Why you should read the modern classic, The Outsiders

It is a story that can shed light on the issues we face in our own lives, regardless of who we are

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(Image courtesy of Speak)

By: Amneet Uppal

The Outsiders is a story that has touched me in so many ways. S.E. Hinton created a masterpiece of a novel in 1967 at the tender age of 18. Just recently, Hinton celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of her book with a tour, which I was lucky enough to attend. Seeing her in person reminded me of why I fell in love with this novel when I was 14 years old. Hinton’s timeless classic is a coming-of-age story that unravels the good and the bad of society. The Outsiders has something for every reader; there are star-crossed lovers, misunderstood teenage boys, thrilling fighting scenes, and suspense creeping up through every page.

     Based on Hinton’s own childhood, the story is about two very different high school gangs, the Socs and the Greasers. The Greasers are considered to be the delinquent troublemakers of the social pecking order. The Socs (short for Socials) on the other hand are considered to be the elites of society. Protagonist Ponyboy is a flawed character: he is a moody, troubled kid who acts recklessly when faced with tough choices. Ponyboy grows tremendously throughout the novel as he witnesses death and the harsh reality of living life as a Greaser.

     Coming from the wrong side of town myself and having been exposed to drugs, violence, and crime at a young age, I have always identified with Ponyboy. The reason why this novel continues to be a success, even after 50 years of publication, is because the message of the story still holds value to this day: it is never too late to change your circumstances.

     If you haven’t read this novel already, I highly suggest adding this book to your summer reading bucket list. The short novel will take you on a journey that will keep you hungry for more. This novel will also take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions: anger, heartbreak, frustration, and at the very end, hope . . . Hope that happy endings do exist, if you want them to.