RORY: And these kids at my school – awful. Have you seen The Outsiders?
DEAN: Yeah, I have.
RORY: Just call me Ponyboy.
The Outsiders is a 1983 teen drama film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, adapted from the popular novel of the same name by S.E. Hinton. The movie looks at the conflict between the Greasers, tough working-class teens, and the Socs, a gang of wealthier kids.
The main protagonist is Ponyboy Curtis (C. Thomas Howell), who is one of the Greasers, but is good at school and loves literature; while hiding out after his friend Johnny killed a Soc to defend him, Ponyboy reads Gone With the Wind and recites Robert Frost’s poem Nothing Gold Can Stay.
Rory feels the social difference between she and her Chilton classmates very strongly, identifying herself with a teenager from the wrong side of the tracks, albeit one who loves reading.
It is worth noting that Rory doesn’t ask Dean if he’s read The Outsiders, even though it is a very well known book for teenagers, and often set as a school text. By now she may have got the idea that Dean isn’t much of a reader.
Either that, or Rory hasn’t read it herself, rejecting it as beneath her reading level, or something that is too typically teenage to bother with.