I read the book and made notes, which you can see on my design practise blog, but I wanted to also research into the story some more to see if I can identify any other themes other than the ones I realised when reading the book and I also wanted to look at existing covers for the book as I know there have been different editions.
Here are some of the main points I found through my research, I selected points that I found particularly interesting or that I didn't know from reading the book.
- The book was first published in 1967 by Viking Press. Hinton was 15 when she started writing the novel
- The story in the book takes place in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1965, but it is never stated in the book
- A film adaptation was produced in 1983, and a little-known short-lived television series appeared in 1990, picking up where the movie left off.
- Ponyboy Curtis, the youngest member of the greasers, narrates the novel.
- Literary references occur throughout The Outsiders, helping us understand how the characters in the novel view themselves and those around them. Ponyboy first alludes to a work of literature in Chapter 1, when he compares himself to Pip from Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations. Ponyboy identifies with Pip because he, like Pip, is orphaned, impoverished, and struggling to make sense of the world.
- Two-Bit’s switchblade is his most prized possession and, in several ways, represents the disregard for authority for which greasers traditionally pride themselves.
- Conservative cultural values of the 1960s called for men to keep their hair short, and the greaser style is a clear transgression of this social convention. It is not only distinctive, but, as a physical characteristic, this hair is truly an organic part of the greaser persona.
Here is a list of the key characters in the story from the two gangs.
After researching into the themes and main points of the story/book I started to look at existing covers.
Many of these were quite old and so it was interesting to think about how I can make the cover more modern.
Edited photography, orange tones could be representing the fire or the sunset as these are two themes in the book.
The layout is very dated with the fading of the characters into each other, this used to be done a lot but I don't think it conveys anything about the story.
This is a more modern cover that focusses on the socs with the leather jacket representing them. The clean sans serif font and the use of black, red and the blue tone gives a more contemporary look. I do however think this lacks interest and I feel there is more that can be done with illustration.
This is another very dated cover and again red has been used which I think represents violence and possibly the fire.
This is the edition that I have and I think it isn't hugely dated but is also not very visually interesting, I think it is easy to use images of the characters on the cover but with my cover I want to communicate possible themes in the story or icons or even characteristics but I don't want to simply show the characters.
The photograph on this cover is taken from the film but I really don't want to refer to the film with my cover as I think this defeats the point, the film was produced after the book and I think when reading the reader should be able to come up with their own visual for the characters from the written descriptions rather than being influenced by this cover.