What does Cherry say is the real separation between the Socs and the Greasers in S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders?

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gmuss25's profile pic

gmuss25 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In Chapter 3, Ponyboy and Cherry are having a conversation regarding the differences between each of their social groups. Cherry mentions that the differences between Socs and Greasers go beyond finances and believes the Greasers are more "emotional." She tells Ponyboy the Socs are superficial and only concerned with their outward appearances and material wealth. She compares her social group to a "rat-race" where everyone is trying to one-up each other. Cherry also tells Ponyboy that the Socs are "cool to the point of not feeling" (Hinton 33). Cherry realizes that Socs hide their emotions and do not discuss real issues because they are too concerned with maintaining appearances and looking "cool." The Greasers, on the other hand, are "real" and not afraid to be themselves. They have nothing to hide because they have no one to try to impress. The Greasers are comfortable discussing their issues with one another, unlike the Socs, who pretend that their lives are perfect when they actually feel empty inside. Pony summarizes it perfectly: "Socs were always behind a wall of aloofness, careful not to let their real selves show through" (Hinton 34).

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mrs-tolley | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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You can find the answer to this question on page 33, the beginning of Chapter 3.

Ponyboy is speculating about what separates the Socs and Greasers, because he realizes that Cherry and Marcia are a lot like Two-Bit and himself when the movie ends and the boys offer the girls a lift home in Two-Bit's car.

Ponyboy thinks it's just money that separates them, but Cherry says money's part of it, but there's more separating them than money alone: "'It's not just money. Part of it is, but not all. You greasers have a different set of values. You're more emotional. We're sophisticated—cool to the point of not feeling anything.'"

Cherry goes on to say that she is not always honest with her friends: "'I'll catch myself talking to a girl-friend, and realize I don't mean half of what I'm saying.'" Then she tells Ponyboy that Socs are always on the go, trying to achieve more, and never satisfied with what they have: "'It seems like we're always searching for something to satisfy us, and never finding it.'"

The conversation finishes when the two of them realize that they watch the same sunset from different sides of town: "Maybe the two different worlds we lived in weren't so different. We saw the same sunset" (page 35).

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chloemink | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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Cherry hates fighting and serves as a go-between for the two groups. She doesn't succeed in stopping the fighting, but she does help increase understanding. She delivers two important revelations to Pony. The first is that Socs are not without their own problems, and the other is that rich people are capable of watching sunsets, just as Pony does.

ahart26's profile pic

ahart26 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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In chapter 3 Cherry says that the true separation between the socs and greasers are feelings. She tells Ponyboy that money is not the true separation, it is that "greasers have a different set of values." She tells him that greasers are more emotional and socs are "sophisticated - cool to the point of not feeling anything" (Hinton 35).

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