The Outsiders Partner Debate
It’s no secret that the Greasers and the Soc’s in S.E. Hinton’s novel, The Outsiders, don’t like
each other. And it’s no secret that their resentment of each other leads to serious problems. But who’s
to blame for these problems?
1) In a group of two, you will be assigned to be a greaser or a soc. Then, you come up with arguments that support
the opinions in either “Position A” or “Position B” below. For the purpose of the debate, it is not important
whether you actually agree with the position you will be asked to defend.
2) You will then use the book The Outsiders to come up with evidence for your arguments. Each argument should
be 4-5 sentences in length. Your arguments should be reasonable, using the factual information you’ve been able
to get from the book. Name calling, personal attacks, yelling, and the like have no place in this debate.
3) On debate day, you will be paired with a group from the opposite gang.
• I will choose 3 questions out of the 6 that you will use for the debate. I will not tell you until debate
day which 3 they will be.
• One group will read their argument first.
• The other group will then read their opposing argument.
• Then each pair will take 3-5 minutes to prepare a counterargument and then each pair will share the
counterargument, refuting specific points that the opposing group made in their original argument.
• You will be expected to listen carefully to your opponents’ arguments. Your responses to what they say
are important. If you don’t listen carefully, your responses may not be as good as they could be.
4) After the debate is complete, each group will evaluate themselves and the opposing group using a reflection
POSTION A POSITION B
The Greasers The Socials
Johnny was justified in killing Bob. Johnny was not justified in killing Bob
Johnny and Ponyboy should not have stayed and Johnny and Ponyboy should have stayed and taken the
taken the consequences for Bob’s death. consequences for Bob’s death
The Socials were responsible for starting the The Greasers were responsible for starting the
The Socials were responsible for causing Johnny’s The Socials were not responsible for causing
death. Johnny’s death.
Dally was not responsible for causing his own Dally was responsible for causing his own death.
The primary theme of The Outsiders is "true The primary theme of The Outsiders is "nothing
friends are friends forever." good lasts forever."
Adapted from the lesson originally created by Edgar Daniels, Smithtown Middle School
Sample Frame for Argument:
Your argument from page 1
Because (list reasons from the story that support the above opinion).
Example: We think that Johnny was justified in killing Bob because Bob was practically killing
Ponyboy. Ponyboy said that when he was under water he thought for sure he was dead and even
blacked out. Plus, Johnny remembered Bob and his infamous rings. Bob had brutally attacked Johnny
before so Johnny knew what Bob was capable of. Johnny gave Bob a chance the first time and he
knew Bob could be trusted the second time.
Sample Frame for Counterargument:
You say that
The opposing group’s argument
However (list some reasons why their opinion is “wrong” or “not as good” as yours and why your
opinion is better)
Example: You say that Johnny was not justified in killing Bob because he had been violent in
the past but you don’t really know Bob, do you? Can you really say you know a person after
having one encounter with him? Cherry Valance, Bob’s girlfriend, knew Bob better than anyone.
She admits that Bob has his dangerous side ,but she still loved him. This proves that Bob was
not an overly dangerous guy every second of his life. These two brief attacks were out of
character. Sadly, Bob was killed because of a lapse in judgment that was probably nothing
more than a cry for help.