The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton, published in 1967, is a coming-of-age novel set in the 1960s in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Hinton began writing The Outsiders at the age of fifteen, inspired by her frustration with the social divisions in her high school and the lack of realistic fiction for high school readers.

The story is narrated by Ponyboy Curtis, a teenager from the wrong side of the tracks, who belongs to a gang of “Greasers.” The novel explores the tensions and conflicts between the Greasers and the wealthier “Socs” (Socials), examining themes of socioeconomic class, friendship, and cycles of violence. The novel’s setting reflects the social and economic disparities of the time, providing a backdrop for the struggles of the young protagonists. The Outsiders captures the essence of teenage rebellion, friendship, and the search for identity in the face of societal expectations.

S. E. Hinton’s exploration of the complexities of adolescence and the universal desire for acceptance resonates with readers across generations. Sixteen years after the novel’s publication, director Francis Ford Coppola adapted The Outsiders into a film that stands as a faithful and iconic portrayal of Hinton’s novel. The 1983 movie made a strong contribtuion the enduring popularity of the novel.

Explore the full plot summary, an in-depth analysis of Ponyboy Curtis, and explanations of important quotes from The Outsiders.

Upgrade to PLUS and get instant access to all the study tools

Upgrade to PLUS and get instant access to all the study tools