Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Outsiders

Growing up in the 80's, I had heard of The Outsiders.  I've heard many adults say it was one of the best books they read in school.  I had never seen the movie nor read the book.  It was, however, one of the books I have to teach eighth grade.  True confession--I didn't LOVE it.  It was a fine read, but it didn't meet all the hype.  My eighth graders, despite my best effort to pump up this S.E. Hinton book, did not LOVE the book either. I had a few students that thought this was the best book they read all year (and a few read another Hinton novel for their independent novel study); overall, that was not the consensus of the class.

What went wrong?  One of my more out-spoken students couldn't reconcile the fact that Johnny had killed in self-defense.  He felt Johnny was a thug always getting in trouble and was even carrying a knife--"What did he think was going to happen?"  I tried to explain to this group of fairly naive, highly religious students that this was Johnny's reality.  His every day life was not pretty.  They just could not emphasize because of the violence.  Interesting.

I did show the movie the last two days of class.  The students were fairly engaged with the movie (and many laughed through the "primitive" filming techniques) despite the fact they were graduating the next morning.

I do think this book actually made their reading of the following book more enjoyable (see entry on Tears of a Tiger).  

Click HERE to visit S.E. Hinton's site.

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