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Revised by Trudy Mothus



Module 1 Novel The Outsiders marks
Module 2 Poetry    
Module 3 Short Stories Sightlines 8  
Module 4 Independent Novel Check the list of novels below in module 4  
Module 5 Media Resourcelines 7/8  





The Outsiders

outsiders cover


Assignment 1.1

It is always good to do a bit of pre-reading research to find out some information about a book. Before beginning your reading of The Outsiders, use Wikipedia or Google to find some information about the setting of the book and the author, Susan Eloise Hinton. What was the social and political background to the writing of The Outsiders? In other words, what was going on in North America at the time? You may also find it interesting to ask relatives like grandparents or older friends of the family to show you some photos of the 1960s. And, who was Susan Eloise Hinton? What made her an interesting author of this book? You will use some of this information in Assignment 1.5 as well so it is good to look ahead. (Notice I have put the title of the novel in italics: that is what you are supposed to do with titles.)

In a novel, the first few chapters introduce the setting, the characters, and the problem or conflict.

You usually find out about the setting of a novel in the first chapter and the first paragraph. The setting will support what happens in the novel. For example, if The Outsiders were set inside the hallways of a school, rather than a city ghetto, the possible characters, conflicts, and resulting actions included in the novel would likely change. You would have to think about including a school vice-principal, responsible for discipline, for instance. It is not likely school administration would not know about a fight in the hallways and so they would have to be written into the novel. The Outsiders is written the way it is because of where and when it is set. What would change in the novel if the setting were shifted to 2011 and to your town's streets?

Introducing all the characters in a novel may take 2 or 3 chapters. Notice all the Greaser characters in The Outsiders are introduced in chapter 1. You are introduced to some of the Soc's in chapter 2. A novel will have both major and minor characters. You can usually tell a character is a minor one because you could delete them from the novel and nothing much would change. You would have a hard time deleting a major character from a novel because they are so involved in the action. For example, ask yourself if Dally is really necessary to the action or could the gun he provides have been gotten somewhere else?

The problem or conflict also occurs early in a novel or you would likely not be interested in reading much after chapter 1 and you would throw the book down. Since many people like reading about or watching fights this book will likely interest you. In The Outsiders the problems or conflicts occur both between people, for example the Soc's and the Greasers or Ponyboy and Darry, and within people, for example, Ponyboy's inner struggle with how to act in certain situations. A more subtle conflict occurs between people and their environment or the socio-political situation of the 1960s.

So your interest, captured by chapters 1 - 3, will determine whether you will read the rest of the book.

Part  A:  Chapter 1, 2 and 3 Questions and Vocabulary

When vocabulary is given, please define it, and then use each word in an original sentence. Use the value of the marks given to the question to decide how many sentences you should write. So, two marks = about 2 sentences.

Chapter 1(18 marks)

  1. Describe  4 of  the main characters and their relationship with one another. Write each description in about a 250-word paragraph or on one page double-spaced type (10 marks). See the description or character sketch example of Cherry Valance that I have included below.
  2. Who are the Socs?  Who are the Greasers?  (2 marks)
  3. How do Ponyboy’s relationships with Darry and Sodapop differ?  (2 marks)
  4. Why is the ‘gang’ important to Johnny? (2 marks)
  5. Do you think that Darry loves Ponyboy?  Why does he treat Ponyboy the way he does? (2 marks)


A paragraph is a bunch of sentences (usually 5 - 10) that all talk about the same thing. For example if I write a paragraph about Cherry Valance and suddenly drop one in about my mother I have to get rid of it because it does not belong. Every paragraph has three parts: a topic sentence, details or evidence, and a concluding or transition sentence.

Notice, since I am writing a paragraph, I begin with a topic sentence (the first sentence about Cherry Valance) to introduce who I will be discussing. I have also introduced a thesis in the first sentence -- that she is interesting. A thesis expresses and opinion to which you could say: that's a Blasted Stupid idea! I fill in lots of details in the middle of the paragraph (not just physical description but also information about personality and evidence of behaviour). Then I close with a concluding sentence or question (because I wonder how a girl character would have told the story).


