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Amber
Mrs. Henry
ELA/Reading 3/ 5
12 December 2016
Psychological Criticism in S.E. Hintons The Outsiders
Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs consists of five levels: physiological needs, safety
needs, belongingness and love needs, esteem needs, and self actualization. These five levels are
broken into three sections: basic needs, psychological needs, and self-fulfillment needs. In the
book The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton there is a battle between greasers and Socs in the 1960s. The
greasers live on the bad side of town; The Socs reflect a perfect image many people. Abraham
Maslow's hierarchy of needs can be used to analyze Johnny and his behaviors in SE Hintons
The Outsiders.
The different levels of Maslow's hierarchy of needs break down Johnny psychological issues
and needs. The first section is basic needs which includes physiological needs and safety needs.
On the first level of the pyramid is physiological needs, or physical needs including food, water,
and shelter. Johnny had it awful rough at home (7). He has a home even if it is not ideal. On
the next level the pyramid is safety needs, the ability to feel safe in your life. Johnny does not
feel safe at home. He was the gangs pet, everyones kid brother. His father was always beating
him up, (14). He gets beaten at home, so he does not feel safe. He does however feel protected
in the gang. These are the first two levels of Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the basic
needs.

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The next section is psychological needs which includes belongingness and love needs and
esteem needs. The third level of the pyramid is of belongingness and love needs. At least you
got Soda. I ain't got nobody (47). Johnny feels he has nobody that loves him like Ponyboy has
Sodapop. He is however loved by the gang. If it hadn't been for the gang, Johnny never would
have known what love and affection are. The gang gives him the affection he does not get from
his family. On the fourth level of the pyramid is esteem needs, a feeling of pride and
accomplishment. Johnny feels accomplished with what he has done when he dies. I don't mind
dying now. It's worth it. It's worth saving those kids. Their lives are worth more than mine, they
have more to live for. Some of their parents came by to thank me and I know it was worth it
(154). Johnny feels the kids he saved have a better future than him and dying is worth saving
their lives. This is the second section of Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
Using Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs we can analyze why Johnny is who he and how
he get his needs met. The different levels of Maslow's hierarchy of needs breakdown Johnny's
psychological issues and needs. Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs has three groupings: basic
needs (physiological and safety needs), psychological needs (belongingness and love and
esteem), and self fulfillment needs (self actualization). Not everybody reaches self actualization.
Johnny does get his needs met even if it is not in the most ideal ways.

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Works Cited
Hinton, S.E. The Outsiders. Dell Publishing, 1967.