WORD LISTS

"The Outsiders," Vocabulary from Chapters 1-2

June 9, 2014
Two rival gangs in the 1960s populate S.E. Hinton's "The Outsiders." The gangs are separated along economic lines but the threat of violence is a presence in all their lives.

Learn these word lists for the novel: Chapters 1-2, Chapters 3-4, Chapters 5-6, Chapters 7-8, Chapters 9-10, Chapters 11-12, Author’s Note and Interview
consider
Or I could have gotten one of the gang to come along, one of the four boys Darry and Soda and I have grown up with and consider family.
conscious
I remembered Johnny—his face all cut up and bruised, and I remembered how he had cried when we found him, half- conscious, in the corner lot.
perspiration
I could feel my palms getting clammy and the perspiration running down my back.
suffocate
I could smell English Leather shaving lotion and stale tobacco, and I wondered foolishly if I would suffocate before they did anything.
sympathetic
His eyes are dark brown—lively, dancing, recklessly laughing eyes that can be gentle and sympathetic one moment and blazing with anger the next.
acquire
He was famous for shoplifting and his black-handled switchblade (which he couldn’t have acquired without his first talent), and he was always smarting off to the cops.
unfathomable
He liked fights, blondes, and for some unfathomable reason, school.
organized
A rarity is something unusual, often thought as valuable. This word almost makes an organized gang seem like something that Ponyboy wishes his neighborhood had. But he is actually somewhat of a loner who enjoys watching movies and reading books by himself. Any positive tone towards organized gangs would be connected to Dally.
In New York, Dally blew off steam in gang fights, but here, organized gangs are rarities—there are just small bunches of friends who stick together, and the warfare is between the social classes.
suspicious
He had a nervous, suspicious look in his eyes, and that beating he got from the Socs didn’t help matters.
surround
Lying beside Soda, staring at the wall, I kept remembering the faces of the Socs as they surrounded me, that blue madras shirt the blond was wearing, and I could still hear a thick voice: “Need a haircut, greaser?”
savvy
"Savvy" is used here as a question that means the same as "you dig?" As a noun, it means "common sense" and as an adjective, it means "having common sense." So a savvy person has savvy, savvy?
“Listen, kiddo, when Darry hollers at you ... he don’t mean nothin’. He’s just got more worries than somebody his age ought to. Don’t take him serious ... you dig, Pony? Don’t let him bug you. He’s really proud of you ’cause you’re so brainy. It’s just because you’re the baby—I mean, he loves you a lot. Savvy?”
appeal
Two-Bit or Steve or even Soda would have gone right along with him, just to see if they could embarrass the girls, but that kind of kicks just doesn’t appeal to me.
incredulous
She gave him an incredulous look; and then she threw her Coke in his face.
hesitation
If it had been me, or Two-Bit, or Soda or Steve, or anyone but Johnny, Dally would have flattened him without a moment’s hesitation.
rebellious
The adjective "rebellious" comes from the Latin verb "bellare" which means "to make war." Because Johnny is not rebellious, even though his parents make war on him, everyone in the gang takes extra care to make him feel like he's their beloved kid brother.
Living in those conditions might have turned someone else rebellious and bitter; it was killing Johnny.

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