Cherry Valance is one of the interesting characters in The Outsiders. She has red hair which makes one think of a hot-headed temperamental person but I don't think she is. Cherry Valance is the girlfriend of Bob, one of the Soc's. Even though she is Bob's girlfriend she becomes interested in talking with Ponyboy. This shows she has an independent, curious spirit and she is a person who is interested in talking to different people. They talk about sunsets that can be seen from their respective houses. This shows she is not just a shallow person but has some deep thoughts about life and other people's perspectives on life. But, she is also concerned about all the gang fighting and tries to stop a fight when she realizes Bob is drunk and looking for a fight by going home with Bob even though she is very angry and disgusted by Bob. She has a sense of responsibility for others and making sure others don't get hurt. Interestingly, Cherry is also very interested in Dally, the wild guy. This, along with her relationship with Bob, shows she might have a wild streak and that she is not very happy with a quiet life. Maybe this is explained by the red hair. It would be interesting to read this novel written from the point of view of Cherry Valance rather than Ponyboy. How would Cherry begin the novel (not coming out of a moviehouse, I think) and how would she explain herself and all the events?


A THESIS: a strong opinion that someone else could agree with or reject.
Example: No kids should be allowed to drive before the age of 25.
And I hear you say >>>>> ???


Chapter 2 (16 marks)

  1. Find the meaning for the following words in this chapter, and write an original sentence using each word. (2 marks each)

    a.  incredulous (p. 24) 
    b.  vaguely (p. 33) 
    c.  nonchalantly (p. 25) 

  2. Who is the fuzz? (1 mark)
  3. Are the names Ponyboy and Sodapop nicknames?  Explain.  (2 marks)
  4. Who are Cherry and Marcia? (2 marks)
  5. Why doesn’t Ponyboy like referring to Sodapop as a dropout? (2 marks)
  6. What is “a weed” slang for in 1967? (1 mark)
  7. Why does Dally look sick now?  p. 33 (2 marks)

Chapter 3 (22 marks)

  1. Find the meaning for the following words in this chapter, and write an original sentence using each word. (2 marks each)

    a.    aloof (p. 38) 
    b.    impersonally (p. 38) 
    c.    ornery (p. 39) 
    d.    resignedly (p. 44)

  2. What does Cherry explain as the difference between the  Soc's and the Greasers? (2 marks)
  3. What does Ponyboy mean on p. 39 when he says “Johnny and I understood each other without saying anything”?  Have you ever had a relationship with someone who you understood, or who understood you, without having to say anything?
    (4 marks)
  4. When and how did Ponyboy’s parents die? (2 marks)
  5. What happens when Ponyboy comes home after curfew? (2 marks)
  6. Why does Johnny like it better when his father is hitting him? (2 marks)
  7. At the end of the chapter, how does the author foreshadow that bad things are to come? (Google "foreshadowing" if you don't know what this literary element means) (2 marks)


Part B:  Know the Characters (40 marks)

Producers of movies take some time to find the right person to play roles in the movies they are producing although sometimes the actor choice seems to be obvious. The movie version of The Outsiders is now very old and you have been asked to produce a modern version with modern actors. You must make recommendations to the director about who you want to play the major roles.

Now that you have read the first three chapters, and completed some character analysis in Part A above, write notes on each main character mentioned and their relationship to each other. Then, take the information you have gathered and make a “cast” sheet of 4 of the main characters. Add a row for each character that you list. See the example below.

First, write the name of a character and his or her information in the first column.

Second, put the name of the celebrity to play the character in the second column. Write a comment about why you think he would be good to play the role of your characer. What qualities can this actor portray?

Third, glue a picture of a celebrity (find a picture on the internet or in a magazine and cut and paste it or scan it in) in the third column.

Fourth, write the message that identifies the character in the last column. 



Name of Character

Name of Celebrity

Picture of Celebrity

Message that Identifies the Character

Ponyboy Curtis

14 years old

small but tough/tuff

young but also intelligent

Matt Damon

is capable of portraying a cold greaser personality

his hair in the photo makes me think of a greaser

has played a similar role in .....

matt damon

The youngest of the three brothers and of the group. He’s the main character in the story. He’s not into fighting. He’s a “greaser’. He’s short, has long light brown hair with green-gray eyes. He likes to read and go to the movies. He doesn’t “use his head”, which means he doesn’t think. Both his parents are dead.

Now you pick 4










Submit this complete assignment, with a comment marking sheet, attached.


