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The Outsiders

Oct 08, 1999 1116 Words
The Outsiders


"The Outsiders" by S. E Hinton is an early novel based on two waring juvenile gangs, divided by economical and social background, the lower East side Greasers and the upper West side Socs. The novel is set in 1966 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is a novel written in first person by a 14 year old Greaser, Ponyboy Curtis who allows us an insight into the lifestyles of these distinct worlds.

I chose the novel "The Outsiders" as a text for year 10 for the following reasons:

It is a novel which draws the reader in and allows the reader to understand a lifestyle alien to them. Even though the novel is set in 1966, it is a novel that's theme can be found in any society and time period. The student can relate to this novel as the narrator of the story is of their own age group and reflects many issues that they themselves may face.

The language of the text is easily understood as are the themes in the story. It contains themes that would interest a young mind, showing many students the seedier side of life. What it would be like to live under such circumstances in constant fear of their lives. It deals with gang warfare, alcohol, drugs, child abuse, murder, survival and growing up. These are areas that a pubescent teenager can easily lose themselves in. It forces the reader to realise that in many cases teenagers have no choice in what lifestyles that are born into in this case either becoming the rich kid or the kid from the wrong side of the tracks.

The novel has been incorporated into a Francis Ford Coppola's 1983 movie adaptation, starring many popular young actors of our time. The use of both text and movie creates a more vivid understanding and appreciation of the novel for there are no major variations between the two texts.

I believe "The Outsiders" is a relevant novel to study as in today's society the concept of violence is an ever present theme. It is a theme that dominates adolescents all over the world. As to survive in today's society many adolescents are faced with the turbulence of growing up in a volatile society and many face the prospect of dealing with some form violence or gang warfare or know of a friend who has.

I believe students would enjoy this novel because it is about "people roughly their own age, contemporary time, the obvious, but none the less potent, parental relationships, challenging authority, establishing ones own personality and future relationship with peers and sex" (Aidan Chambers, Booktalk, Bodley Head, London, 1985.)


This unit of work of 4-6 weeks is apart of the Junior Secondary English Program. It is designed as a series of lessons that involves student's language skills through written and oral tasks around a focus of interest. The aims of this unit are to look at what the teacher directs the student's learning towards.

1) Developing student's ability in understanding language and language issues through the areas of

- everyday communication

- personal expression

- literature

- media

2) Students must read the set novel by S.E Hinton

3) Students must view the set movie.

4) Students must complete 3 pieces of assessment (Explain in detail later) p.10

5) Recognise and understand relevant themes introduced by the unit of work.

6) Encourage development in creative and analytical writing.

7) Encourage small group work and peer encouragement.

8) Develop English language proficiency across the unit enabling them to develop listening and speaking by

- role play

- dramatised reading

- participation in group/class/individual discussion

- share personal writing

- analyse visual representative of the novel

- analyse and compare visual to written text

- analyse and compare to other texts of relevant themes

- encourage reading and writing effectively and clearly in a wide range of contexts

9) Use resources to stimulate their thought processes.

STUDENT'S OBJECTIVES - (What the students will achieve from the study of this unit). Students will be able to-

1) develop students enjoyment in the English language and language learning

2) Able to express understanding and recognise relevant themes found in the text and be able to relate these to life as well as developing an understanding of how context (including cultural context) shapes spoken, written and visual text.

3) express confidence in English

4) recognise, enjoy, broaden and exercise control over their oral language.

5) understand and relate the issues to a wide range of literature- written and visual genres, in relation to the relevant area being studied.

6) communicate a narrative account of their own writing in relationship to the unit of work.

7) deconstruct the set text and other relevant texts.

8) organise ideas and present them coherently, confidently and fluently.

TEACHERS AIMS- (What the teacher themselves hope to learn)

1) To recognise where each student is at.

2) To discover the weaknesses and strengths of individual students.

3) To recognise the individual's needs of each student.

4) To discover if the students have any learning difficulties or problems.

5) to realise a students personal background interferes with their academic learning.

OBJECTIVES OF THE TEACHER - (What the Teacher hopes to achieve.)

1)Encourage students to express individual initiative.

2)Help students achieve a greater learning ability.

3)Find appropriate help for students who have learning difficulties or problems.

4)Direct students to appropriate areas of help for those with family problems.


The class that this unit has been designed for is a mixed ability class. The unit of work allows for the incorporation of class/group and individual work. However, it is an area that could possess some problems as the set texts deals with social conflicts and violence - an early instance of gang warfare that in today's society extends to racial areas and genders. I intended to use a range of resources from many eras and cultures. As "The Outsiders" is a late 1960's version of gang warfare. I want to relate this to a more modern text such as the 1993 Romper Stomper an Australian film of neo-Nazism vs Asians or the film Boys in the Hood, Negro gang warfare in American in the 1990's. This might pose a problem if ethnicity or racial discrimination existed in the classroom.

Another obvious problem would be is if gangs existed in the mythical school, however both problems do not occur. The only problem to deal with is gender as females do not tend to dominate in gang warfare, they are considered as the prize of a gang or a reason to cause a war.

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