Comparing books and films: The Outsiders

how faithful the movie is to the original story

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Combining perspectives tests by Tiemen Rapati 


For the unit Perspective and Prejudice, grade 8 English classes had learnt from the novel, The Outsiders to learn about how to see things in different perspectives. After reading the novel, the grade 8 watched the movie version of The OutsidersBoth of the versions were all written very well, but the movie version was still a little bit different from the original story.

In the movie, Darry is emphasized more. He’s thoughts, feelings, actions made us understand better in the movie because he seems to be as important as Ponyboy in the movie. However, Sodapop is not as emphasized as much in the movie compared to the novel. He didn’t even appeared a lot of time in the movie, so if anyone that has never read the novel but seen the movie, they will not know how close Ponyboy and Sodapop is. The reason is the novel is written in first-person protagonist(Ponyboy), so the readers will follow and know how Ponyboy’s thinks about other people better.

In addition, the motifs/symbols were shown very differently in each of the texts. In the movie, after escaping from the death of Bob, Johnny and Ponyboy had to cut their hair so the police will not notice them. Ponyboy’s new hair is not greasy anymore- gold and innocent. The golden colour represents the poem “Nothing Gold can Stay”. Although people “turn green” as they get older, but Ponyboy will always “stay gold”. In the novel, it uses several motifs/symbols. It describes Dally and Darry having icy, blue eyes. Ponyboy describes Dally and Darry like that because he is less comfortable with them-they are more fearless and invulnerable. Besides, it uses Two-bit’s switchblade as an example of a valuable possession towards the greasers. Another symbolism of the switchblade is when Dally took the switchblade from Two-bit to fight against the Socs in the rumble. At last, Two-bit loses the switchblade when Darry was caught by the police and died- it links to the loss of Darry. It shows the individual power that has come from the hatred of Socs.

The tone and mood are also shown differently. In the novel, the mood of the characters are not as emphasised because it is written in first person. We will only understand and feel how Ponyboy feels about a certain thing. The mood of the characters and the tone of the characters are shown better in the movie. We can hear their voice and see their emotion on their face. The colours might also show the mood of the characters.

The movie and the book all has disadvantages and advantages.

Which do you think is better?



4 thoughts on “Comparing books and films: The Outsiders

  1. I think the book is better

    I had the exact same idea in the first paragraph and completely agree with your synopsis of the characters. The symbolism was indeed different and I could clearly tell what was more important in the movie and in the book.Very well written and good information.

  2. You have organised your ideas well and discussed them in depth. I really liked how you added pieces of evidence to support your points, such as in the 2nd paragraph, you quoted: “Nothing Gold can stay”. Evidence used from the book/movie really supports your argument and is therefore very believable to the reader.

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