The Outsiders — Point of View Analysis: Unreliable Narrator & Trial Testimonies

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Chomping at the Lit
Grade Levels
6th - 10th, Homeschool
Resource Type
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10 pages
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If your class is reading the novel The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton, you will want them to analyze the point of view in the story, to include: what makes an unreliable narrator and what is biased perspective.

In this lesson, students will complete the following:

  • Narrator Analysis: Students will analyze the narrator Ponyboy Curtis by considering his personality traits/ and characteristics. Answers included.
  • Point of View Perspective Challenge: Students will take a look back at ten scenes from the novel, considering what facts they were given by Ponyboy alone. They will then consider how these events would be different or told differently if they were to take on a different character's perspective. They will consider how other characters are feeling emotionally in these scenes or how they might feel in hypothetical situations.
  • The Trial Point of View Analysis: Students will analyze the trial/hearing that takes place in the novel. Ponyboy is on trial for the murder of Bob, but readers do not hear much about it. Ponyboy was currently in a state of delusion and didn't understand how the trial was unfolding. Students will write the testimonies of several characters as if they were him or her in court to either defend or defame Ponyboy.
  • Constructed Response: Students will learn the definition of an unreliable narrator and reasons why a narrator's perspective might be compromised. Then, students will write a constructed response that explains why Ponyboy could be considered an unreliable narrator using textual evidence. Possible answers included.
Total Pages
10 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
3 days
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot).
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama.
Analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of different characters or narrators in a text.
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 6–8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.


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