Assignment 1.2

Part A:  Chapters 4, 5, and 6 Questions and Vocabulary

Chapter 4 (12 marks)

  1. Define the following vocabulary and write an original sentence for each of the words. (2 marks each)

    a. Ruefully (p. 60) 

    b. Hermit (p. 65)

    c. Premonition (p. 67)

  2. What does Ponyboy mean when he says the Socs were “reeling pickled”? (p. 54) (2 marks)
  3. What major event happens in this chapter? (2 marks)
  4. What would your advice be to Johnny and Ponyboy if they’d come to you for help instead of Dally?  Explain.  (2 marks)

Chapter 5 (26 marks)

  1. Define the following vocabulary and write an original sentence for each of the words. (2 marks each)
  2. a. Reluctantly (p. 71

    b. Sullen (p. 73)

    c. Eluded (p. 78)

    d. Imploringly (p. 72)

    e. Gallant (p. 76) 

    f. Indignant (p. 80) 

  3. What does Ponyboy mean when he says, “I was supposed to be the deep one.”? (p. 75) (2 marks)
  4. Why does Johnny think Dally is a hero? (p. 76)  Do you think Dally is a hero based on what he did?  Explain.  (3 marks)
  5. Why does Pony realize he does not like Dally?  Can you explain what he means by this? (2 marks)
  6. Examine Robert Frost’s poem, Nothing Gold Can Stay.  You may have to look up some words such as "hue" in an online dictionary. There is also a literary device in this poem called an allusion. A writer assumes you are an educated person and will know to what he is alluding when he mentions the word, in this case, "Eden". You might want to Google this allusion and find out to what it refers (in case you don't know) so that you can do a better job of interpreting the poem. Now, write a paragraph telling, in your own words, what you think the poem is saying.  Then, in another couple of sentences tell how the poem might apply to the characters in the novel? (4 marks)



Remember, a paragraph is structured like a sandwich: topic sentence, details/evidence, concluding sentence to sum up your topic sentence.

If I were to write the topic sentence I might begin like this: I think Robert Frost talks about a depressing reality of life in his poem Nothing Gold Can Stay.

I would fill in my interpretation of the poem in the middle.

I might conclude with: I think Robert Frost must have been quite depressed when he wrote this poem.

Then I would add a few more sentences about how what Robert Frost talks about in the poem is played out in the novel The Outsiders. I would also ask if there is any possibility of hope by the end of the novel. Was Robert Frost wrong to be depressed?


Nothing Gold Can Stay

     by Robert Frost.

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

 Chapter 6 (13 marks)

  1. Do you think Dally’s parents have influenced the way he is? Explain. (3 marks)
  2. Why does Dally not want Johnny to turn himself in? (2 marks)
  3. What “other side” of Dallas is revealed in this chapter? (2 marks)
  4. In your mind, do the three boys prove themselves to be heroes? Explain. (4 marks)
  5. Why do you think Johnny was not scared, despite the obvious danger? (p. 92) (2 marks)

Part B - Wanted Poster (20 marks)

For this assignment, you may want to Google "wanted poster" to look at some ideas. Notice the various elements involved in a wanted poster.  There are certain things that are included:  personal descriptors, information on the latest location of the person -- and sometimes even a reward is offered. 

  • Create a wanted poster for Ponyboy or Johnny.
  • include a drawing of the boy,
  • a description and
  • the reason for which they are wanted.

If you have a scanner, scan the project and send it in for marking.  If not, send it in by snailmail.  Please remember, your drawing should resemble a police drawing. See the examples below.

wanted by the fbi


Student Example

student wanted poster

Part C - Interview with Main Character (10 marks)

I hope you have had the opportunity to watch some interviews of famous people by famous interviewers. You see people being interviewed on the news, on talk shows like Oprah, or entertainment shows like Entertainment Tonight. Watch a few of these in the next couple of days to get into the interviewer frame of mind. Then, create an interview with one of the characters in the novel.

Think of at least 15 questions that you could ask the character. Then answer as the character would answer. The interview should be able to convey the character's mannerisms, beliefs, and speech pattern. The responses should be thorough as well. 

Then record your interview. You might think about using different voices or ask someone else to be the interviewer while you play the role of the character you have selected to interview. Since each question might take half a minute to ask and get a detailed response to, the interview should be 5-7 minutes in length. Read your interview out loud, and time yourself to make sure it is long enough. 

