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The Outsiders Theme of Love

The Outsiders features hints of romance, but that isn't the main event. Our narrator, Ponyboy, is most interested in showing us the love between gang members and challenging family relationships. Ponyboy loves his brother Darrel, but since the loss of their parents, Darrel has become different.

He's suddenly raising his two teenage brothers, and has taken on all of the responsibilities of a parent. Oh, and Darrel's only twenty years old. Coming to terms with Darrel's position, and seeing the love behind it, is a big part of Ponyboy's growth the novel. The Outsiders also looks at how, in the case of Johnny Cade, lack of love and support at home can have tragic repercussions for a kid.

Questions About Love

  1. Soda wanted to marry Sandy in spite of the fact that she became pregnant with another guy's child. Does his decision tell us anything about his love for her, or about his ideas about love in general?
  2. What are some of the reasons Pony finds Soda so easy to love?
  3. Why does Pony begin to doubt Darry's love?
  4. Is Pony romantically interested in Cherry?
  5. Why is Cherry afraid to fall in love with Dallas? Why is she attracted to him in the first place?
  6. Why doesn't Darry have a love life?
  7. What impact does the lack of love in Johnny's home have on him? Why isn't the love he gets from the gang enough to counteract the non-love his parents dole out?
  8. Why do Dallas and Johnny love each other so much? What makes them so close?

Chew on This

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

Dallas and Johnny care about each other so much because they're two halves of the same coin; together they complete each other.

The Outsiders argues that parents, not a person's outside environment, have the biggest impact on how a kid turns out.

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