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The Outsiders

S. E. Hinton

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.