The Outsiders Book Summary,Themes,Characters & Synopsis

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The Outsiders Book Summary
TitleThe Outsiders
AuthorS. E. Hinton
Publication Date1967
PublisherViking Press
No. of Pages192 Pages
GenreYoung Adult, Coming-of-Age, Drama
SettingTulsa, Oklahoma, USA


The main characters from “The Outsiders” by S. E. Hinton are:

  1. Ponyboy Curtis ➔ The story’s narrator and a member of the Greasers gang.
  2. Johnny Cade ➔ Ponyboy’s best friend, also a Greaser.
  3. Dallas Winston (Dally) ➔ Tough and reckless Greaser.
  4. Sodapop Curtis ➔ Ponyboy’s older brother, kind and fun-loving.
  5. Darrel Curtis (Darry) ➔ Ponyboy’s oldest brother, responsible and protective.
  6. Two-Bit Matthews ➔ Another Greaser known for his humor.
  7. Steve Randle ➔ Sodapop’s friend and a Greaser.
  8. Cherry Valance ➔ A Soc girl who becomes friends with Ponyboy.
  9. Bob Sheldon ➔ A Soc who has a clash with the Greasers.
  10. Randy Adderson ➔ Another Soc who questions the fighting.


The themes from “The Outsiders” by S. E. Hinton are:

  1. Friendship The importance of having good friends.
  2. Family How your family and the people you care about can shape your life.
  3. Identity Figuring out who you are and where you belong.
  4. Conflict The problems that can happen when different groups don’t get along.
  5. Growing Up The challenges and changes that come with getting older.
  6. Violence The impact of fighting and violence on people’s lives.
  7. Belonging Feeling like you fit in somewhere.


The Outsiders is a story about a group of friends called the Greasers. They live in a place called Tulsa and have a tough life. The story is told by one of the Greasers, Ponyboy.

The Greasers are not rich, and they have problems with a group of rich kids called the Socs. One day, Ponyboy meets a Soc girl named Cherry, and they become friends. This causes some trouble because the Socs and Greasers don’t usually get along.

Things get really tough when Ponyboy’s friend, Johnny, gets into a fight with a Soc and things turn bad. Johnny and Ponyboy have to run away to avoid the police. They hide in an old church and try to figure out what to do..


Ponyboy Curtis is a member of a lower-class gang of young people in Oklahoma known as greasers because of their oily, long hair. Ponyboy gets accosted by some Socs, the greasers’ competitors, and upper-class adolescents from the West Side of town, while he is returning from the movies. Ponyboy gets attacked by a group of people called “Socs” who threaten to slice his throat. Ponyboy is saved when a bunch of greasers arrives and drives the bullies away. Ponyboy is saved by his older brother Darry, who took care of his siblings after their parents died in a car accident, and his younger brother Sodapop, a charming and attractive high school dropout. Johnny Cade, a sensitive 16-year-old, Dally, a seasoned street hood with a lengthy criminal history, Steve, Sodapop’s best buddy, yet Two-Bit, the oldest & funniest member of the group, make up the remaining greasers that assist Ponyboy.

Ponyboy, Johnny, and Dally watch a movie together the following night. They are seated behind two pretty Soc females. Dally obnoxiously flirts with the females. Dally leaves when Johnny orders her to quit bothering the Soc females. Ponyboy and Cherry learn that they have a lot in common when Johnny and Ponyboy sit with the females, Cherry and Marcia. The three greasers start walking the Soc females to Two-Bit’s house so he can drive them home before he even arrives. They encounter Bob and Randy, the girls’ inebriated boyfriends, as they make their way to Two-Bit’s home. To avoid a brawl between the Socs & the greasers, the females must go with their men.

Ponyboy’s brother Darry is enraged with him since he is late for dinner. Ponyboy rants at Darry because he is tired of his continual observation and criticism. When the brothers start to argue, Ponyboy gets smacked in the face by Darry. Ponyboy takes off, eager to get away. The two lads head for the park once he locates Johnny. They run across Bob and Randy along with several Soc boys. Ponyboy is attacked by the Socs, and one of them puts Ponyboy’s head under a fountain’s chilly water until Ponyboy passes out. When Ponyboy wakes up, he discovers himself on the ground. He is standing close to Johnny and Bob’s dead body. Ponyboy is informed by Johnny that he killed Bob to prevent the Socs from drowning Ponyboy and beating Johnny.

Ponyboy and Johnny rush to find Dally Winston, the only person they believe might be able to assist them, out of desperation and fear. They are sent to an abandoned church close to the adjacent town of Windrixville by Dally, who also offers them a rifle and some cash. They spend a week hiding out in the church, cutting and coloring their hair to blend in, reading aloud from Gone with the Wind, and having poetry discussions.

