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S.E. Hinton explains The Outsiders tragic ending: “I am a stone cold bitch”

Photo: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

If you’re an adult, there are probably a few things you half-remember from reading S.E. Hinton’s classic young-adult novel, The Outsiders, in middle school. You’ve definitely got the Greasers and the Socs. You’ve got Ponyboy, for sure. You’ve got the other guy (Johnny). You’ve got the other other guys (Darry, Dally, Sodapop, and Two-Bit)? There’s a fire and somebody gets stabbed. At some point a bunch of people die, and some of those people read Gone With The Wind and some Robert Frost to each other. If you were lucky, you possibly got to watch the Francis Ford Coppola movie version in class, but maybe not, because there’s definitely a bunch of badass cursing, and you see some underwear, too, right?

Well, it’s time to forget (or continue to forget) everything you know about The Outsiders, because author S.E. Hinton has revealed a fucked-up truth you need to hear. Yesterday, Hinton was minding her own business, commenting on cat videos on Twitter, when a reader asked why characters Johnny and Dally had to die. Hinton’s answer had nothing to do with illustrating the unnecessary and painful way class divides us, or the inevitable loss of childhood innocence. Instead, the real reason why these two beloved characters had to die has to do with Hinton herself:


Damn. Looks like Robert Frost was right: Nothing gold can stay, bitch.

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About the author

Gabe Worgaftik

Contributor, The A.V. Club.