Issues of American economic class are confronted head on by the portrayal of the rival gangs as rich and poor. The rich Socs "jump greasers and wreck houses and throw beer blasts for kicks, and get editorials in the paper for being a public disgrace one day and an asset to society the next." The poor greasers, conversely, "steal things and drive old souped-up cars and hold up gas stations and have a gang fight once in a while." Each group views the other as the enemy and "that's just the way things are." But circumstances will at least reveal to a few that everyone is human—although there will still be a rivalry.
Cherry offers her opinion that it is not just a difference in money: "You greasers have a different set of values. You're more emotional. We're sophisticated—cool to the point of not feeling anything ... Rat race is a perfect name for [our life]." This leads Pony to wonder if perhaps it is just natural for the two classes to be separate and unequal—a fact that haunts Johnny's decision to turn himself in. He knows that the courts stereotype all greasers as juvenile delinquents. Still, Ponyboy comes to understand that Socs and greasers have similarities: "It seemed funny to me that the sunset she saw from her patio and the one I saw from the back steps was the same one. Maybe the two different worlds we lived in weren't so different. We saw the same sunset."
That is as far as the bridge is going to extend...
(The entire section is 1643 words.)
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