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The Outsiders Essay

Are the Socs and the Greasers the same, or irrevocably different? The Outsiders, by S. E. Hinton is a novel about the two gangs on each side of a town, the Greasers and the Socs, who have a destructive rivalry and are superficially different. However throughout the course of the novel their true characteristics are proven to be fundamentally the same. Each side has its differences, for example, their opposing dress codes. The Greasers are generally stereotyped as no good, rotten to the core hoods, while the Socs manage to become away with their crimes due to their higher place on the social ladder.

While the Socs and the Greasers see the world quite differently; their backgrounds are dramatically different, however they during the novel, the reader begin to see how much they have in common underneath all the clothes and cars. Both gangs become involved in crimes and trouble but the image of the Socs help to keep them safe. The Greasers often take blame for the crimes of the Socs, purely because it is assumed that they are the culprits by the people. The Socs were causing a lot of trouble in the school cafeteria, throwing silverware and stuff, everybody tried to blame it on the Greasers.

We all got a big laugh out of that, Greasers rarely even eat in the cafeteria. ”(pg. 121). This is because of the Socs’ wealthier, calmer image, they cause as much trouble as the Greasers but their social status makes them less likely to be accused. They have a clean cut look compared to the Greasers rebellious look. The obvious differences in the dress code of the gangs further their separation. But they still maintain similarities; they are both violent gangs, with a particular style and look that they default to. They both have an anti-authoritarian approach to life.

Being richer allows the Socs to become away with their actions, and rarely receive consequences or suspicion for doing wrong. Despite the differences in appearance and social status, the two gangs are the same fundamentally. They are both loyal to each of their gangs, and they fight for each other, and stick up for each other. Each gang is separated in to little groups, like cliques, like Tim Sheppard’s gang, and the Brumby boys. Each clique treats there members like family and they are always there to back each other up. Violence defines them, it is the only thing that they are aware they have in common.

It is their sport, it is how they compete, it is a language that they share, and it is their only way of communicating, violence. When Ponyboy speaks to Randy, they discuss the consequences of the violent actions of each gang, and how the fighting deeply affects them both. The loss caused by the rivalry is devastating to each side. For example, the death of bob and Johnny crushed the spirits of many in the novel. The Socs and the Greasers share the issues that they face within, they both have their family conflicts, with poor parenting being a issues, for example, Johnny’s parents ignore him, while Bob’s enable him.

They both face the endless search for a place beyond in society; they are just lost teenagers, looking beyond their run down town. The stereotypes made by society constrict the members of each gang, as do the standards made within the gang, living up to reputation and image is crucial to maintaining a good relationship with other members of the gang. This is shown by Pony and Dally both being exceptionally smart, but they are both pressured to stay within the confinements of being a Greaser.

They both find pain in money, the Greasers face issues with poverty, while the Socs face problems that are tied to wealth. “Things are rough all over” (Pg, 33) says cherry to Ponyboy, summing up the issues that each side faces. Both groups are simply teenagers trying to find their way in life. Pony notices that the sun in the east sets just as the sun in the south, signifying that they all The Greasers and the Socs are, at the end of it all; ultimately the same and very little separates them. They fight, rebel, and stay loyal to each other no matter the circumstances or the situation.

They face issues and they both have emotions, and they are kin at heart. This is only obvious once the reader spends the time with the characters and watch the story unfold, that the reader begin to see past the differences in social image, economical status and dress code. “You know what a greaser is? ” Bob had asked. “White trash, with long hair. ” I’d felt the blood draining from my face. “You know what a Soc is? White trash with Mustangs and madras. ” (pg. 44) This passage ultimately sums up the differences they have, but the true similarities they share.


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