The Outsiders, a timeless novel by S.E Hinton, is one that takes readers on a roller coaster of emotions. Hinton wrote the novel in her teen years and mainly targeted it toward young adult readers. However, the plot, the characters, and the action result in the novel being read and enjoyed by a universal audience. The story follows the lives of two rival gangs. The Greasers live on the East and poorer side of town; the Socs, short for Socials, live on the West and more affluent side of town. The story is narrated by the protagonist and Greaser, Ponyboy Curtis.
The novel begins when Ponyboy walks home from the movies alone. He is trailed closely by an automobile which held a group of Socs and worries that he will soon be jumped as a result of being alone. He fears he will be jumped, because a few months before, Johnny, another member of the Greasers was viciously attacked by a Soc. The Socs get out of the vehicle and threaten to cut off Ponyboy’s long, greasy hair. The Socs wrestle Ponyboy to the ground, and he cries for help. Ponyboy’s brothers, SodaPop and Darryl and other members of the Greasers hear his plead for help and come to his rescue. Ponyboy is shaken up but not badly injured. Darry criticizes Ponyboy for his lack of common sense. He says that Ponyboy should know better than to walk home alone.
That night, Ponyboy and his friends Dally Winston and Johnny Cade go see a movie at the drive-in. Dally starts making provocative conversation with two of the upper class girls and tries to get them to sit with him. Cherry Valance, who is a red-headed soc, orders Dally to beat it, in other words, leave them alone, and Dally takes the hint and leaves. Cherry questions Ponyboy and asks if he is going to treat her the sa...
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... When he awakens, he is informed that a large piece of timber fell on Johnny and broke his back, and that Dallas walked away with a severe burn on his arm, but is otherwise fine. He is also told that they are considered to be "heros" which he finds humorous because the Greasers are constantly called "punks" and are not seen as good guys.
In Hinton 's page-turning ending, the reader discovers that Johnny has died and Dallas does not take this lightly and does not cope well with the fact that he is gone. He takes it in to his own hands and decides to rob a gas station. As the police chase him down and his friends from the gang are telling him to stop, he pulls an unloaded gun and points it at the police and is shot to the ground. Ponyboy is traumatized and doesn 't believe what has happened. He believes that he is the one who killed Bob and that Johnny is still alive.
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