Essay Topics For The Outsiders

Take Home Essay Test-The Outsiders

On Thursday, March 10th you will be having a Essay Test on the novel The Outsiders. Below is a list of possible essay topics.  You will have to chose 1 and write a 5 paragraph essay.  You will be graded on the writing process:
  1. Pre-writing
    1. brainstorming
    2. planning
  2. Writing
    1. rough copy
  3. Editing
    1. punctuation
    2. spelling
    3. sentence and paragraph structure
  4. Publishing-good copy
    1. neatness
You are able to do as much of the work you want to at home.  I would recommend doing all the pre-writng, writing and editing at home and only leave the publishing to do at the test.  On Thursday, March 10th, you will have 1.5 hrs to complete the essay.  It must be written on paper.  Your good copy must be written during the test time on Thursday, March 10th.
Possible Essay Topics

  1. What does Johnny mean when he tells Ponyboy...."stay gold"?
  2. Describe the conflict in a character's life (external and internal conflict) 
  3. What major themes are seen in the novel The Outsiders? (atleast 3)
  4.   What elements in the novel make the story more real? Discuss elements like point of view, characters, and how thematic elements like violence are handled.
  5. Discuss the significance of the title of the novel. Who is an "outsider" throughout the story, and what makes that person an "outsider"? What other interpretations of the title are there?
  6.  Explain the similarities between the greasers and the Socs. How are they not really all that different from each other? Why does each group think the other is better off? What specific events or conversations in the novel indicate that the two groups have some things in common?
  7. Describe the setting of the novel. What time period is it, and what type of place do the characters live in? What activities, slang, etc. "date" the novel? What impact does this setting have on present-day readers? Is it more difficult to connect with the characters? What significance does the setting have to the events of the novel? Could the events have just as easily happened today? Why or why not?
  8. Explain how symbols are used in the novel. Specifically: what does the sunset symbolize? The vacant lot? What about the different books and poems Ponyboy reads?
  9. Compare and contrast Ponyboy's sensitivity with the attitudes of those around him. What characters are completely opposite in that they are tough and/or desensitized to their situations? How does Ponyboy's sensitivity help or hurt him throughout the story? How does it make him easier/more difficult for readers to relate to?
  10.  Discuss the theme of abandonment in the novel. What actions by the characters, or events, in the story exhibit this theme? What symbols (the vacant lot, the church, etc.) point to a theme of abandonment? What is the significance of the novel's title to this theme?
  11.   Describe Johnny's growth throughout the story. What events contribute to his maturity and change the way he looks at life?
  12.  Discuss the relationships between the Curtis brothers. What is Ponyboy's relationship with Darry like? With Soda? How do these relationships change throughout the novel? What events change these relationships, and how?
  13. Describe the different characters' beliefs about violence. What events shape or change their view of violence? Do they think it's a necessary evil?
  14. Explain how The Outsiders can be considered a "coming of age" story. How do the main characters mature?
  15. What message is implied at the end of the novel? Is the story intended to inspire hope? Why or why not?
  16. Describe how the characters in the novel are united by a sense of belonging or wanting to belong.
  17.  Write a critical analysis of the Robert Frost poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay" as it relates to The Outsiders.
  18. Compare The Outsiders to a similar rivalry story, such as On The Sidewalk Bleeding. Discuss how violence and identity that arise between the groups are handled in each story.
  19. Analyze the plot elements of The Outsiders. Identify the plot summary for the story, major events, climax, and falling action.

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the theme of social and/or class division in the novel. Is the rivalry senseless? What motivates the rivalry between groups?

Essay Topic 2

What elements in the novel make the story more real? Discuss elements like point of view, characters, and how thematic elements like violence are handled.

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the significance of the title of the novel. Who is an "outsider" throughout the story, and what makes that person an "outsider"? What other interpretations of the title are there?

Essay Topic 4

Explain the similarities between the greasers and the Socs. How are they not really all that different from each other? Why does each group think the other is better off? What specific events or conversations in the novel indicate that the two groups have some things in common?

Essay Topic 5

Describe the setting of the novel. What time period is it, and...

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