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Compare and contrast the Socs and the Greasers in The Outsiders.

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luxs16 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 6, 2009 at 11:52 AM via web

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Compare and contrast the Socs and the Greasers in The Outsiders.

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted November 7, 2009 at 12:37 AM (Answer #1)

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In the S. E. Hinton novel, The Outsiders, there are two groups of characters--the greasers and the socs. The greasers are a gang of poor teenagers with dysfunctional family situations, and the socs are a group of wealthier teenagers with better family circumstances.

Oddly enough, the socs are more like a gang than the greasers. They are the teenagers who show up at the drive in movie theater drunk. They are the teenagers that follow the greasers as the walk Cherry and her friend home. The socs are the teenagers who attack Johnny and Ponyboy in the park--almost drowning Ponyboy before Johnny is forced into killing one of them to save Ponyboy. The teenagers who have been given every advantage in life are actually the ones functioning with a gang mentality.

The greasers who have had every disadvantage life could throw at them, however, are the ones who seem more civil. Circumstances have melded them into a strong knit family. Johnny and Ponyboy are polite to the soc girls who find themselves in need of escorts after the movie. Johnny risks his own life to save Johnny when the socs are trying to drown him. They run to Dally for advice and he helps them to the best of his present ability. When Ponyboy and Johnny find themselves at the scene of the burning church which had children inside, they didn't hesitate to rush in and save the children. One of the socs later said, he would never have considered putting himself in danger to do that.

Clearly the greasers would be expected to be the more aggressive and less socially approriate, but the socs are actually more aggresive and socially unacceptable in this novel.

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