Apr 5, 2012

Young Adult Literature: The Class (Day 8)

"Teenagers are people! Let's start trying to treat them as people and see what happens."

Spoilers ahead for S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders.

This class flew by, there was so much conversation!

The first thing we discussed was the use of violence in the novel, and how it's a matter of performance. Ponyboy tries to seem relaxed when he isn't - he's nearly resigned to the violence in his life - and only truly panics when he thinks he's going to die. (It also contrasts beautifully with his more creative and innocent mind.)

We also discussed whether The Outsiders fell under the category of a bildungsroman or a kuntsleroman.

In some of the symbolism of the story, Ponyboy stays true to a bildungsroman - he passes out often, which can be interpreted as a subconscious attempt to protect his innocence.

But symbolically, Ponyboy can also fall under a kuntsleroman, especially with the whole "staying gold" bit. At Johnny's request, he does try to "stay gold" by preserving the moments in art (in his case, writing).

Or we can categorize it under both!

Then, of course, we talked about the theme of the novel - about how everybody (Socs and Greasers alike) are going through the same thing. Ponyboy always connects to others when he's hurt or feels like he's about to die. Take, for example, the moments as he's drowning - he thinks of Johnny - or the moments before the rumble - he thinks of the Socs. And how is this theme shown? Through the problems of bonding and knowing people! (Yeah, poor Ponyboy.)

That inadvertently led into a discussion on greasers v. hoods, in which I provide another chart...

And then we ran out of class time.

Next class, we switch off to one day of Go Ask Alice, and then we tragically mourn the day I missed the class on Weetzie Bat, which was apparently hilarious as nearly everybody hated it.

What a Note!: In my sidebar, I scribbled that Dally would be a good tribute in The Hunger Games.

Did you miss a class?:
(Day 1)
(Day 2)
(Day 3)
(Day 4)
(Day 5)
(Day 6)
(Day 7)


  1. After reading your review i am very tempted to read it for myself! The outsiders sounds very intriguing! Have you any other books you would recommend to a fellow bookworm? :)

  2. I feel like I missed out on a lot of the deeper stuff by reading it too early in eighth grade and I didn't even like it :P
    Thanks for the post :]

  3. Hm, not familiar with "kuntsleroman"... Would love to hear more about that and its significance in literature vs. significance in real life.

    Thanks as always for the summary, prof! ;)

  4. Man I would be so sad if I missed a day in this class!!


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