September 23, 2017

SAT Vocabulary: The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)

The Outsiders is consistently among my students' favorite books. On the surface, it's a book about gang warfare, a world that piques the imaginations of this generation's middle-class kids.

S.E. Hinton's deeper message, that members of rival gangs are more similar than they think, will resonate broadly with students that feel mistreated or left out of cliques at school. (The last time I checked, that's almost every kid.)

She successfully conveys the feeling of being in an inner circle with Johnny and Sodapop, being on the fringes of the larger social group represented by Darry and Dally, and being ostracized by a rival group (the Socs).

All the main character, Ponyboy, wants to do at the beginning of the story is run away from it all, live a simple life, and invite the people he gets along with to join him. By the end, he begins to understand each of the characters better, even the Socs, and can picture himself as one someday.

Perhaps most amazingly, Hinton wrote this book when she was still in high school, and her writing style still resonates with middle and high schoolers. Her great gift to us is not only the book's message, but also the captivating way that she delivers it.

Hinton, S.E. The Outsiders. Penguin, 2008.

SAT Vocabulary Words in The Outsiders

Stocky(of a person) broad and sturdily built.
"He was about six feet tall, stocky in build, and very proud of his long rusty-colored sideburns." (p. 9)

Character: an interesting or amusing individual.
"If I had to pick the real character of the gang, it would be Dallas Winston - Dally." (p. 10)

Broada woman.
"That little broad was two-timin' me again while I was in jail." (p. 14)

Fuzzthe police.
"We left when the switchblades came out, because the cops would be coming soon and nobody in his right mind wants to be around when the fuzz show." (p. 20)

Hoodluma person who engages in crime and violence; a hooligan or gangster.
" 'Dropout' made me think of some poor dumb-looking hoodlum wandering the streets breaking out street lights." (p. 23)

Stricken(of a face or look) showing great distress.
"He looked up and across the field with a stricken look on his face." (p. 32)

Crocked: drunk.
"And it had been funny, because Two-Bit was half-crocked when he gave me the lecture, and he told me some stories that made me want to crawl under the floor or something." (p. 35)

Buckskina horse of a grayish-yellow color.
Sassylively, bold, and full of spirit; cheeky.
Cheekyimpudent or irreverent, typically in an endearing or amusing way.
Ornerybad-tempered and combative. Stubborn.
"Mickey Mouse was a dark-gold buckskin, sassy and ornery, not much more than a colt." (p. 39)

Dumbfound: greatly astonish or amaze.
"Two-Bit and Johnny were staring at me now. "No...." Two-Bit said, dumbfounded. "No, Ponyboy, that ain't right... you got it wrong..." (p. 42)

Madrasa strong, fine-textured cotton fabric, typically patterned with colorful stripes or checks.
"One had on a white shirt and a madras ski jacket, and the other a light-yellow shirt and a wine-colored sweater." (p. 44)

Soused: drunk.
"Marcia's number. Probably a phony one, too. I must have been outa my mind to ask for it. I think I'm a little soused." (p. 46)

Snookera game played with cues on a billiard table in which the players use a cue ball (white) to pocket the other balls (fifteen red and six colored) in a set order.
"Gonna play a little snooker and hunt up a poker game." (p, 47)

Curan aggressive dog or one that is in poor condition, especially a mongrel.
"I would have a yeller cur dog." (p. 48)

"I was under strict orders from both Darry and Soda not to get caught within ten miles of his place, which was dandy with me." (p. 58)

Ruefulexpressing sorrow or regret, especially when in a slightly humorous way.
" 'Me and Shepard had a run-in and I cracked some ribs. I just needed a place to lay over.' He rubbed his side ruefully." (p. 60)

Bumof poor quality; bad or wrong.
"That bum haircut made my ears stick out." (p. 104)

Swiga large draft of drink.
"He took a swig of chocolate milk out of the container." (p. 109)

Billy boata male goat.
Bumtravel, with no particular purpose or destination.
"And if you had the sense of a billy goat you'd try to help around your place instead of bumming around." (p. 114)

Jazzenthusiastic or lively talk, especially when considered exaggerated or insincere.
Rumblea street fight between gangs or large groups.
" 'You know the rules. No jazz before the rumble,' he said to the Socs." (p. 115)

Stiffa fellow; an ordinary person.
"Greasers will still be greasers and Socs will still be Socs. Sometimes I think it's the ones in the middle that are really the lucky stiffs." (p. 117)

Juiced: drunk.
"And don't get juiced up, because the doc won't let us see you no more if you do." (p. 122)

Cheapdeserving of contempt.
Hardnot showing sympathy or affection; strict.
"Johnnycake's eyes were fearful and sensitive; hers were cheap and hard." (p. 123)

Drylyin a matter-of-fact or ironically humorous way.
" 'I''m okay'.... 'Hate to tell you this, kiddo,' the guy said dryly, 'but you're bleedin' all over my car seats." (p. 151)

Starta sudden movement of surprise or alarm.
"My stomach gave a violent start and turned into a hunk of ice." (p. 151)

Lousespoil or ruin something.
"I was lousing up my schoolwork." (p. 169)


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