Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
Does Ponyboy wish he were a Social?
The tagline for the movie version starts like this: "They grew up on the outside of society. They weren't looking for a fight. They were looking to belong" (source). Based on the novel, do you agree? If not, why? If so, what do they want to belong to?
Ponyboy is unable to walk around by himself in his neighborhood without a strong possibility of being attacked by the Socs. What about where you live? Is it safe to walk alone? Why or why not?
Do you think Pony and Darry really stop fighting after the book is over? Why or why not?
Pretend you're a career counselor. What career path would you recommend for Ponyboy? Why?
Does Ponyboy strike you as a reliable narrator? Why or why not? What are some things he might have left out and why?
Pretend you're a social worker. Would you recommend that Darry continue to raise Pony and Soda? Why or why not? If you say "yes," what advice would you give each of the Curtis brothers to help them cope?
If you've read Markus Zusak's The Book Thief, do you see any parallels between Ponyboy and Liesel Meminger, that story's protagonist? They both use writing to try to understand and express their lives, but are there other parallels, or not? Would Liesel's story be harder or easier to tell than Ponyboy's? Why or why not?
If the Curtis boys and gang were transported from 1965 into the present, would their situation be any easier? Harder? Why or why not?
Is The Outsiders relevant to you? Can you relate to it? Why or why not?
Should The Outsiders be taught in school? If so, at what grade levels?
Who is your favorite character and why? Who is your least favorite?
Which character impacts you the most? What emotions do you feel for that character? Does he/she remind you of someone else you know? Of yourself?