    Vocabulary - indignantly p.159

    1. How does Pony's dreaming, or lying to himself, finally work in this chapter?
    2. Why was johnny's dying so difficult for Dally to handle?
    3. Why do you think Dally would have wanted to die?

    Chapter Eleven

    Vocabulary - acquitted p.168

    1. Explain why pony might rather anyone's hate than their pity (p.162)?
    2. What do you think is going on with Ponyboy when he says, "Johnny didn't have anyhing to do with Bob's getting killed" (p.166)?

    Chapter Twelve

    1. What 'circumstances' do Ponyboy's teacher refer to? What circumstances does Ponyboy think his teacher is referring to?
    2. Why doesn't Ponyboy feel scared when the socs approach him and he threatens them with a broken bottle (p.170-171)? How is this a dramatic change from the ponyboy we have seen up until this point?
    3. What does Darry mean when he says, "you don't just stop living because you lose someone" (p.173)?
    4. How do we know Sandy didn't love Soda as much as he loved her?
    5. Explain how Darry and Ponyboy play tug of war with Soda.
    6. What do we learn was so special about Johnny (p.178)?
    7. What does Ponyboy end up doing for his English assignment?


    Choose one of the essay topics below and write a well organized and well thought out essay. Remember to use the essay form you’ve studied in class and be sure to use examples from the novel to support your ideas.

    Topic # 1

  • "Sixteen years on the streets and you can learn a lot. But all the wrong things, not the things you want to learn" (p. 122). Discuss this quote from the novel and how it applies to each of the boy's lives. What things did they learn? What things might they have liked to learn? Support your ideas with what you know about the characters through examples from the novel.

    Topic # 2

  • Write an essay explaining how expectations played a role in the lives of the Socs and the Greasers. How did external and internal expectations influence each group's actions in the novel?

    Topic # 3

  • Write an essay explaining why you believe each of the 'main' Greasers could be considered a hero. Include your own definition of hero in the essay, and be sure to explain how each boy, in his own way, meets your definition. Remember to support your ideas with examples from the novel.

    Topic # 4

  • Write an essay explaining how the Socs were more of a disgrace and menace to society than the Greasers. Look at how society viewed and treated the two groups. Examine the characteristics of each group, their actions, and the choices each made. Be sure to support your ideas with examples from the novel.


    Click on the link for a pop-up of lesson plan...

  • Getting Inside The Outsiders Through Music

  • The Outsiders: Grief paragraph: Expository Writing

  • Mapping Skills - The Outsiders Students will estimate the distance in miles between Tulsa, Oklahoma and Syracuse, New York. They will also gather data on gangs in both areas. This activity is a supplement to the novel study over THE OUTSIDERS

  • Identity in S.E. Hinton's, The Outsiders

  • Isabella's Imagination © 2006 HomeSE HintonBookMovieQuizContactEducational Links

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