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The Outsiders

Ch. 1

p.  3  asset
p. 10  acquired
p.  4  clammy
p.  6  cowlick
p.  3  disgrace
p. 12  gingerly
p. 13  glaring
p. 10  irresistibly
p.  7  loping
p.  5  madras
p. 11  rarities
p.  7  reckless
p. 12  sagely
p. 17  sarcasm
p. 17  savvy
p. 11  suspicious
p. 10  two-bits
p. 10  tough vs. tuff
p. 10  unfathomable 

1. What is heroism?

2. What is the point of view?

3. What do we learn about the narrator in the first two pages?

4. What is the difference between the Socs and the Greasers?

5. What happened to Ponyboy on the way home from the movies? Did the Socs have a good reason for this? How could Ponyboy have avoided this?

6. Pony says, "Sodapop was an irresistibly tuff guy." What does "irresistibly tuff" mean? How is that different from saying that Sodapop was tough?

7. Why do you think that Darry was upset with Ponyboy? What did Darry think of Ponyboy?

8. What kind of relationship did Ponyboy have with the other members of his group?

9. Ponyboy said that he understood why Sodapop and Steve got into drag races and fights so often because both had too much energy, too much feeling, and no way to blow it off. What are some ways to release this pent up emotion and energy in socially acceptable ways?

Ch. 2

p. 26  bickering
p. 26  defensively
p. 24  fiery
p. 24  hesitation
p. 26  innocent
p. 24  incredulous
p. 28  incidentally
p. 34  law-abiding
p. 25  nonchalantly
p. 34  rebellious
p. 22  roguishly
p. 28  shanghaiing
p. 27  smothered
p. 31  stricken
p. 25  stalked
p. 33  vaguely
p. 23  winced
p. 21  struck dumb

1. Why do you think Johnny spoke up to Dally?

2. What did Cherry learn about the Greasers? What did Pony learn about the Socs?

3. What kind of troubles of the Socs might Cherry have been referring to?

4. What were "fair" rules for a gang fight? What did "fair" mean?

Ch. 3

p. 38  aloofness
p. 43  bleak
p. 39  buckskin
p. 42  dumbfounded
p. 41  elite
p. 50  frustration
p. 37  gallantly
p. 38  impersonally
p. 39  ornery
p. 43  passionately
p. 44  reeling
p. 47  reputation
p. 44  resignedly
p. 38  sophisticated

1. Why do you think Ponyboy and Cherry told each other things they had never told anyone else?

2. Do the characters in this novel seem like real people? How did the author accomplish this?

3. How do you think Johnny felt when Ponyboy said, "An' you can shut your trap, 'cause we all know you ain't wanted at home either"?

4. Was it wise of Cherry and Marcia to leave their boyfriends when they found them drinking? What else could they have done?

5. Do you agree with Johnny that having friends care for you is not the same as having your own folks care about you? Why or why not?

6. Ponyboy thought it was plain that Darry didn't want him around when Darry hit him. Do you agree? Why or why not?

7. Notice how the end of Chapter 3 ends with foreshadowing.

Ch. 4

p. 61  abandoned
p. 65  bewildering
p. 58  bootlegging
p. 59  contemptuously
p. 59  defiance
p. 54  desperately
p. 58  finality
p. 60  pneumonia
p. 67  premonition
p. 60  realization
p. 65  reformatory
p. 60  ruefully
p. 55  smoldering
p. 56  unceasingly

1. List the series of actions that led to the escalation of the problem.

2. Was anyone right or wrong in what they did in this situation?

3. How do you think the Socs felt after Bob was stabbed?

4. Have you ever known someone like one of the characters?

5. What will happen next?

Ch. 5

p. 78  eluded
          fiend
p. 76  gallant
p. 83  gorged
p. 77  hue
p. 72  imploring
p. 80  indignant
p. 79  siege
p. 77  subsides
p. 73  sullenly
p. 80  vital
p. 82  wistfully

1. Based on the supplies Johnny got, what can you conclude about Johnny?

2. Do you think crying helped the boys or made them weaker?

3. How did Johnny feel about Dally?

4. What does "green around the gills" mean?

5. What's another word for "heater"?

6. How could Cherry be a spy for the Greasers?

Ch. 6 p. 87 apparent p. 89 conviction p. 96 hysterics p. 94 inhalation p. 90 irritated p. 87 jolted p. 94 keeled p. 95 plasma p. 98 racking p. 86 surveyed p. 86 testify p. 96 unconscious

1. What is Cherry's rationale for aiding the greasers?

2. Johnny informs Dallas and Ponyboy that he and Ponyboy are turning themselves in. What are Johnny's reasons?

3. Johnny and Ponyboy feel personally responsible for the safety of the children in the church. Why? Is it consistent with their character?

4. Why was saving the children the only time in Johnny's life he didn't have a defeated, mistrustful look?

5. What function in the story does Jerry Wood serve?

Why does Darry's crying have such a profound effect on Ponyboy?

