The Outsiders Lesson 7: ... He Finally Broke.

Contributor: Kristen Gardiner. Lesson ID: 10862

Ever watch trees sway in a storm? You think the tallest won't break from the wind and rain, only the smallest. Dally stood tall through many storms, but these winds blew right through his rough bark!


Literary Studies

learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio: Image - Button Play
Image - Lession Started Image - Button Start

The Outsiders has often been referred to as a "coming of age" novel. What does that mean? Watch this stand by me - Gordie & Chris clip from the movie Stand by Me, and think about the phrase in terms of your own life:

Image - Video

According to, the phrase Coming of age is a young person's transition from being a child to being an adult.

The certain age at which this transition takes place changes in society, as does the nature of the change. Coming of age is often a topic of fiction in the form of a Coming-of-age story. In literature, a novel that deals with the psychological and moral growth often associated with coming of age is sometimes called a Bildungsroman. Similar stories that are told in film are called coming-of-age films.

Would you consider The Outsiders a coming-of-age story? How can you personally relate to this story? Discuss your answer with your parent or teacher.

The clip you just watched is from the movie Stand by Me, considered one of the most compelling coming-of-age movies of the 20th century. The story revolves around four friends — young, teen-aged boys — all social outcasts in their own way, on a journey to see a dead body (pretty morbid). The main characters are Gordie, whose all-star older brother was recently killed in an accident, who has become the object of his father's resentment, and, therefore, believes his father hates him; and Chris, the younger brother of the town's most notorious hood, who is unjustly labeled as hoodlum himself. The two boys rely on each other's friendship to get them through the tough times as they dream of leaving their small town.

I won't spoil the movie in case you haven't seen it, but there are many similar themes and "feels" as The Outsiders. Based on the small clip you just watched, which boys in The Outsiders remind you the most of Chris and Gordie?

Chapters Ten and Eleven of The Outsiders are the pinnacle of the novel, that point when you hit the top of the roller coaster, just before you go down a steep incline. You can almost see what's coming, but then you start the decline and it's more than you anticipated.

By this point in most novels, we think we know all there is to know about our characters, but this isn't most novels. Very few characters in this novel remain static, or unchanging, throughout the story line. Most of the characters are dynamic, experiencing some change (emotional growth, maturation, realization about other characters, and even physical changes). Discuss with your teacher or parent who you feel the top three most dynamic characters are and why.

Image - Button Next