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Famous author replies to class question

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As most students do at some point in their educational career, Magoffin County High School English Teacher Haley Skaggs’ freshman class is reading “The Outsiders,” a classic coming-of-age fiction by S.E. Hinton. However, when a question arose during a class discussion, the class went straight to the source for an answer.

Freshman Leilah Burchett told the Independent, “We were taking a quiz about parts of the book we had read, and we noticed some inconsistencies in the book.”

The students had noticed that Two Bit was described as being the oldest in the gang at 18 ½ years old, but that Darry was 20 years old.

“My class is not argumentative, but they’re always asking questions and always checking details,” Skaggs said. “When we read this part, they stopped me and said, ‘wait, that’s not right.’” 

Skaggs said the students were adamant about needing an answer, so she searched S.E. Hinton online and found her email, then her Twitter account.

“So, I just tweeted to her and in five minutes she responded,” Skaggs said. “I was freaking out and they were freaking out. We did not expect her to even respond, let alone that fast.”

The answer direct from Hinton, herself: “Pony didn’t think of Darry as a member of the gang.”

“Most of the time, we don’t normally get to talk to the authors,” Skaggs said. “Most are either not alive or would rather leave it up to interpretation, so we were just in shock. They love the book so much, too.”

Burchett said she expected the author to still be discussing the book, noting, “She wrote it such a long time ago, I figured it had a major impact on her own life.”

Student Kaytlynn Allen said, “I didn’t really expect for the author to respond – other people would make sense – but to have the actual author comment was exciting.”

The class still hopes to maybe get a FaceTime in with the author to discuss a few more questions.

“I’d love to know what got her into writing in the first place,” Allen said.

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Heather Oney

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