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Hinton, The Outsiders essay

September 24, 2015 - Posted to Writing Tips

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Hinton, The Outsiders essay

The Outsiders is a novel that, at a surface level, depicts the 1960’s American teen culture, as well as the differences between socioeconomic groups in American society. On the one hand are the Greasers from the east side of town (the poor side); on the other hand, are the Socs from the west side of town (the wealthier side). These two groups were quite common in most schools across the nation at the time and were also depicted in many movies of that era, such as “Rebel Without a Cause,” and the more current adaptation of these “cultures” in the Broadway musical, “Grease.”

The Outsiders, S. E. Hinton, is also a novel of loss of innocence and coming-of-age, as both groups of teens experience the realities of death and the commonalties that all people have, despite their socioeconomic statuses. There is, then, plenty of “meat” in this tale for essay topics, related to plot, theme, and symbolism. Here are a few topic ideas for and essay on The Outsiders.


  1. What are the conflicts to which the reader is introduced at the very beginning of the novel?
  2. What are the inner conflicts that are developed during the course of the novel?
  3. There has been disagreement as to the climax of the plot development in this work. Where, in your opinion, is the plot climax? Why is this the climax?


  1. How is the theme of rich vs. poor portrayed in the novel? Is this portrayal still relevant today?
  2. Honor and loyalty can be seen as characteristics of both groups of teens. Give examples of these two traits on the part of characters of both groups
  3. What events depict the loss of innocence? In Pony boy’s life, how has his loss of innocence begun even before the start of the story?


  1. How are cars an important symbol of the differences between the two socioeconomic groups the teens represent?
  2. Follow the route of the switchblade knife throughout the novel. What is its symbolism?
  3. How does Robert Frost’s poem, “Nothing Gold can Stay” symbolize the lives of both the Greasers and the Socs?


  1. How are Ponyboy and Randy basically alike?
  2. What commonalities do Ponyboy and Cherry share?
  3. In terms of the two groups taken as a whole, what two current groups among teenage cultures do these represent?

As you can see, the possibilities for The Outsiders essay are almost limitless and can center around all elements of fiction writing. This novel in particular can be read on many levels and even depict socioeconomic groups within adult society. Do not let the relative simplicity of the plot fool you. Author Hinton has much to say about human nature and society as a whole through this novel.

If you are still struggling with a topic idea for a Hinton, The Outsiders essay, you may find examples of good essays online. While these samples may provide you with good ideas for your own essay, remember that plagiarism is very risky business. Do not attempt to use an essay you find online as your own.

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