Saturday, April 9, 2016

H: S.E. Hinton & THE OUTSIDERS

"Every teenager feels that adults have no idea what's going on. That's exactly the way I felt when I wrote THE OUTSIDERS." -S.E. Hinton

Reading S.E. Hinton's THE OUTSIDERS (Speak, YA) around the beginning of junior high, I felt I was shadowing "older bad boys." In the book, there are two rival gangs- the Greasers and the Socs. Ponyboy is a Greaser. The catalyst occurs when big brother Darry hits Ponyboy, prompting Ponyboy to run away from home. Ponyboy joins fellow Greaser Johnny. Johnny ends up killing a Soc to save Ponyboy. Now the boys have to go on the run...

This book gave me my earliest exposure to Robert Frost's poetry. Ponyboy recites "Nothing Gold Can Stay" as he and Johnny are watching a sunrise. I remember being enamored by the poem and saddened by Johnny's final words to Ponyboy, "Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold..." 

In the back of one of the newer editions of THE OUTSIDERS, S.E. Hinton shares she started writing the book when she was 15 and finished when she was 16. That was also the year she got a D (yes, a D!) in creative writing at school. Nonetheless, according to S.E. Hinton's Wikipedia page, THE OUTSIDERS has gone on to sell more than 14 million super plus copies since its publication in 1967. 

Have you read THE OUTSIDERS? What's a subject you've thrived and excelled in despite a bad grade you received for it back in school?

22 comments:

Michelle Wallace said...

The Outsiders was the grade 9 prescribed book in 2014 and 2015. I enjoyed teaching it to my learners.
They enjoyed the story with its multiple themes which they could relate to.
Writer In Transit

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

I had no idea it was a book. I've seen the movie - it's a classic of the brat pack era, but didn't realise it was based on anything.
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

Keiths Ramblings said...

How interesting that a young person with poor exam results should straight away write a phenomenal book. Creative writing is something that really can't be graded. It's subjective, personal and offers different things to different readers.

Visit Keith's Ramblings and his obsolete words!

Ericka @ A Quiet Girl's Musings... said...

Believe it or not, but I have never read this. I somehow managed to go through public school and college never being required to read it. I consider it often, however, as I *try* to read 3-4 classics/modern classics a year. Maybe 2016 will be the year for me.

Random Musings said...

I haven't come across this author, but the fact they got a D in creative writing and then wrote a book that was so widely read makes it clear that writing is something you can do or you can't do; it's not something you can teach
Debbie

Pat Hatt said...

A great book indeed. Never knew she got a D. Goes to show what teachers know, some at least haha

Doree Weller said...

I don't think I've ever read this, but it sounds good. The first poem that touched me was also found in a book. I think that special YA books can really introduce us to the world.
@DoreeWeller from
Doree Weller’s Blog

Susan said...

I remember reading this when I was a teenager as well. Incredible to think S.E. Hinton wrote this when she was just 15-16. Wow! And she got a D in Creative Writing that year - double wow!

Have you seen the movie version with Matt Dillon? I thought they did a pretty good job on it...

The Silver Fox said...

I was in 6th or 7th grade when I first read The Outsiders. I read it several times over the years. What a terrific book!

Ella said...

I remember the movie, but now I want to read the book~ I thought for awhile Robert Frost was following me.

http://www.withrealtoads.blogspot.ca/2013/06/a-toads-favorurite-poem.html

Wow, on the age of S.E. Hinton~

Stephanie Faris said...

Did S.E. Hinton ever write again after that? I don't even know! When I was in school, people read the book for fun (the movie had just come out). Now they have kids read it for class and they show the movie during school. Today's entertainment is tomorrow's classic, I guess!

Jo said...

I think that is funny about getting a D in school and selling so many of the book anyway. I have never come across the book but sounds as though there are some lovely scenes.

tracy said...

I haven't read the book, but I watched the movie years ago and enjoyed it. It's about time that I trolled the library for the book!

Tracy (Black Boots, Long Legs)

Sandra Cox said...

Is that not stunning? Thanks for sharing!

Liz A. said...

Did you know S.E. Hinton is on Twitter? There was some trending hashtag that she had some great lines for. I think that was last summer?

When I was 11 or 12, I regularly went to the library, and the librarian in the kids section would spend time picking out books I should read. Once a month I would go home with like 30 books. (My father asked for her help, and he would consent to my getting books with swearing and such topics in them.)

This librarian gave me The Outsiders once. I didn't read it. Something about the cover put me off. She gave it to me a couple more times, but I never got around to reading it. Then my 9th grade English teacher assigned it, so that's when I read it. And loved it. Go figure.

Nowadays, I see the movie at least once (well 55 minutes of it 5 times in a row) in some 9th grade English class or other. I've already seen it twice this school year.

Liz A. from
Laws of Gravity

Elizabeth said...

I read the Outsiders for 8th grade English, and our teacher engraved that Robert Frost poem in our heads. I remember feeling particularly moved by that poem.

Sarah Zama said...

My goodness, I had forgotten about this book! But I read it, more or less at that same age (I must have been 13 or 14) and really really enjoyed it. It was the 1980s and gangs were a very popular fiction topic at that time too.

I love this vintage cover :-)
Thanks very much for making me remeber this story.

@JazzFeathers
The Old Shelter - Jazz Age Jazz

Jeffrey Scott said...

This is one I know I read in schooI l for American Authors class, but I don't really recall much about it.
As for subjects in school, I never got good grades. But I also missed a lot of school and did very little homework. Creative writing I received mostly D's and C's. I did get a few B's when I applied myself.
Also, typing classes were never straight A's but I'm an expert typer now. I fascinate my co-workers because I can type without looking at the keyboard. Probably a trait most writers have. So nothing really special.

Donna McDine said...

Adored this book and still do. The movie was terrific too!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I so enjoyed this book when I was younger - the movie was good, too. I remember me and my friends walking around quoting lines from it. I also liked Hinton's other novels.

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

I knew SE Hinton was a teenager because my copy of THE OUTSIDERS says, on the front cover, "A revealing novel for teenagers--by a teenager." I loved the book. One tidbit I enjoy is that SE Hinton and I have the same literary agency. It isn't really that significant; it's not like I've ever had any contact with her! It's just a little fangirling factette that pleases me.
Another thing I liked about Hinton was the way she wove main characters from some of her novels into cameo appearances in the others. It was a little reward for readers who read all her books and paid close attention to the minor characters.

Deb Atwood said...

I'm very familiar with this novel as most of the students I tutor read it as part of their curriculum. Ponyboy is such a wonderful character, and I love the first line about walking out of the theater with Paul Newman on his mind. Love your A to Z theme!
@deb_atwood from
Pen In Her Hand

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