Ponyboy Curtis is a name that will get recognition in most discussions about books. And if it doesn’t, then you need to leave right away. He is the protagonist in S. E. Hinton’s debut novel The Outsiders and part of most school curriculums.Rightfully so I might add since it played a major part in getting me to read for fun.
The Outsiders: Summary
As Ponyboy Curtis exits the movie theater and heads home, he is approached by the Socs, the rival gang of the greasers, the gang that Ponyboy is a part of. Badly outnumbered, Ponyboy tries to fight back and is saved by members of the greasers, including his older brothers Sodapop and Darry, the parent figure of the family.
The next night, Ponyboy goes to a drive-in movie theater with the tough-skinned Dally and the shy and quiet Johnny. He is viewed as a little brother by everyone in the gang. The group meets two Soc girls and Ponyboy realizes that the Socs don’t have it as great as he once thought. And he finally was able to relate to a Soc.
The night takes a turn for the worst when the trio runs into a group of Socs. Cherry, one of the girls that the group met tonight plays peacemaker. Ponyboy finally arrives home, past his curfew and his oldest brother Darry yells at him for being recklessly late. The anger by Darry seems unfair to Ponyboy who believes that Darry has become cold since their parents died in a car accident and runs away.
Ponyboy meets up with Johnny and they hang out but once again, the Socs find them and have them outnumbered. What happens next changes the course of everyone’s life as things get out of control. Now, Ponyboy is on the run from the cop and fears he’ll spend the rest of his life in prison.
I remember reading The Outsiders in school and that was one of the first times a reading assignment didn’t feel like an assignment. We were assigned a certain number of pages to read but I ended up finishing the book in a few sittings.
Nowadays, I try to incorporate it into my reading list here and there. This is one of my favorite novels to read and I still can’t believe S. E. Hinton wrote in while still in high school! This novel was a gateway to other novels by her which I enjoyed a lot. She is an amazing author and someone I am very grateful to.
The novel was inspired by events that happened around Hinton. That is why the book feels so authentic. As the reader, the characters feel relatable. This may be the one of the best novels to get students interested in reading. It worked for me and for millions of other people.
Before the young adult took off in the 2000’s, we had S. E. Hinton and Ponyboy. Hopefully students still read this great novel and can’t find buried beneath The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, both novels that are also amazingly written. We are allowed to have multiple favorite novels and The Outsiders will always be a favorite of mine.