The Outsiders Essay
‘The Outsiders’ is written by S.E. Hinton. It is set in the 1960s in a
town in the USA. It is about the conflict of the two main teenager
gangs called the Socs (short for Socials) and the Greasers. The Socs
live on the West side where they live a supposedly better life with
everything that they want and the Greasers live on the East side with
nothing much but anger and jealousy about the Socs who always seem to
be privileged in every way. The conflict (a state of disharmony
between incompatible or antithetical persons, ideas, or interests; a
clash.) remains strong because of the dissatisfaction of the opposing
gangs with their lives.
Socs and Greasers are separated into two different groups mainly
because of the economic differences of their families. Socs can go on
skiing holidays while the Greasers hang around at home and the cinema.
Other than economically, they also think differently and have
different values. “You’re more emotional, we are sophisticated - cool
to the point of not feeling anything…” (Cherry Valance, Ch.3, page 44)
Socs get high education, they can go to college and make the track
team, while the Greasers drop out of school and work or hang around
The conflicts between the Greasers and the Socs are both violent and
non violent. The violent conflicts in this book are the gang fights.
Both gangs call a massive gang fight a ‘rumble’. It is where both
gangs fight each other face to face when something ‘big’ happens and
needs to be solved. The two main gangs (Greasers and the Socs) usually
choose skin fights over weapon fights. The main fight between Bob,
Pony, Randy and Johnny is the scene where Johnny kills Bob because Bob
wanted to drown Pony and beat Johnny up for picking up his girl
(Cherry). The non violent conflicts are when Cherry and Randy (Socs)
talk to Ponyboy. This is the conversation between a Soc and a
Greaser, the two opposing gangs. Cherry says that the Greasers only
envy the Socs and think they have everything they want, but they know
nothing about their worries, “We have troubles you have never heard
of… Things are rough all over.” (Cherry, Ch.3, page 42). Randy tells
Pony that it is no use fighting in rumbles because Socs will forget
even if they win or don’t. All the killing and fighting will not
change a thing about their identities, “Greasers will still be
Greasers and Socs will still be Socs. Sometimes I think that it’s the
ones in the middle who are the lucky stiffs.” (Randy, Ch.7, page 125)
Cherry and Randy humanize the Socs when talking to Pony, explaining
the things to him so that he understands that the Socs might not be as
lucky as he used to think they were.
Although there is conflict between the Socs and the Greasers, there is
also conflict between the individuals in the novel. Darry often blames
things on Pony for his lack of common sense, while Pony thinks that
Darry is a natural leader of the Greasers but really bossy...
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