As an English major, I am a lover of all types of literature – old and new, fiction and nonfiction, poetry and prose – I enjoy them all. That being said, I do have certain stories that are my favorites, stories that have captured my adventurous heart and refused to let go. A powerful tale about social class, friendship, family and sacrifice, “The Outsiders” is one of my favorite books of all-time.
Written by S.E. Hinton, “The Outsiders” is a story about two groups of people: the Socials “Socs” and the Greasers. The Socs are the rich kids; they’re the ones that have attitudes, money, cars and girls and at the beginning of the story, they’re the bad guys. On the other hand, the Greasers are the poor kids; they’re the ones that crave adventure, have to watch their backs, fight, and have attitudes all their own. The main character, Ponyboy, is a Greaser who is different from his brothers and his friends. He loves books and films, isn’t violent and dreams of a better life.
Even though the novel was published in 1967, it still speaks to the fears and thoughts, both short and long term, that adolescents face all the time. Even though the events that happen in the book will likely never happen to most people reading the book, it is easy to connect and sympathize with the characters in the novel. They all have feelings that we do: love, fear, anger, sadness, pain and hope. The main themes in the book including living up to parental expectations, struggling with finding your own self-identity, and navigating the social structure are all things that everyone experiences. It’s part of the reason that the novel continues to be loved by many.
S.E. Hinton’s writing style is wonderful; she masterfully crafts the plot and characters, giving lots of detail to the story to make it flow smoothly. It’s authentic, provoking, tough, and a novel that each person should read at least once in their life.
The first time I read this book I was in middle school, right around the age that Ponyboy is in the book, and I have never lost my fascination and admiration for it since. It’s beautiful, amazing and as much as I love the story by itself, I wish that S.E. Hinton would write a sequel so that I could go on one more journey with Ponyboy.