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There are many reasons as to why the boys fight. Let's start with envy. When the Socs see Ponyboy, Johnny, and Two-Bit walking with their girlfriends, they are envious. However, the fighting begins long before this. The first example the reader learns of the fighting is when the Socs jump Johnny. He's an innocent boy walking down the street, but he looks different, wears different clothing, has a different hairstyle, lives in a different part of town, etc. The Socs see Johnny as inferior to them. They think of him as the scum of society and therefore deserving of a beating. Therefore, the boys also fight because they don't understand each other. The Greasers don't think the Socs have any real problems. They see them as having money and status. They can't understand why the Socs just don't leave them be. The Greasers see the Socs as having all the advantages.
Pony says,"Soda fought for fun, steve for hatred, Darry for pride and Two-Bit for conformity." Pony is different because he didn't have a reason to fight. I think that Pony was a lot like Randy because I don't think that he wanted to fight. Throughout the book, Pony is trying to prove himself so that is he fought. However, in reality, he didn't want to.
The boys fight because in their "society," aggression is the answer. The story is set in a time well before peer counseling and mediation. It is also set in a time when children were not given credence or validation as they are today. Without the proper "skills," such as peer counseling and mediation, youngsters sometimes reacted with gut reactions, hence, physical aggression. In addition, poverty contributes to aggression. Although I do not think that poverty is the issue in The Outsiders. The wealthy kids in the community were physically aggressive as well!
So, in a nutshell, the times lent themselves to aggression. The United States was in the middle of a war. The president had recently been assassinated. Cuba was a threat to the United States. The nation was deeply divided. I think kids feel helpless in times of political strife as in "What can we do?" and fighting may serve as an outlet for their frustrations.
They fight because they want to....and also to gain there self-respect..
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