How do I write an essay comparing and contrasting the Greasers and Socs in The Outsiders?

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A compare and contrast essay comparing the greasers and socs would focus on their behaviors and the relationship to the themes.

To compare and contrast the two groups, begin by establishing definitions.  Then compare similarities and differences.  Use quotations from the book to back it up.

There are different organizational methods you can use.

  1. Introduction
  2. Greasers
  3. Socs
  4. Similarities
  5. Differences
  6. Conclusion

You might also organize it this way.

  1. Introduction
  2. Ways greasers and Socs are alike
  3. Ways greasters and Socs are different
  4. Relationship to theme
  5. Conclusion

The “war” between the greasers and Socs is a class war more than it is a gang war.  The “gangs” are groups of kids affiliated by social class.  Socs are socialites, and greasers are poor.

I'm not sure how you spell it, but it's the abbreviation for the Socials, the jet set, the West side rich kids. It's like the term "greaser," which is used to class all us boys on the East Side. (ch 1)

There are some similar behaviors between the two groups.  First of all, both are territorial.  Second of all, both can be violent.  From Ponyboy’s perspective, the Socs are the violent ones.  He describes them as the instigators, but there is a long cycle of violence at play.

The behaviors of the two girls differ in their motivation, according to Ponyboy.  While Socs are having fun, greasers are just trying to survive.

We're poorer than the Socs and the middle class. I reckon we're wilder, too. Not like the Socs, who jump greasers and wreck houses and throw beer blasts for kicks… (ch 1)

Another common denominator is that they are both youths.  We are talking about high school aged kids and young adults.

There are many possible things to compare and contrast for this novel.  I have included a link below.

sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The important thing to remember about a compare and contrast essay is that the essay needs to include differences and similarities between both groups. The simplest possible essay is going to need a minimum of two paragraphs. Each of those two paragraphs will discuss either the similarities or differences, respectively.

For similarities, I would focus on how both groups are full of teenage angst and are looking for acceptance. That's one thing that drives them toward forming gangs. There's a brotherhood to be found there. I would also mention that both groups enjoy fighting. Both groups also struggle with handling emotion.

Emotionally, the groups are different. Ponyboy and Cherry discuss this difference at one point in the novel, and they mention that the Greasers feel too much while the Socs are emotionally numb.

"That's why we're separated, "I said. "It's not money, it's feeling—you don't feel anything and we feel too violently."

Another difference is their economic status. The Socs are wealthy, and the Greasers are not. Additionally, the Greasers live on the east side of town, and the Socs live on the west side.