Ch. 7

p. 112  aghast
p. 102  critical
p. 109  cocksure
p. 115  contemptuously
p. 107  delinquents
p. 113  exploits
            impatiently
p. 107  juvenile
p. 100  mimicking
p. 108  manslaughter
p. 104  mourning
p. 101  palomino
p. 101  radiates
p. 102  severe
p. 103  stunned

1. Why are Johnny and Ponyboy scared of the police?

2. What do you think it would have been like for Johnny to return to his home in a wheelchair?

3. Should Darry have been more worried about robbers than he was?

4. Was the headline "Juvenile Delinquents Turn Heroes" accurate or not? (p. 107)

5. What was the situation with Sodapop and Sandy?

6. What was it about Ponyboy that made others confide in him, i.e., Cherry, Johnny, Randy?

7. According to Randy, what do kids want from their parents?

8. Why didn't Randy want to fight in the rumble?

9. Why didn't Ponyboy tell Two-Bit what his discussion with Randy was about?

10. What did Ponyboy learn from Randy about the Socs?

Ch. 8
p. 125  divert
p. 129  boozehound
p. 121  faltered
p. 119  numbly
p. 126  reluctant
p. 125  suspicion

1. Why did Ponyboy and Two-Bit think they couldn't get along without Johnny?

2. Why did spending lonely days in the church strengthen Ponyboy's and Johnny's friendship?

3. What does the "Sixteen years on the streets" paragraph mean? (p.122)

4. Did Johnny know he was going to die? How did he feel about that?

5. What did Ponyboy mean when he said, "the only reason Darry couldn't be a Soc was us"?

6. What was the significance of Ponyboy asking Cherry, "Can you see the sunset real good from the West Side"?

7. Why did Dally need a switchblade?

8. Compare Johnny's mother to Ponyboy's mother.

Ch. 9
p. 136  acrobatics
p. 148  agony
p. 137  amplifier
p. 136  awed
p. 134  clenching
p. 137  conformity
p. 142  contempt
p. 149  contracted
p. 146  escort
p. 136  environment
p. 134  grimacing
p. 135  performance
p. 142  pity
p. 135  prime
p. 146  realization
p. 139  ruefully
p. 135  superiority
p. 136  underprivileged
p. 133  wisecracks

1. What is the significance of the paragraph beginning, "Soda and Steve and I had put on more hair oil than was necessary . . .?"

2. Ponyboy said, ". . .even if I don't steal things and mug people and get boozed up, I'm marked lousy." Is that true or false?

3. Think of someone you labeled a "retard," or nerd, or dork, or any other term just because of the way he/she dressed or acted on occasion. Have you ever found that the person really wasn't much different from you after you took the time to get to know him/her very well? What does that tell us about first impressions?

4. When Soda chanted, "I am a JD and a hood," what did he mean? (p.136)

5. On page 141, Ponyboy says, "We're greasers, but not hoods." What does he mean?

6. Which one of the group of outsiders will decide to work his way out of the environment he lives in currently? Why?

7. Pony said that people usually go by looks so hoods will always be the bad guys and the clean shaven, neatly dressed kids will always be considered the good guys? Is this true or false? Why?

8. Did Johnny die happy?

9. What did Johnny mean when he told Ponyboy to, "Stay gold?"

Ch. 10

p. 156  concussion
p. 157  delirious
p. 156  exhaustion

1. Do you think the rumble was worth the trouble? Why or why not?

2. How is the exodus from the Curtis house in this chapter different this time compared to the exodus right before the rumble?

3. Why did dally want to die?

4. What did it mean when Ponyboy said, "And the ground rushed up to meet me very suddenly"?

5. Why did Ponyboy tell himself not to think, not to remember?

6. Why was Ponyboy concerned with whether or not he had asked for Darry while he was unconscious?

7. Why were athletics so important to Ponyboy and Darry?

Ch. 11

1. Why was Ponyboy concerned about his friends seeing his house but not about Randy seeing his house?

2. Was Randy "cold-blooded mean" for coming to visit Ponyboy? Why or why not?

3. Why did Ponyboy say he had killed Bob and that Johnny wasn't dead?

4. What was so important about Darry calling Ponyboy "little buddy"?

Ch. 12

p. 169  absent-minded
p. 168  acquitted
p. 178  beef
p. 169  theme
p. 179  tow-headed

1. During the hearing what is the judge aware of that Ponyboy is not?

2. In the days following the hearing Ponyboy and Darry continue to have disagreements. Explain why Sodapop bolts from the room during a fight between Darry and Ponyboy.

3. What does Ponyboy learn about himself from Sodapop's outburst?

4. What thought is Johnny trying to communicate to Ponyboy? Explain his message in terms of Robert Frost's poem, "Sunsets," and events in the story.

5. What effect does Johnny's message have on Ponyboy?

General Questions

1. The success of the story rests primarily on the personality of Ponyboy. Do you like him? Why/why not? Select two character traits or things you know about him. How did you learn them? From his words, thoughts, and actions, or from the other characters? How do the other characters feel about him? How do you know?

2. Who are the important minor characters? Which member of the gang would you most like to know? Why? How does Ponyboy feel about him? What special place does Johnny have in the gang? Why?