How did expectations play a role in the lives of the Socs and Greasers? How did external and internal expectations influence each group's actions?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The expectations of the teens in the two groups were nearly polar opposites. The Socs were the sons of wealthy parents who gave them all the necessities--and more--of life. They expected everything to be handed to them in life, and their futures after school appeared secure. They behaved in a manner in which they believed that they were immune to punishment for any of their misdeeds. The greasers, meanwhile, came from poor families, and they had to steal in order to acquire the few frills that they possessed. They mistrusted the police, since they were always considered the true delinquents of the two groups. The greasers never expected to rise above their lower-class status, even those like Darry, who worked hard to earn his living. The rumble meant everything to the greasers: A victory would keep the Socs out of their neighborhood and give them the satisfaction that they were better at something (albeit physical violence) than their enemies. To the Socs, the rumble meant little; things would not change much for them, and the fight would probably prove to be just another way of getting kicks for the night. 

Individually, the greasers had different expectations. Ponyboy apparently hoped to become a writer. Soda hoped to marry his girlfriend. Darry had hoped to play college football, but his parents' deaths ended that dream. Johnny hoped to find peace somewhere away from the reach of the Socs. Of the Socs, Cherry dreamed of sunsets.