The Outsiders Still Resonates

Stay gold, Ponyboy.

Please, please, please, stay gold.

I fell in love with The Outsiders when we had to read it for ELA in 7th grade.

The next year the movie released.

I know that gorgeous cast had something to do with my love for the movie, but it definitely wasn’t the only reason to love the story.

This weekend a small neighborhood theater in Lawton, OK showed the film. DH asked if I wanted to go see it. It’s been years since I’ve seen the movie but I was on board right away.

As we sat and watched I realized the film is cheesy and silly and downright ridiculous and still so, so good.

The conflict between those who have and those who do not is as old as time itself. The desire to hold on to innocence, the theme of brotherhood, the way a split second choice can change everything, the way alcohol can cause people to make stupid choices, that you might think you know what you will do but you just don’t until you’re in the situation, that people who feel like they belong can hold on when it seems like there’s nothing to hold onto, that family isn’t always blood, that beach movies were cheesy but awesome too, that old Mustangs are still cool cars even when they’re driven by villains, that sometimes the villain is a hero, that the name Cherry Valance is still one of the best in literature. All of that is there in this story of social inequality written by a 15-year-old SE Hinton.

There’s more, of course.

But what really struck me as we left the theater and I wiped away tears was how I have always loved the movie and book despite it’s sad ending.

I write romance to deliver happy endings, and I mostly read romance because I know I will get that Happily Ever After.

The Outsiders is an awful, awful ending. But it’s the only ending for the story.

The entire audience knows at the end that even though Ponyboy is smart and strong, chances are he’ll always be a Greaser and the rich kids will always run Tulsa. You can change that out with any city in the US, and it is always, always unfair.

So what is it that makes you leave the theater feeling hope?

I think maybe it’s the idea that we know we can do better.

And we can. I hope.

Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.

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