Dally visits Ponyboy and Johnny a few days later to see how they are doing. He explains to the guys that since Bob’s passing, hostilities between the Socs and the Greasers have gotten worse. The next night, there will be a fight to settle things. He claims that Cherry, who believes she shares some of the blame for Bob’s passing, has been working as a snitch for the greasers. When Johnny announces his plan to return and give himself in, Dally is taken aback.

Dally consents to take Ponyboy and Johnny home in his car. But as the lads head out, they see that Ponyboy and Johnny’s lodging, an abandoned church, is on fire. They find that several youngsters had strayed inside in a group. To save the kids, Ponyboy and Johnny dash into the flames. The roof collapses as the final child is being put through the window, and Ponyboy passes out. In an ambulance, he regains consciousness. He is identified as having minor burns and bruising at the hospital. Dally is not seriously harmed either, but Johnny is in critical condition since the roof collapsed and shattered his back.

Darry and Sodapop arrive to fetch Ponyboy, and Ponyboy and Darry reconcile. The following morning, Ponyboy and Johnny are hailed as heroes in the media. They further claim that Johnny will face manslaughter charges as a result of Bob’s passing. Finally, it is stated in the documents that Ponyboy and Johnny will both need to appear in juvenile court so that a judge may choose whether or not to send them to a boys’ home.

Ponyboy and Two-Bit stumble into Randy while getting a Coke. Randy informs Ponyboy that he has had enough of the fighting and will not be attending the rumble that evening. Johnny appears frail when Ponyboy and Two-Bit visit him in the hospital. He requests a fresh copy of Gone with the Wind from Ponyboy. Ponyboy and Two-Bit discover that Dally is stronger than Johnny during their meeting with her. Dally requests to take Two-Bit’s switchblade with the black handle. Ponyboy and Two-Bit pass Cherry on their way home. Because Johnny killed Bob, she won’t go see him, and Ponyboy deems her a traitor. He backs down once she clarifies her position.

The greasers overcome the Socs at the rumble. Dally, who had fled from the hospital, arrives just in time for the battle. Ponyboy and Dally rush back to visit Johnny after the battle only to discover that he is dying. Dally loses control & flees the room in a rage after Johnny passes away. That evening, late at night, Ponyboy wanders home, feeling confused and dizzy. He breaks Johnny’s death news to the others. Dally phones to report that he has committed a grocery store robbery and that the police are searching for him. The greasers scramble to locate him, but it’s too late. When Dally points a pistol at the cops, they shoot him to death. Ponyboy collapses from exhaustion.

Ponyboy awakens at home in his bed. He was kicked in the head during the rumble, resulting in a concussion & has been delirious in bed for many days. When he feels well, he shows up for his hearing, where the court treats him nicely and exonerates him of any wrongdoing in connection with Bob’s passing. Ponyboy will be permitted to stay at home with Darry, the court decides. Ponyboy briefly has a sense of empty emptiness. He loses interest in food, his grades drop, and he feels resentful toward Darry. Finally, Sodapop admits to Ponyboy that the strain at home has made him furious and irritated. He begs Ponyboy and Darry to stop fighting with tears in his eyes.

Ponyboy finally recognizes the importance of his family and decides to stop fighting with Darry. For the first time, he discovers, that he can recall Dally and Johnny’s deaths without suffering or denial. He decides to share their experience and starts to write a term paper for his English class, which ends up becoming the novel.


What is The Outsiders about?

The Outsiders is a story about young people from different groups, the Greasers and the Socs, and how they deal with problems like fighting and being friends.

Where does the story in The Outsiders happen?

The story takes place in Tulsa, Oklahoma, during the 1960s.

What are some important things the book talks about

The book talks about things like people from different groups not getting along, being loyal to friends, dealing with family issues, figuring out who you are, and how violence can cause problems.

Has The Outsiders been turned into a movie or play?

Yes, The Outsiders was made into a movie in 1983, and it’s also a play that people can watch.

About the Author- S.E.Hinton

Full NameSusan Eloise Hinton
Date of BirthJuly 22, 1948
Place of BirthTulsa, Oklahoma, United States
Education-Graduated from Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma
-Attended the University of Tulsa but did not complete a degree
Famous WorksThe Outsiders (1967), That Was Then, This Is Now (1971),
Rumble Fish (1975), Tex (1979), Taming the Star Runner” (1988)
Literary GenreYoung Adult Fiction

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