This Week's Story

The Outsiders captivated my students and me, and millions of American students!

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

The Outsiders Live

The Outsiders grips readers. Maybe you saw the movie and read the book. Its people and ideas do not leave you. Ponyboy, Dally, Darry, and Johnny walk in your thoughts. A group of people hate another group of people and you think of the Greasers and Socs. The story is human nature and part of American culture. Its influence is history. A teenager, S.E. Hinton, wrote the book in 1967.

Imagine being a teacher and having to read The Outsiders thirty-four times! No problem! It captivated my students and me. For eleven years it was district required reading for all my English classes of seventh-grade students.

It is a story to see in your head and to feel its struggles. Can you remember how you felt and struggled when you were growing up? For many of us the world was wrong, but how could we fix it?”

The Outsiders is a coming of age story for Ponyboy. He is a Greaser from the poor working-class side of town, an outsider. Let’s go to the time of his Big Trouble.

We see him staring at Bob, a rich kid, a Soc, who’s doubled up and dead. “You really killed him, Johnny?”

“Yeah. I had to. They were drowning you, Pony. They might have killed you.”

Man, this is real; and yet it is fiction. Pony and Johnny flee from Bob’s dead body. Soon they are pulling themselves into a train boxcar and moving into countryside.

Ponyboy’s coming of age moves fast forward in the next two weeks. Eight months before, when his folks were killed in a car wreck, he stepped into a blur. His brothers protected him. He was their kid brother and hurting.

Now he was in a crisis with no brothers. He and Johnny hid in an old dilapidated church. They had bread and baloney to eat, and decisions to make. They decided to turn themselves into the police, but a fire erupted in their hide-out. Little kids were trapped by the flames.

Johnny and Ponyboy rescued the kids and tried to get themselves out of the church. A large burning timber fell onto Johnny. He and Ponyboy were taken to a hospital.

As Ponyboy walked down a hospital hallway, he saw his big brother standing with tears running down his face. What was happening? Darry did not cry; he was bossy; he didn’t care about Ponyboy. Ponyboy realized that his big brother loved him.

Later when Ponyboy met Randy, the dead boy’s friend, he had another realization: the Greasers and Socs both have troubles.

When Johnny was dying from his injuries, Ponyboy heard Johnny’s final words, “Stay gold, Ponyboy.”

He read Johnny’s parting letter. “Ponyboy…you’re gold when you’re a kid, like green. When you’re a kid everything’s new, dawn. It’s just when you get used to everything that it’s day. Like the way you dig sunsets, Pony. That’s gold.”

Ponyboy was coming of age and seeing gold.

Johnny’s words are from S.E. Hinton.

This is Barbara Steiner. Enjoy more stories from

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