If you still own a tape recorder, you can tape a recording and snailmail it in. If you have a newish computer you will likely be able to record your interview on the computer. You may need an external microphone (called a peripheral) with an older computer. The kind you find in kids' computer toys work well. To record on your computer go to:

Start > Accessories > Entertainment > Sound Recording > Record > Save file > Burn to CD or email.



By T.S. and M.W. Bob:

Good afternoon this is Bob Mackenzie live at Channel 4 News. Today, updates on killer teacher who attacks children and new pot soil to improve growth of vegetables by 50%, but first, our live interview with Ponyboy Curtis, a witness of the Bob Sheldon murder. Now let’s go over to Bill Johnson live in the interviewing room.

Bill:  (He runs over to a different desk) Thanks Bob. Now let’s get to the story. So

Pony, if I can call you that?

Pony: Sure I don’t mind.

Bill: Thanks. So I understand that you were there the night of the Bob Shelden murder. Is that correct?

Pony: Yes, I was there that night.

Bill: Do you think you could tell us a little bit about that?

Pony: Yeah I guess so, what do you want know?

Please Note:   This example interview is not long enough to meet the assignment requirements. 


Submit this complete assignment, with a comment marking sheet, attached.


Assignment 1.3 

Part A  Chapter 7, 8 and 9 Questions and Vocabulary

Chapter 7 (12 marks)

  1. Explain what Ponyboy means when he says Soda “reminds me of a colt”? (p. 101) (2 marks)
  2. What condition is Johnny in after the fire? (2 marks)
  3. Why would being crippled be worse for Johnny than someone else? (2 marks)
  4. Why would Two-Bit think that Johnny, Dally and Ponyboy were heroes all along? (2 marks)
  5. What was Bob’s ‘real’ problem, according to Randy? (p. 116) (2 marks)
  6. Why did Pony think it was better to see Socs as “just guys”? (p. 118) (2 marks)

Chapter 8 (12 marks)

  1. How does what the doctor says on page 119 foreshadow Johnny’s condition? (2 marks)
  2. “We needed Johnny as much as he needed the gang.  And for the same reason.” (p. 121).  What do you think Ponyboy means, and what is the reason? (4 marks)
  3. What does Ponyboy mean (p. 123) when he says, “we could get along without anyone but Johnny”? ( 2 marks)
  4. If Darry didn’t have Soda and Ponyboy, why would he be a Soc? (2 marks)
  5. What does Cherry mean when she says Bob “wasn’t just anyone” (p. 129)? (2 marks)

Chapter 9 (9 marks)

  1. On the bottom of p. 133, when Ponyboy asks what kind of a world it is, what comment is he making on how society judges people? (3 marks)
  2. Why do the boys fight?  Why is Ponyboy different? (2 marks)
  3. What is the difference between Tim Sheppard’s gang and Ponyboy’s? Explain how Ponyboy thinks this difference might give his group the upper hand? (2 marks)
  4. What do you think Johnny’s last words to Ponyboy mean? (2 marks)


Part B - What is a Hero(ine)? (15 marks)

  1. Write a one-page double-spaced typed or 250 words paragraph on the following questions.
  2. What is a hero(ine)? Your answer to this is actually your thesis because this is your opinion to which someone else could disagree.
  3. Find the definition of a hero(ine) and record the information. Record the source for your information.
  4. Look at and list examples of people who have been called heroes in the news.
  5. Are they heroes or are they just doing their jobs?
  6. In your opinion, are any of the characters in The Outsiders heroes? Why or why not? Be sure to provide proof (examples from the novel) to support your ideas.
  7. Your paragraph should have an introduction and a conclusion. You might begin like the example below.



I think a hero(ine) is a special person who .... The on line dictionary .... defines a hero as ..... . Wikipedia defines a hero as ... and suggests that some modern day heroes include .... . I think this definition is good/bad because ... I saw a person on TV who I think is a hero because ... .

A person might question whether some characters in The Outsiders are also heroes. For example, .... because .... . (Give lots of details and evidence here.)

In conclusion .... .



Submit this complete assignment, with a comment marking sheet, attached.


