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The Outsiders
The Outsiders
by S.E. Hinton
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The Outsiders Theme of Isolation

At the beginning of The Outsiders, young narrator Ponyboy Curtis feels isolated from the members of his gang, his brothers, and society at large. His intellectualism and his love of movies, books, and nature aren't really appreciated by the gang, or so he thinks. Pony's status as a Greaser also makes him feel like an outsider, locked out of opportunities that wealthier kids enjoy, and unfairly judged by teachers and other authority figures. Things are looking grim for Ponyboy and the other guys in his gang. But, as the story progresses, Ponyboy becomes more aware of connections between Greasers and Socials and between his friends and loved ones. In the process of writing down his story, he learns the powerful sense of connection that can come from reaching out to other "outsiders," and from bringing their struggles to light.

Questions About Isolation

  1. What isolates Pony the most? In what ways is Pony an "outsider"?
  2. Does Pony break out of his isolation by the end of the story? Explain your answer. If he does, what are some of the tools he uses?
  3. Who is the most isolated character? Why?
  4. Are the Socials isolated by their wealth?
  5. What, if anything, do Pony and Johnny learn during the week they hide out in the church, away from society?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Darry is isolated by his decision to care for his younger brothers, but the love and satisfaction he gets from doing so more than makes up for it.

When Johnny dies, Dallas feels completely isolated from the rest of humanity.

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