The Outsiders Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Outsiders

Ponyboy Curtis and his brothers, Sodapop and Darry, belong to a group of poor teenage boys called greasers. Many of them have led hard lives already, and they are tough, angry and unforgiving. They often fight with the Socs, the group of wealthy, privileged boys who beat them up for fun.
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Ponyboy is shy and quiet. He gets good grades and likes to draw and read.His oldest brother Darry takes care of the family, since their parents died in a car crash. He is very serious, works most of the time, and is very hard on Ponyboy. He often yells at him to do better in school. Soda,the middle brother, is happy most of the time, and is very handsome and likable. The family often gets into fights over Ponyboy's future.
There are a few other members of their gang, including Dally and
Johnny.Dally is one of the oldest, and certainly the toughest. He seems to enjoy being a criminal. He thinks the law is a joke. Johnny is even shyer than Pony. His parents abuse him, so he always seems scared. He is the pet of the group. Recently, Johnny was beat up very badly by a Soc wearing heavy rings.
One night, Dally, Johnny and Pony meet two beautiful Soc girls,
Cherry and Marcia. Cherry is smart and dreamy like Ponyboy, and they
have a good conversation. On the way home, the girls' boyfriends catch them all together. It turns out that Cherry's boyfriend is Bob, the same boy who beat Johnny up. Later that night, Ponyboy comes in late and gets into such a fight with Darry that he runs to the park with Johnny just to get away from the house. Bob and his friends find Pony and Johnny there, and nearly drown Pony in a fountain.
Terrified and angry, Johnny stabs Bob to death. The two boys run to find Dally, knowing he will know what to do. He gives them money and tells them to hide in a church a short distance out of town. They stay there for a few days, reading to each other and talking about poetry and sunsets. (Johnny is thoughtful like Pony, and they get along very well.) When Dallas comes to find them, they tell him they want to turn themselves in. Before they can, however, the church catches fire and several small children are trapped inside.
Without thinking, the boys rescue them, and a large piece of burning wood falls on Johnny and breaks his back. Pony spends a short time in the hospital, then gets to go home. That evening there is a big fight between the greasers and the Socs, which the greasers win. One of Bob's friends does not fight, because he is sick of all the hate and anger around him.Cherry, meanwhile, has become a spy for the greasers, which pleases Ponyboy but also angers him: he doesn't want charity. After the rumble, Dally and Ponyboy go to see Johnny, who dies.Dally is overwhelmed, and runs out of the hospital. Soon after, back at home, Darry and the others get a phone call from Dally. He has robbed a liquor store. The boys run out to find him and hide him, but the police are chasing him. He pulls out a gun. Ponyboy knows it isn't loaded, but he knows that Dally knows the police think it is. The police shoot Dally, and Pony knows Dally wanted to die. Pony faints and stays sick for nearly a week. Ponyboy is so upset by Johnny's death that for weeks he pretends to himself (and everyone else) that he himself killed Bob, and that Johnny is still alive. After the trial, however, when the judge decides that Ponyboy did nothing wrong, Pony begins to admit to himself that Dally and
Johnny are both dead. He decides to write about himself for a class
assignment, so he can let other people know what life for a greaser is like. He is sure that there are many boys across the country just like him. He also recognizes, finally, that Darry loves him. He sees that Darry was just being overprotective when he yelled at him. He feels that, for the first time, he and his two brothers form a family.

The review of this Book prepared by Camilla

The main character, Ponyboy (a greaser), lives with his two brothers, Darry and Sodapop. His parents died in a car accident. His brothers both dropped out of school so that they could support Ponyboy, who is very smart and gets good grades. There is also an ongoing battle against the Socs (the wealthy kids) and greasers.

After going to a movie, Ponyboy and his friend Johnny went to the park and the Socs started drowning Ponyboy and tried to beat up Johnny. In self-defense, Johnny killed one of the Socs.

So that the police would not catch them, their friend Dally told them to hop a freight and go to Jay Mountain and hide in the church there. They passed the time by playing cards and reading "Gone With the Wind". When Dally finally came to get them, they filled up on food, and Johnny decided to turn himself in. While they were driving by the church, they realized that it was on fire, and that there were little kids inside.

Johnny and Ponyboy went inside and saved all the kids but both got injured. They were rushed to the hospital, where they found out that Johnny had severe burns, but Ponyboy was all right. That night, the Socs and greasers had a rumble and many people got hurt, but the greasers won.
The review of this Book prepared by Ashley

Ponyboy Curtis struggles growing up as a poor youth with his overbearing older brother. One night while he is out, Curtis is attacked and his attacker is killed by his best friend. Curtis is forced to flee with his friend and grows up while he is on the road. The novel comes to a shocking conclusion while Curtis is on the road and he returns home with the maturity of a grown man.
The review of this Book prepared by Daniela Lo Presti

This is the story of Ponyboy Curtis who faces a daily battle with the gangster related culture of 1950's America. Ponyboy is a greaser and he and his gang have battles with the soc's. The greasers are the lowerclass and the soc's socities upper class. Ponyboy is involved in a fight with the soc's and this results in he and his friend Johnny running away to evade capture and further injury. They are caught in a fire and Johnny and Ponyboy become heroes for saving some children. The story has a tragic end for Johnny but leaves Ponyboy with the realization that he is no worse off being a greaser because he has morals, family and friends and above all else he is a bright kid with a bright future despite his hard struggle.
The review of this Book prepared by Shel

Ponyboy is a teenager in high school who just wants to fit in. However, he is a poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks. One day a rich kid beats him up, and his friend, Johnny, kills the kid to save Ponyboy. They decide to run and hide instead of turning themselves in.
The review of this Book prepared by Laura J. Miller

Chapter Analysis of The Outsiders

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1960's-1970's Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Family, loving relations    -   Yes Special relationship with    -   brother Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Age group of kid(s) in story:    -   high school Wild kid(s)?    -   committing crimes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   a teen Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   4 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast    -   Midwest City?    -   Yes City:    -   dirty, grimy (like New York)

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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S.E. Hinton Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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