Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Book Review and Discussion: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
(Summery from Goodreads.com)

Picture from Goodreads.com

Ponyboy can count on his brothers and his friends. but not on much else besides trouble with the Socs, a vicious gang of rich kids who get away with everything, including beating up greasers like Ponyboy. At least he knows what to expect -- until the night someone takes things too far.
Written forty-five years ago, S. E. Hinton's classic story of a boy who finds himself on the outskirts of regular society remains as powerful today as it was the day it was written.

When I first read this book, I was in seventh grade, in English class. Ever since then I loved the book, enough to buy my own copy and to keep re-reading it for years to come. We also watched the movie in that class as well after we finished the book. (That is review for a different time, but it was a great movie.) This is the kind of book that makes you think about where you are on the social ladder and how you react to people who are the complete opposite from you. Are they really as different from you as you think? Just because someone looks and acts different then you do, doesn't mean that they so different from you. Theses are the questions that go through my mind when I read this book each time. I love this book, no matter how many times I read this book, I never get tired of it.
Below are a few discussion questions that are in the back of the Platinum Edition of The Outsiders. I decided to answer them and share a few of my answers with you. 
One of the primary themes in The Outsiders is the struggle between the Greasers and the Socs (pronounced SOSH-es). Describe each group. What is the main source of tension between the two groups? Are the two groups really so different?
The Greasers are a gang of low-class boys, who live in run down neighborhoods and houses. They use hair grease to slick back their long hair. For fun they rob stores and vandalize properties, and most of them are high school drop-outs and spent some time in jail.
The Socs are high/middle-class boys, who drive sport cars and live in nice houses. They party and get drunk for fun, and will jump peoplr because they can get away with it. They dress in nice, button-up shirts and jackets, they look like the typical jock.
I think the main source of tension is the fact that they are from two different worlds. One comes from money, the other doesn't.
They really aren't different, they just think they are.

What other works have you read that adopt a similar thematic structure?Gosh, I'm not sure. Well, Harry Potter is the first one to come to mind. With the whole Pure Blood versus Muggle-born thing.

Have you ever felt like an outsider? Why did you feel that way, and how did it make you feel?Yes, I've always been the quiet girl. The one that keeps to herself, and growing up people thought I was strange. Just because I didn't talk to many people they thought I was slow and talked down to me. It made me feel...I don't know...alone, I guess. But I powered through it.

Do you think that different groups of people are treated differently? If so, how? If not, why not?
I think so, it seems like people who come from a family with money take life for granted, when there a those people who barely make through each month. But there are people who think that just because someone comes from money, they have an easier life. It's not always the case.

Imagine that you were a character in a book. Would you be associated with the Greasers or the Socs? Why?
I don't think I would be associated with either of them. I'm not tough looking at all and I liked studying. I'm also not into doing any sports and I don't like to party. So I really don't fall into either of them.

Discuss the various attitudes toward fighting found in The Outsiders. Which attitudes do you agree with? Which attitudes do you disagree with? Do you feel that violence can ever be justified?
Some  fight for self-defense, for the thrill, and/or because that's just how it goes for them. The fighting for self-defense is the only attitude I agree with, because I will do whatever I need to do to survive. I disagree with the fighting for the thrill attitude, there are other ways to get a thrill without hurting yourself or anyone else. Do I feel that violence can ever be justified? Only if it's self-defense, that's just everyone is. They will do anything to stay alive.

I hope me answering some of these made you think about picking up this book and enjoy it for yourself.

Happy Reading!