The Outsiders

S. E. Hinton
Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas Key Facts

full title  The Outsiders

author  S. E. Hinton

type of work  Novel

genre  Coming-of-age; class struggle

language  English

time and place written  1960s, Tulsa, Oklahoma

date of first publication  1967

publisher  The Viking Press

narrator  Ponyboy Curtis

point of view  Ponyboy gives a first-person, subjective account of events, explaining how we should interpret events and people in the story.

tone  Youthful; melodramatic; slangy; simplistic

tense  Past

setting (time)  Mid-1960s

setting (place)  Tulsa, Oklahoma

protagonist Ponyboy

major conflict  Against the background of the clash between the poor greasers and the rich Socs, the greaser Ponyboy struggles to mature.

rising action  Johnny kills a Soc; Johnny and Ponyboy flee; tension mounts between the greasers and Socs.

climax  Johnny’s death, in Chapter 9.

falling action  The greasers win the rumble; Dally dies; Ponyboy recovers from his emotional and physical trauma.

themes  Bridging the gap between rich and poor; honor among the lawless; the treacherousness of male-female interactions

motifs  Literature; eye shape and color; Ponyboy’s losses of consciousness

symbols  Two-Bit’s switchblade; cars; Bob’s rings; greaser hair

foreshadowing  The Socs jump Ponyboy while he walks home alone, previewing their later attack on him and Johnny; Johnny threatens to kill anybody who jumps him again, foreshadowing his murder of Bob.