The Outsiders Lesson 4: Golden Greasers

Contributor: Kristen Gardiner. Lesson ID: 10877

"Great minds think alike!" Ever say that when you and a friend say the same thing at the same time? What goes on inside people and why, and can it change? Examine a Robert Frost poem and its meaning!


Literary Studies

learning style
personality style
Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Have you ever played a word association game, either with a friend or family member, or online like Word Wall?

Watch the StarApps Word Wall - A challenging and fun word association brain game (Cool word game t iPhone & iPad Review video closely!


The object of the game is to see how quickly you can click on a word that is somehow associated with the word that is randomly highlighted. This new digital version is more for the competitive personality. I think it's more fun to play with an actual person, especially someone who sees things differently. That way, you are surprised by his or her answers! It's interesting to see how others make connections between ideas and things, create their own symbolism, and make allusions.

Let's try right now — on the count of three, both you and your teacher say the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word, "fade."

How different were your answers?

Take a moment to explain to each other why you said the words you did.

Was it due to different life experiences? Age? Did one of your answers have to do with a particular personal event? Maybe one of your answers was related to a song, movie, book, or television show? Or possibly, you both said the same thing for the same reason! If you did, was it because of an entertainment vehicle that you both know?

How weird is it when two people both quote a popular phrase from a movie at the same time? Has that ever happened to you? Did you ever wonder why people begin to associate certain elements from movies, songs, and books with ideas and emotions?

Our minds are mysterious places, and reading Chapter Five of The Outsiders doesn't make understanding the reasons why we think and feel the way we do any easier.

Oddly, Pony and Johnny probably wouldn't be very good at playing the word association game, simply because they are so alike. They would probably wind up saying the same word back and forth for an hour.

Chapter Five shows us just how close and similar the two boys are.

As the sun sets, Ponyboy recites a poem by Robert Frost to Johnny. This poem has meaning to both boys, but how could a piece of poetry have such an impact on two greasers? Watch the The Outsiders: Nothing Gold Can Stay scene from the 1983 movie version of The Outsiders:


We need to understand the meaning of the poem, and to do so, we need the definition of allusion.

Explore Literary Devices' definition of Allusion as well as several helpful examples.

Print a copy of The Outsiders Chapter 5 Allusion Frost Poem, found in the Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar. Follow the instructions and find the allusion and meaning in Robert Frost's Nothing Gold Can Stay.

As you complete the Allusion activity, think about Johnny's and Ponyboy's current surrounds compared to what they left behind. How do you think Johnny feels about staying at the old church? Do you think the boys are beginning to look at the world differently? If so, how? What is changing for them?

After completing the poetry assignment, think about the changes that come in the next chapter.

  • Do you think the poem is an element of foreshadowing?

Move on to the Got It? section to find out!

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