Get your middle school students to write a comprehensive literary analysis essay after reading The Outsiders. All levels of students will shine with this assignment as they discuss author's theme, use of symbolism, and dynamic characterization. This assignment sheet is very detailed, so that both the gifted writer as well as the struggling writer will know exactly what to do. I used this assignment sheet as a guide for class discussion on all the themes and symbols of The Outsiders. The kids really enjoyed it; then they had no trouble writing about it the next day.