The Outsiders Book Summary
Although the exact location is not specified, I can assume (after looking at Hinton’s FAQ and the online version of the book) that The Outsiders takes place in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This was Hinton’s hometown and the site of her high school (as stated by herself). In addition, Tulsa is considered a cowboy town.
And several of the characters like Dally and Sodapop had a profound love with horses (like Mickey). Dally was also into rodeos which could be shown in the following, He got drunk, he rode in rodeos, lied, cheated, stole, rolled drunks, jumped small kidshe did everything. I didn’t like him, but I had to respect him. (Hinton 10). Dally also has a rodeo partner who was Buck Merrill. He was described as a tall and lanky cowboy (Hinton 51) who loves Hank Williams, a country singer in the 1950’s. The things we do know, however, is that PonyBoy’s town is divided by economic and social classes. On the west side of the town, the wealthy Socs live there (Greaser’s enemies). On the east side of town, the poor Greasers and other hoods live in that area (it is their territory).
You can imagine the scenery with the Socs having tuff mustangs, drinks at their will, and leather jackets, while the Greasers could not even afford money for their education in college. This can be shown by the following, Darry didn’t deserve to work like an old man when he was only twenty. He had been a real popular guy in school; he was captain of the football team and he had been voted Boy of the Year. But we just didn’t have the money for him to go to college, even with the athletic scholarship he won. And now he didn’t have time between jobs to even think about college. (Hinton 15). We also know that they did not live in the countryside but lived in the suburban area of the state they lived in (Tulsa, Oklahoma is a suburban area). This could be shown by the following,In the country… I loved the country. I wanted to be out of towns and away from excitement. I only wanted to lie on my back under a tree and read a book or draw a picture, and not worry about being jumped or carrying a blade or ending up married to some scatterbrained broad with no sense. (Hinton 42). O
n a side note, the actual time period is never specified. But I believe that it is around the 1960’s. This is because as the story progresses, references about the Ford Mustang are shown. This was a sports car that is admired by both the Socs and the Greasers. And the thing is, this sports car was mass produced starting at 1964 ( according to https://classicponycars.com/history.html.com). In addition, Socs and Greasers enjoyed going into their local movie theatre, a popular activity for teenagers in the late 1960’s. (according to https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-history-of-the-drive-in-movie-theater-51331221/). This claim could be shown by the following, I had a long walk home and no company, but I usually lone it anyway, for no reason except that I like to watch movies undisturbed so I can get into them and live them with the actors. (Hinton 4). There were also references made in remarks about the Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Paul Newman who were known in the mid 1960’s. This book started and ended with a timespan of approximately 20 days.
On the first day, Ponyboy is found by the Soc’s and is attacked, only for his family and friends shortly to arrive to rescue him (Chapter 1). On the second day, Ponyboy finds two girls from the Socs (Cherry and Marcia), in which they go to the local movie theatre with Two-Bit and Johnny (Chapter 2 and 3). Then, later that night, Johnny murders Bob (from the Socs) as an act of self defense. Because of this, they have to run away from their town (Chapter 4). On the third day, Johnny and Ponyboy arrive at their runaway destination where Ponyboy cuts and bleaches his precious hair. They spend the next 5 days reading Gone with the Wind and smoking packs of cigarettes as time passes on (Chapter 5). On the eighth day, Dally, Johnny, and Ponyboy save children from a burning church.
This results in Johnny having a broken back and the rest of them having minor injuries (Chapter 6). On the ninth day, the rumble occurs and the Greasers pull off a victory. Later that night, Johnny dies from the injuries that had happened to him when a piece of the building fell on his back. Because of this, Dally intended to rob a grocery store to die from the police officers by pulling out his heater (Chapter 8-10). After this incident, Ponyboy lies in bed for approximately a week since he was not feeling so good after the rumble (Chapter 11). On the seventeenth day, the Greasers had to go to a hearing in court to see if any charges counted against them. And then approximately 3 days later, Ponyboy started to work on his assignment for school already having a topic in mind.
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