The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, is a remarkable book for a number of reasons. First of all, despite the fact that almost all the main characters are male, the book was written by a woman. A girl, actually. Susan Eloise Hinton was still in her teens when she wrote the novel, and when it was published in 1967 (when she was but a freshman in university) her publishers suggested that she use her initials instead of her full name on the book cover. They didn’t want the novel to be dismissed by critics, who would have undoubtedly found it implausible that a story about a gang of high school toughs was written by a female author.
The Outsiders is also noteworthy for it’s film adaptation, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring a whole slew of actors who were relatively unknown at the time of their casting but went on to become huge stars, including Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Ralph Macchio, Diane Lane, Matt Dillon, and C. Thomas Howell. Bravo to you, Janet Hirshenson, Casting Director*. You obviously have quite an eye for discerning up-and-coming young talent.
*Side note: I was just looking at Janet Hirshenson’s IMDB page and she is also listed as the casting director for Real Genius, among other things. Janet Hirshenson, you are officially my new hero. Here is a question for you though: what made you cast skateboarding legend Stacy Peralta in the role of the Shuttle Pilot in the opening scene of Real Genius? Not that I have a problem with this decision, it’s just that it’s so random. I mean, it’s such a small part — the scene is only a couple of minutes long, and I would understand if it was a star cameo, but you can’t even tell that it’s him. I have always wondered about it. Since you are such a master of your craft though perhaps it is insulting for me to even ask. You are clearly brilliant. Carry on.
Anyway, I’m not going to talk about the plot of the novel, or the characters, themes, or anything along those lines. We all studied this book in high school. We know the deal. Instead, I am going to share with you a game, inspired by The Outsiders. It is very straightforward. This one is called Greaser vs. Soc, and it’s similar to Flake vs. Straight. The rules are basically the same, except that instead of taking two people and considering their relationship with one another, you just choose an individual and try to determine whether they are a ‘Greaser’ or a ‘Soc’. I guarantee you that every single person you know falls into one category or the other. Some people are harder to determine than others, but deep down everyone is either a Soc or a Greaser. For example, I am a Soc. My husband is a Greaser, my brother is a Soc, Woogie’s pal is a Soc, and Woogie himself was obviously a Greaser.
Since you don’t know any of us, though, I will use the cast of Beverly Hills, 90210 again to illustrate:
- Brandon – Soc (and a hugely annoying one at that)
- Brenda – Greaser
- Dylan – Greaser
- Kelly – Greaser
- Donna – Soc
- David Silver – Soc
- Steve – Greaser
- Cindy Walsh – Soc
- Jim Walsh – Greaser
- Valerie Malone (the Walshs’ slutty family friend) – Greaser
- Ray Pruit (Donna’s boyfriend who played guitar & beat her) – Greaser
- Jack McKay (Dylan’s shady dad, fake murdered by the mob) – Greaser
- Antonia Marchette (Dylan’s wife for one day, actually murdered by the mob) – Soc
- Emily Valentine (stalker, drug pusher, would-be arsonist) – wanted so badly to be a Soc, but was inherently just a straight up Greaser