The Outsiders Through Music


S.E. Hinton makes a point of telling readers what type of music the characters listen to, probably because she recognized that music is a significant influence to teenagers. She reveals, through Ponyboy, that Greasers listen to Elvis Presley, the Socs listen to The Beatles, and the tougher Greasers listened to Hank Williams.

We are all attracted to music and musicians that we relate to; lyrics or sounds that speak to us and that we understand and connect to. If the Greasers or Socs were gangs of today, what kind of music would they listen to? Identify a song that you think either group would like and explain why you think they would like it. Consider to the music– the singers, musicians, and tempo of the song. Consider the artist’s appearance and style. Cite the lyrics, explaining how or why these words would connect to one of the gangs. What in the book makes you believe that these lyrics would be meaningful to them?

Remember that the point of this analysis is to answer the question of why this song would be on either a Greaser’s or a Soc’s playlist. What would he like about it?

Post your paragraph in the comments, and then read at least one other person’s paragraph and comment on it. You are welcome to read and comment on more than one person’s post. Remember your digital footprint– don’t post your full name.


What is satire?


Watch the following video and answer the questions that come up to help you understand what a satire is.

ED Puzzle log-on steps to follow after clicking picture link below.

1. Select “Student”

2. Click red “Sign in with Google”. Use your MbusdApps Google Account info.

3. Use the code: e76J0w to connect to my class and watch the video.

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 3.26.01 PM


Animal Farm is a satire. Try to figure out in what ways it appears to be satirical. Write your explanation in the comments section.


Mignon Fogarty is the host of Grammar Girl and founder of Quick and Dirty Tips.  Prior to becoming a grammar guru, Mignon was a magazine and technical writer, and an entrepreneur.  Mignon has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University.
You can find the link to this website and the audio by clicking here:  He Said, She Said
Get the Grammar Girl Widget For Your Site

He Said, She Said

Episode 120: July 25, 2008
 Grammar Girl here.

Today’s topic is “How to Use Attributives”

Guest writer Sal Glynn writes:

Dialogue is hard to write and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Getting characters to have individual voices has caused more sleepless nights than too much coffee late in the day. Once the dialoguesounds right and reads right on the page, there is the problem of attributives.

An attributive, also known as identifier or signifier, is the “he said, she said” that show the reader who is saying what. Writers who try to get around them will find themselves more confused than their anticipated readership.

Attributives and How to Avoid Them

Use the name of the speaker if it’s not already established so the reader can get right into the scene. Attributives can be placed in the middle of a line of dialogue, as in:

“Nasty as the job may be,” said Henrik, “the goat needs a good scrubbing.”

Trust your ear in deciding where to insert. Never break into the dialogue with:

“Nasty as the job,” said Henrik, “may be, the goat needs a good scrubbing (1).”

For a short line of dialogue, attributives usually go at the end, like so:

“Help me find my leopard skin pillbox hat,” said Daphne.

You can avoid attributives by using the name of the character being addressed, as in:

“Daphne, your leopard skin pillbox hat is on top of the refrigerator.”

“Go scrub a goat, Henrik.”

When two characters are speaking, attributives are only necessary for the characters’ first appearances.

“That’s an attractive hammer,” he said.

“A family heirloom,” she said.

“I never would have guessed.”

“You don’t look like the guessing type.”

The reader will keep track of “he said” and “she said” after the preliminary exchange. Further attributives will slow down what promises to be an interesting conversation.

 Creative Attributives

Simplicity is the rule in attributives. Many writers try to think for the reader by replacing “said” with words like gruntedgrowleddemandedbellowedcooed,roaredsqualled, and simpered. If the tone of the dialogue is not immediately apparent, rewrite the dialogue and not the attributive.

This goes double for adding adverbs like belligerentlyarrogantlyhaughtily,angrilycoquettishlyhappilyslavishly, and jokingly. Before using any of these or others, ask yourself how someone would sound if they spoke in that manner. When the answer comes back, “I don’t know,” rewrite the dialogue until you do.

Writing for Readers

Many writers rebel at the idea of “he said, she said.” They complain of the blandness and they are right. “He said, she said,” is transparent on purpose. The writer’s job is to put the dialogue into the mind of the reader (2). With too much information, readers have no room to make the story their own. As Kurt Vonnegut wrote in comparing films to novels, “There are tens of thousands of A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, since each reader has to cast, costume, direct, and design the show in his head (3).” The simple attributive makes for a livelier scene.

Now that you understand attributives, remember the quick and dirty rule is keep them simple and where they belong.

The Dog Walked Down the Street: An Outspoken Guide for Writers Who Want to Publish

Also, thanks again to this week’s guest-writer Sal Glynn, author of The Dog Walked Down the Street: An Outspoken Guide for Writers Who Want to Publish, which won best writing /publishing book at last year’s IPPY awards. Find out more about Sal at his blog,

That’s all. Thanks for listening.


1. Lukeman, Noah. The First Five Pages. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2000.

2. Piercy, Marge and Ira Wood. So You Want to Write. Wellfleet, MA: Leapfrog Press, Inc., 2005.

3. Vonnegut, Jr., Kurt. Between Time and Timbuktu. NY: Dell Publishing, 1972.


He Said, She Said: Attributives