What does the quote below from The Outsiders mean?"Things were rough all over, but it was better that way. That way you could tell the other guy was human to." This is the last line of chapter 7.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is important to look at this quote in context. Note how it comes after Ponyboy has met with Randy and how Randy has told him that because of the death of his friend, he will not be going to the rumble that night. This marks an incredibly important point in the novel, because here we see that Ponyboy understands that Socs and Greasers are really just the same. In spite of their many differences, as Cherry told him, Socs have just as many challenges as Greasers. Thus the quote points towards Ponyboy's greater understanding of the realities facing all young people, not just Greasers, and manages to move beyond the labels of "Soc" and "Greaser." It is highly significant how Ponyboy responds to Two-Bit when he asks him what did "Mr. Super-Soc" say to Ponyboy:

"He ain't a Soc," I said, "he's just a guy."

As the quote says, because things are "rough" for both Socs and Greasers, this means that you can identify the common element of humanity in "the other guy" and move beyond the labels that only seem to divide and cause animosity in this novel.

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