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The Outsiders Comprehension Questions

Instructor: Tammy Galloway

Tammy teaches business courses at the post-secondary and secondary level and has a master's of business administration in finance.

Test your students' knowledge of the characters, scenes, and plot points in ''The Outsiders'' with this collection of comprehension questions. Use the literary analysis questions to deepen discussion and understanding of the book's themes.

Questions About the Characters and Their Actions

  • Describe the Socs and the Greasers. Use at least three adjectives to describe each of them. Why do you believe gangs form? What actions should the government and communities take to prevent or minimize gangs? Are there any gangs in your community or school? If so, explain. Why do you believe they have formed or not formed in your area?
  • Are there any similarities between the Socs and Greasers? If so, explain.
  • List the main characters of the Greasers and Socs. Which person in each group was the toughest? Explain why using quotes from the book to support your answer.
  • Which character would have been considered a traitor if one of the gangs would have found out about the actions of the character? Do you agree with this person's actions? Why or why not?
  • What happens to the perpetrators after the church scene? If murder was committed in the form of self-defense, what should happen to the perpetrator?
  • Explain how the perpetrators also became heroes? If you were a district attorney, would you prosecute the perpetrators of the murder in the novel after their heroic actions? Why or why not?
  • Which character has a big brother as a guardian? What happened to their parents?
  • As it relates to the question above, do you believe the big brother is an appropriate guardian? Why or why not? Do you think an older sibling should raise younger siblings in the absence of parents? Can the older sibling provide the same tutelage as a parent? Explain.
  • After reading the book, do you think social workers should have removed the younger siblings from being raised by the older sibling? Why or why not?
  • Which characters are in the hospital? Who recuperates and who do not?
  • Many characters in this book are tough guys. However, many of them have a softer side. Name and describe the character who enjoys reading but hides the hobby from the gang.
  • As it relates to the character above, what happens to this character? What does he leave in the hospital for another person? Who was this person? Why?
  • What is suicide by cop? Who commits such an act? Why do you believe the person chose to die in this manner?
  • Choose a character from each gang and describe what you believed they learned from their experiences.
  • What happened at the end of the book to the main characters? Be specific.

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