The Outsiders Lesson 10

Contributor: Kristen Gardiner. Lesson ID: 10928

What is a hero? Writers write about heroes, but did you ever think of a writer as a hero? S.E. Hinton broke ground in writing The Outsiders.


Literary Studies

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

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • What does it mean to be a hero?

Consider this question as you watch the video below.

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  • Sure, the Marvel universe is full of heroes, but are heroes found in real life, too?
  • What constitutes a hero?

Select the Merriam-Webster definition that best fits your understanding of the word hero and write it in your reading journal.

  • Can using a talent — such as writing — to make a statement about social issues make a person a hero?

S.E. Hinton took writing to a new level when she wrote The Outsiders at 15.

  • This was the first time in contemporary literature that real teen issues were being addressed, but did the book contribute to any solutions?

Watch a portion of the following biography video on S.E. Hinton.

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  • According to the video, why did Hinton write the novel?
  • What were some of the controversies over the novel when it was published?
  • Why do you think parents didn't want their children to read about the issues many of them were living daily?

Read about S. E. Hinton and the Y. A. Debate to learn about the present-day controversy over who should read the book and why many still don't understand the book's gist or meaning.

Then, review this exclusive interview with s.e. hinton.

  • Do you see S. E. Hinton as a hero for bringing these topics to light?

Answer the following questions in your reading journal as thoughtfully and honestly as possible based on three major themes from the novel.

  1. Identity
  • How do our interactions with others form our perception of identity?
  • Why do stereotypes exist? How do we break them down — or is it even necessary to break them down?
  • What is the value of recognizing stereotyping in your life and the text?
  • How will your experiences with these terms build your identity?
  1. Social Justice and Empathy
  • How do your choices affect the challenges in your lives?
  • Why are other people's challenges harder to see than your own?
  • How do you help others? How do you help yourself?
  • What is the value of recognizing and confronting the challenges in your life?
  • How do your own experiences help you build empathy for others?
  1. Family Relationships and Dynamics
  • What is a family?
  • What is the value of creating a family around you?
  • How do your experiences with family affect your life?

Review your answers.

  • To what extent, if any, did the novel help you understand these themes?

Now, think about how you honestly feel after having read the novel.

  • Would you recommend this novel to a friend or family member?
  • Why or why not?

Continue exploring the concept of a hero in the Got It? section.

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