Choose one of the essay topics below to write an organized and well thought out essay

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The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton) – Essay Topics

Choose one of the essay topics below to write an organized and well thought out essay.


Topic #1 – “Sixteen years on the streets and you can learn a lot. But all the wrong things, not the things you want to learn.” (pg.122) Discuss this quotation from the novel, and how it applies to each of the boy’s lives. What things did they learn? What things might they have liked to learn? Support your ideas with what you know about the character through examples from the novel.

Topic #2 – Write an essay explaining how expectations played a role in the lives of the Socs and the Greasers. How did external and internal expectations influence each group’s actions in the novel?

Topic #3 – Write an essay explaining why you believe each of the ‘main’ Greasers could be considered a hero. Include your own definition of hero in the essay, and be sure to explain how each boy, in his own way, meets your definition. Remember to support your ideas with examples from the novel.

Topic #4 – Write an essay explaining how the Socs were more of a disgrace and menace to society than the Greasers. Look at how society viewed and treated the two groups. Examine the characteristics of each group, their action, and their choices each made. Be sure to support your ideas with examples from the novel.

Your essay must include 5 paragraphs:

  1. Your thesis statement, main idea, and any other introductory comments you would like to make (Paragraph #1)

  1. At least 3 strong examples of evidence and their explanations (why) in order to support your thesis/main idea. Extra comments may be added as well to help support your proof if needed. Use a separate paragraph for each proof. (Paragraphs #2, #3, & #4)

  1. A concluding statement that restates the thesis/main idea, and sums up your thoughts. (Paragraph #5)


I think statements…

I feel statements…

In my opinion, statements…

*When writing an essay, state things emphatically*

Introduce Your Topic – Paragraph #1

The first paragraph of your essay will introduce your topic and provide direction for the entire essay. The introduction should discuss your main idea, or what the essay is about, and then state your thesis and points or arguments that support your thesis.

The introduction also sets the tone for your essay, and you want to grab the reader’s attention with interest and clarity. To capture the reader’s attention, you can make a challenging claim about the topic or present some surprising (but factual) information.

Write the Body of the Essay – Paragraphs #2, #3 and #4

The body of the essay provides details for the points in your introductory paragraph that support your thesis. Take the points you listed in your introduction and discuss each in one body paragraph. First, write a topic sentence that summarizes your point then explain why you feel the topic sentence is true. Finally, support your argument with evidence such as facts, quotes, examples and statistics.

The order you put your paragraphs in can be done in a few ways (these are just two suggestions):

  • Chronologically (according to the order the events happen in the novel/story)

  • Putting your second strongest point first, then your weakest point, followed by your most convincing point or piece of evidence last

Present Your Conclusion – Paragraph #5

The conclusion summarizes the essay and gives the reader closure. In three or four concise sentences, you should reiterate your thesis and review the main points of the body of the essay. Just be sure not to restate your previous words exactly. You can even briefly describe your opinion of the topic. Your final sentence should uphold your main idea in a clear and compelling manner.

Just remember to tackle each step one at a time. Some people do better when they work backwards from the conclusion. Write a rough draft of your essay first – don’t try to get it perfect the first time through. After you finish your rough draft, proofread it thoroughly and revise until you have a strong, informative essay.

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