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Activity Overview

Literary conflicts are another major element often taught during ELA units. Building on prior knowledge to achieve mastery level with our students is important. An excellent way to focus on the various types of literary conflict is through storyboarding. Having students choose an example of each literary conflict and depict it using the storyboard creator is a great way to reinforce your lesson!

In The Outsiders, conflict is not only present, but it is also a major recurring element. Much of the conflict that arises stems from the conflicts between gangs.

Examples of Conflict from The Outsiders


Ponyboy's inability to understand the violence around him, and his struggle to find strength in the face of adversity.


Even when Johnny and Ponyboy save the children from the church fire, they are not accepted by society. As Mr. Wood rides with them to the hospital, he judges and condemns them because of their gang affiliation. His prejudice upsets Ponyboy and sets him against traditional society.


Socs vs. Greasers!

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows at least three forms of literary conflict in The Outsiders.

  1. Identify conflicts in The Outsiders.
  2. Categorize each conflict as Character vs. Character, Character vs. Self, Character vs. Society, Character vs. Nature, or Character vs. Technology.
  3. Illustrate conflicts in the cells, using characters from the play.
  4. Write a short description of the conflict below the cell.

Lesson Plan Reference

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(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Types of Literary Conflict Rubric
17 Points
14 Points
11 Points
Try Again
8 Points
Conflict Identification
  • Student identifies correct major conflict and uses strong, clear textual evidence to support choice.
  • Student includes at least two clear examples of plot points that are a direct cause of the major conflict category.
  • Student identifies correct major conflict and uses few or unclear details to support their choice.
  • Student includes one clear example of plot points that are a direct cause of the major conflict category.
  • Student identifies incorrect major conflict, and uses some details from the text to support their choice.
  • Student includes only vague or poorly explained examples of plot points that are a direct cause of conflict.
  • Student does not attempt to identify major conflict or identifies incorrect major conflict with no explanation.
  • Student does not include any examples of plot points that are a direct cause of conflict.
  • Understanding Outcome
    Student clearly shows the outcome of the conflict and its effects on the protagonist with evidence from the text.
    Student shows the outcome of the conflict and its effect on the protagonist, but some evidence is unclear.
    Student shows the outcome of the conflict, but does not examine its effect on the protagonist and uses some vague textual evidence.
    Student does not clearly show the outcome of the conflict or use textual evidence.
    Student includes at least one quote, with proper punctuation and page #, from the text that deals directly with the events presented in the storyboard.
    Student includes at least one quote, but it is not directly relevant to the events presented in the storyboard, or has an error in punctuation, page #, etc.
    Student includes quote, but it contains errors or is not at all related to events presented in the storyboard.
    Student does not include a quote.
    Storyboard includes all required characters and clearly names them. Goes above and beyond by adding details or names of additional characters.
    Storyboard includes all required characters, clearly named.
    Storyboard includes protagonist and antagonist but leaves out other required characters.
    Storyboard does not include the names of required characters.
    Student clearly shows effort to convey the setting the scene of the book
    Student attempts to convey setting and scene of the book, but lacks some clarity.
    Student does not clearly convey the setting and scene.
    Student makes little or no attempt to convey the setting or scene.
    Spelling and Grammar
    Student uses exemplary spelling and grammar. There are no errors.
    Student makes a minor error in spelling and grammar.
    Student makes several minor errors in spelling and grammar.
    Student makes many errors in spelling and grammar; little attempt at spellchecking.

    How To Use a Storyboard to Understand Literary Conflict


    Instruct Students on Story Conflicts

    The first thing you should do is to give some whole class instruction on the types of conflicts found in literature and how they work. Students will need this firm understanding as they begin their own analysis of literary conflict.


    Identify a Primary Conflict in the Story

    As a class, model the process of finding a conflict in the story and giving examples. For instance, you might explain the Person vs. Self conflict of Ponyboy trying to decide if he should run away with Johnny or not. This will give students the skills they need to find conflicts in the story themselves.


    Assist Students in Creating the Storyboard

    Allow students to find and explain their own conflict in the story. There are many to choose from. They will find an example, draw it out, create speech bubbles, and write a brief description. The act of creation will cement their learning.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Literary Conflict in The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

    What are the primary conflicts in literature?

    There are several conflicts in literature that keep coming to the forefront: Person vs. Person, Person vs. Self, Person vs. Society, Person vs. Nature, and Person vs. Technology are all typical conflicts found int adolescent literature.

    Why should students consider the literary conflict?

    The literary conflict in a story is extremely important, as it moves the action of the story along. When a character has an altercation with another character, or is fighting to find her place in society, then the story unfolds to help her find a solution to the conflict.

    What is a primary conflict in The Outsiders?

    Because of the way the gangs struggle against each other in this story, Person vs. Society is a prominent conflict as both the Socials and the Greasers struggle to find their way in the world.

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