1st Edition

The Outsiders Adolescent Tenderness and Staying Gold

By Ann M. Ciasullo Copyright 2023
    134 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume traces the unique trajectory of The Outsiders, from beloved book to beloved movie. Based on S.E. Hinton’s landmark novel, Coppola’s film adaptation tells the story of the Greasers, a gang of working-class boys yearning for security, love, and acceptance in a world ruled by their rival gang, the rich Socs.

    The Outsiders: Adolescent Tenderness and Staying Gold explores the cultural impact of Hinton’s book, the process by which Coppola made the film, the film’s melodramatic components, the marketing of the movie to a young female audience, and the nostalgia industry that has emerged around it in recent decades, thereby illuminating how The Outsiders stands apart from other teen films of the 1980s. In its depiction of the emotional rather than sexual lives of young men on film and its recognition of the desires of teen girls as an audience, The Outsiders distinguishes itself from the standard teen fare of the era. With seriousness and sincerity, Coppola’s film captures the essence of the oft-repeated, timeless message of the story: ‘Stay gold.’ This volume engages with a wide range of disciplinary approaches—film studies, gender studies, and literary and cultural studies—in order to distinguish The Outsiders as the significant contribution to youth culture that it was in the early 1980s and continues to be in the twenty-first century.

    The book fills a gap in existing scholarship on youth culture and is ideal for scholars, students, and teachers in youth cultures, young adult literature, film studies, cultural studies, and gender studies.

    Introduction: The 1980s, The Outsiders, and Me  1. The Life and Legacy of S.E. Hinton’s Novel  2. Francis Ford Coppola and The Outsiders: Famous Director Turned Camp Counselor  3. Form and Feeling in The Outsiders  4. ‘Matt, Ralph & Tom Will Make You Cry’: The Critics, the Fans, and the Reception of The Outsiders  5. Stay Gold, Ponyboy: Nostalgia, Fandom, and The Outsiders  Conclusion: The Legacy of The Outsiders


    Ann M. Ciasullo is professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA, USA. She has published essays on bromance films, the television series Mad Men, 1980s nostalgia on Netflix, and humor and feminism in MAD magazine. This is her first book.