Study Guide

The Outsiders Love

By S.E. Hinton

Love

Chapter 1

Darry love me? […] Soda was wrong for once […]. Darry doesn't love anyone or anything, except maybe Soda. I didn't hardly think of him as being human. (1.101)

Most of us can relate to this. When we don't understand others, or their motivations and circumstances, we tend to see them as alien. Pony just can't relate to Darry's struggle at this point, and Darry similarly doesn't understand Pony's.

"I think I'm gonna marry Sandy. After she gets out of school and I can get a better job and everything." (1.96)

Although it's all behind the scenes, Soda and Sandy's romance contributes a lot to the theme of love in The Outsiders, and is the only romantic relationship we are given much insight into.

Chapter 3
Ponyboy Curtis

"An' you can shut your trap Johnny Cade, 'cause we all know you ain't wanted at home, either. And you can't blame them." (3.37)

Pony loves Johnny, but he has a temper, too. So he says just about the meanest thing possible. Johnny already believes that his parents abuse him because he's not a valuable person, and Pony knows that.

Sherri Valance

"I could fall in love with Dallas Winston. […] I hope I never see him again or I will." (3.65)

Cherry likes dangerous, violent, good-looking guys, regardless of how much money they have. Why do you think she shares this info with Pony, and how might it make him feel?

Chapter 12

I thought about writing about Dad, but I couldn't. It's going to be a long time before I can even think about my parents. (12.25)

When we read this line we realize why Ponyboy has hardly told us anything about his parents. Why do you think Pony can't think about his parents? What does it say about his strategy for dealing with grief? Would this work for you?

Darry and I would probably still have misunderstandings – we were too different not to – but no more fights. We couldn't do anything to hurt Soda. (12.57)

Interesting how not fighting becomes a gesture of great love. By finally telling his brothers how he feels, they're also able to show their love for each other.

There's still a lot of good in the world. Tell Dally. I don't think he knows. Your buddy, Johnny. (12.64)

In his deathbed letter, Johnny sends Pony a message of love and hope, and wants him to spread it around. That's a big motivation for Pony to put pen to paper and write his story.

Darrel Curtis

"He told me he loved her, but I guess she didn't love him like he thought she did, because it wasn't him." (12.39)

Darry assumes Sandy doesn't love Soda because she became pregnant by another man. Do you think he's right? Why or why not?