The Outsiders The Outsiders discussion


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Why the title "The Outsiders?"

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Stephen No one in the book uses the term "outsiders" to describe the Greasers or the Socs.

Ponyboy, Darry and Sodapop all have each other. In a slightly more remote way, all the Greasers have each other. If anyone felt isolated to me it was some of the Socs.

I've read a few articles and reviews and none of them have shed any light on why that particular title was chosen.

With many books, it's obvious where the title comes from. With others a bit of thinking makes it clear. In this case I've some theories but nothing is crushingly obvious to me.

Anyone see what I'm missing?


Brittany Even though the two main groups are the Greasers and Socs, the Socs are accepted in society. They are the upper class, the people with the most power. The Greasers on the other hand are the complete opposite. They are the lowest of the lower class, almost to the point of being homeless. Yes they do have each other, but in Society, they're the "Outsiders". Someone to frown upon, to look down to, to not trust. The police would take Dally into questioning regularly, just because he was a Greaser. The Greasers are cast out and left to bear the elements of life, while in any other situation they would've been given a helping hand.

I hope my rant helps


message 3: by Lia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lia visibly the reason that the book is called the Outsiders is because they are considered outsiders from society


message 4: by LuLu (new) - added it

LuLu In the words of my sister, Mari. She thinks that the reason it was titles "The Outsiders" is because of Ponyboy and Johnny. They were different from everyone in the book. Mostly Ponyboy, well it seemed that he wanted out of the lifestyle along with Johnny.


Deanna Roberts Lia wrote: "visibly the reason that the book is called the Outsiders is because they are considered outsiders from society"

Yes, I completely agree, though they the greasers were acknowledged as greasers, they were still quite separate and never quite accepted for who they were. where as the socs were more like the popular kids at school who everyone adored.


Kristine i think it is called the outsiders because they were outcasts from society


Amina Not only are the Greasers treated like outcasts in society but I think Ponyboy felt his gang wasn't like typical Greasers.  Hence they were the outsiders in that too.


Elizabeth I think that it is broader than just the fact they were outcasts from society. I think the connotation can also be those who choose not to always live the normal life they were born into. There is a part of Ponyboy that is an outsider to the Greasers. We see that when he is talking to Cherry, or talking to Johnny about the Robert Frost poem. I think it's the idea that we are all sometimes outsiders. It just depends on who is telling the story. Really, like Ponyboy says, we all watch the same sunset, so maybe there are things that can be common for everyone. The idea that no one is actually an outsider.


Kayla K I think the title fits well with the book, because they try and get away and they see everything from a different prespective which is known as being an outsider.


message 10: by Stephen (last edited Jan 24, 2013 12:48PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Stephen Hmmm... I posed this question some time ago and so far no one has suggested MY pet theory (which is what I was kind of hoping for)

Since the book was written by a teen, about teens, the title came from the sense of alienation that almost ALL teens feel at some point. Generally when one is a teen, one starts defining themselves more as an individual and less as the child of someone. This alienation is really the feeling of being an outsider, so in some way, both the greasers AND the SOCs are outsiders. Trying to figure out where they belong in the world... or in the case of Dally, IF they belong in the world.

Does anyone agree?


Kathy This is just my opinion, but I think it's called that because the story's main characters generally originate from the "Greaser" gang. This gang, as opposed to the Socs are viewed as "outsiders" both in their community/school and in society as a whole.


Melissa I think they should have named it Greasers or something like that. But I kinda get why they named it the Outsiders


message 13: by Ernesto (new)

Ernesto Camacho The author named the book "The Outsiders" because the group (with ponyboy and sodapop..) were considered outcasts, as compared to the Socs. The meaning of the book is that, you shouldn't judge people by money (or race, color, religion, looks etc.) instead, you should first see their personality.


Kailey Ahearn Stephen wrote: "No one in the book uses the term "outsiders" to describe the Greasers or the Socs.

Ponyboy, Darry and Sodapop all have each other. In a slightly more remote way, all the Greasers have each other...."


The reason for the title The Outsiders is because not only were the Greasers on the of society, they didn't belong. They belonged only to each other.

Another reason it was called The Outsiders is because the gang were outsiders. They weren't like most greasers. They all didn't go robbing gas stations and in shoot outs, Except maybe Dallas. They were different. They were outsiders.


message 15: by Linda (new)

Linda Gao The book title was not the outsider but the outsiders so it maybe meant more than one person so it might not just be ponyboy but all the greasers. The Greasers are therefore outcasts of society and blamed for every wrong.


Susan The original title for the book was A Different Sunset, but her editor thought it was misleading and suggested The Greasers. Susie didn't like that title because that term would not be recognized across the country. Many other titles were suggested, but eventually The Outsiders won out. This information is from reprinted original communications between Susie and her editor in the 50th anniversary edition of the book. ISBN: 978-0-425-28829-0


message 17: by Christopher (new)

Christopher Catanzano Stephen wrote: "No one in the book uses the term "outsiders" to describe the Greasers or the Socs.

Ponyboy, Darry and Sodapop all have each other. In a slightly more remote way, all the Greasers have each other...."


Despite what others have said, the initial set up is to get you to think that the "outsiders" are the greasers because the greasers are labeled as poor, deplorable, delinquents; whereas the socials are respected as classy and well-nurtured. As you read deeper into the novel and the themes develop, we discover that the labels we once supposed to be true about the two "gangs" begin to break down and they break down quickly. We discover that Cherry and Randy are not really socials because they are honest and true individuals. They break the stereotype of the West Side Soc. Furthermore, we discover that Pony, Johnny, Darry, and Johnny are not greasers either because they break the stereotypes as well. Pony and Johnny are deep thinkers who can find beauty in the world. Darry is an honest hard worker, who will one day escape the "neighborhood" by virtue of his integrity and hard work. Finally the Curtis boys themselves are discovered to be a loving and nurturing family. At the end of the novel, we begin to question whether Bob's parent's nurtured him at all. Were Bob's parents any bettter than Johnny's parents? The answer is no, they were probably equally despicable because both parents, rich and poor, ignored their child, either by spoiling him rotten or through physical and verbal abuse (respectively speaking). The "outsiders" of the novel defy group labels and identity politics. The outsiders are individuals and need to be respected as such. Rich and Poor are stereotypes used to separate and dehumanize us. When you talk to the individual and get to know the individual you realize, as Ponyboy says, "the other guy was human, too!" That's what he means when he tells Cherry, "We watch the same sunset," even though they are on opposite sides of the city and from opposing classes. Both Cherry and Pony have green eyes...they understand one another and are sensitive to each other's suffering despite one being rich and the other being poor.


message 18: by Christopher (new)

Christopher Catanzano Lourdes wrote: "In the words of my sister, Mari. She thinks that the reason it was titles "The Outsiders" is because of Ponyboy and Johnny. They were different from everyone in the book. Mostly Ponyboy, well it se..."

Your sister is correct, but you have to add Cherry and Randy in as Outsiders too. They did not fit the "social" label, because they were sensitive and thoughtful individuals who tried to understand the greasers just as Ponyboy tried to understand the socials. The outsiders are the characters who can not easily be put into a box, labeled, and easily understood.


message 19: by Amna (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amna Rahim Stephen wrote: "Hmmm... I posed this question some time ago and so far no one has suggested MY pet theory (which is what I was kind of hoping for)

Since the book was written by a teen, about teens, the title cam..."

thanks for the essay help stephen 👏


Huggy wuggy i think that the real outsiders in the book are johnny and pony. they like to day dream alot so they are the outsiders in their gang


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