Assignment 1.4

Part A:  Chapter 10, 11, and 12 Questions and Vocabulary

Chapter 10 (8 marks)

  1. Define the following vocabulary and write an original sentence for each of the words. (2 marks each)

    a. Indignantly (p. 159) 
  2. How does Ponyboy’s dreaming, or lying to himself, finally work in this chapter? ( 2 marks)
  3. Why was Johnny’s dying so difficult for Dally to handle? ( 2 marks)
  4. Why do you think Dally would have wanted to die? (2 marks)

Chapter 11 (6 marks)

  1. Define the following vocabulary and write an original sentence for each of the words. (2 marks each)

    a. Acquitted (p. 168)
  2.  Explain why Ponyboy might rather have someones' hate rather than pity (p. 162) (2 marks)?
  3. What do you think is going on with Ponyboy when he says, “Johnny didn’t have anything to do with Bob getting killed”? (p. 166) ( 2 marks)

Chapter 12 (12 marks)

  1. What ‘circumstances’ is Ponyboy’s teacher referring to?  What "circumstances" does Ponyboy think his teacher is referring to? ( 2   marks)
  2. Why doesn’t Ponyboy feel scared when the Socs approach him and he threatens them with a broken bottle? (p. 170-171).  How is this a dramatic change from the Ponyboy we have seen up to this point? (4 marks)
  3. What does Darry mean when he says, “you don’t just stop living because you lose someone”? (p. 173) ( 2 marks)
  4. What do we learn was so special about Johnny (p. 178)? ( 2 marks)
  5. What does Ponyboy end up doing for his English assignment? ( 2 marks)

Part B:  Timeline

Create a timeline that will be presented as a "synopsis" (brief summary) of events from each chapter written on a line with a small illustration. You can do this via computer using clipart or Google Images, or by hand, and send it in by email or snailmail. 

* Remember to add a short summary and a picture to the timeline for EACH chapter.


student time line

Submit this complete assignment, with a comment marking sheet, attached.

Assignment 1.5:  The Sixties – Research Project

Remember you were asked to look up some information about the time in which the novel was written? I hope you found some information that will now help you with this assignment. What were the 1960’s really like?  Take a look at the following websites and find three websites of your own.


Part A: The 1960s – Note Taking Chart (35 marks)

List the urls of three websites by copying (Control C) and pasting (Control V) the addresses (3 marks)

Make notes in the chart below.  Remember – notes can be in point form or sometimes even just a word or two to help you remember ideas. (32 marks: 3 marks for 3 ideas in each section of notes and 1 mark each for drawings/pictures/clip art)

Pictures and Drawings



3 and so on



Movies The Outsiders









Famous People  









Important Events  




Part B: Short Essay

Once you have taken your notes, write a 500 word (or 2-page typed, double-spaced) essay response telling what the 1960s were like and whether or not you would like to have grown up in the 1960s. Be sure to include your sources for your information by making a reference list. 

A short essay is constructed in the same way as a paragraph but just longer. You will include an introduction of several sentences (a thesis sentence, a roadmap sentence, and a purpose sentence), middle paragraph(s) that explain the information you have found about what you said you would talk about in your roadmap sentence, and a concluding paragraph of several sentences. Let me show you how.



Thesis sentence, Roadmap sentence: (topic 1, topic 2, topic 3 and so on); Purpose sentence.

Paragraph about topic 1.

Paragraph about topic 2.

Paragraph about topic 3. and so on.





(First the thesis sentence) My grandmother says one of the most interesting times in which to live was the 1960's. She says things were wild even though everybody started to talk about peace! I have a hard time seeing my grandmother as a wild hippie. (Then a roadmap/outline sentence explaining what I will talk about in the following paragraphs) In this essay I will explain about the 1960's by telling you about fashions, movies, music, books, famous people, politics, science, and important events. (Then a purpose for writing sentence) If you ask other people in the family about the 1960s you might get a very different picture about granny or grandpa, just like I did about mine!

(P1.) Let me start by showing you and describing the photos of the fashions my grandparents wore. You might not believe this!


(P2.) If fashion is not of interest to you, the music might be. Rock and Roll came into its own in the 1960s.


(P3.) A lot of people today don't like to read much but The Outsiders is still liked by many Grade 8 students. There were a few more good books written in the 1960s.

And so on.

In conclusion you can see that things were very different 50 years ago although we have had some fashions come back into vogue and we are wearing some retro items like bell bottoms. Even toasters are retro. And some movies from the times are being remade. I think The Outsiders might be a good remake option.

Be sure to write a reference list on a separate page of all your sources titled REFERENCE LIST.

Submit this complete assignment, with a comment marking sheet, attached.