How do the Socs have it rough in The Outsiders?

The Socs have it rough in The Outsiders because they have so little true emotion in their lives. Cherry explains that the Socs might talk about something as if it were truly meaningful or fun, but deep down, they do not feel much. They always feel a general sense of dissatisfaction. They are in search of something to satisfy them without ever finding it. It seems like there’s always an emotional barrier for the Socs.

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It's hard to imagine, especially from a Greaser's perspective, what type of problems a group of kids with "money, cars, and futures" could possibly have.

Conversations with Cherry and Randy, however, reveal that being a Soc does come with its own challenges. While their problems are not money-related like those of the Greasers, the Socs crave limits and boundaries which are completely missing from their lives. As unproblematic as it sounds, their biggest problem is that they are never told what they may or may not do. This is probably why some of the Socs have an unfortunate habit of beating up Greasers.

I would argue that another way in which the Socs have it rough is self-imposed—and it's their tendency to bottle up everything they are feeling inside. It often appears as though the Socs are picking fights with the Greasers just for the sake of feeling something and to alleviate the boredom of their lives, which are otherwise free of any significant conflicts or challenges.

I think Cherry explains it best when she tells Ponyboy that since the Socs never want for anything in terms of material possessions, they spend their time searching for something elusive which they cannot define to bring them satisfaction.

Teenagers will be teenagers, but the Socs "problems" seem pretty self-indulgent to me.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on May 21, 2020
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Cherry's point that "things are rough all over" refers to a larger idea that every person faces obstacles or challenges in life—even if they may go unnoticed by others. While the Socs have the money and social status that the greasers lack, they still have to confirm to societal norms and expectations. They are expected to dress in a specific style, behave in a particular way, and socialize with other individuals who come from a similar background and pedigree. The stigma of stepping outside these boundaries means that the Socs face distinct, unspoken rules, just like the greasers do—they have a role to play in their insular high school world, as well as their larger community, and they will be judged if they step outside of those rules.

Cherry confides in Ponyboy because even she realizes that her social status is nothing more than surface-level; she doesn't truly garner joy, happiness, or satisfaction from her life as a high school socialite, but she knows her place. In some ways, she's envious of the life that Ponyboy lives, with his ability to take risks and the brotherhood he has as a family structure. Cherry tries to connect with Ponyboy by showing him that the greasers are not the only ones who deal with life's difficulties—you truly never know what a person is going through deep down inside.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on May 19, 2020
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When Cherry tells Pony that "things are rough all over," he is fairly flabbergasted. After all, he wonders, how bad could it be for the Socs? They have nice cars, good grades, and the Soc girls. Pony thinks it would be a pretty good deal to have those kinds of problems.

Later on, he realizes that although the Greasers struggle, the Socs really do have their own sorts of conflicts in life. Cherry tells Pony that Socs have no depth. She confides that she often finds herself talking to other girls and realizes that half of what she says is nothing more than a lie to meet the expectations of her social group. Cherry doesn't think beer parties are great, but when she's with her Soc friends, she talks them up because that is what is expected of her. She points out that Greasers are known for being too emotional, but the Socs don't feel anything at all. They are emotionally removed from life, too cool to allow themselves to experience the emotions attached with living. At the end of the novel, Randy echoes these thoughts, telling Pony that he feels bad about letting his dad down by "being mixed up in all this" and that this is the first time he's felt anything at all in a long time.

The Socs are caught up in their emotionless world, moving through life but never really experiencing it. They are caught up in impressing the group, and they do so at the expense of forming meaningful relationships. The Socs may have the money, but they walk through their lives as shells of people, feeling nothing at all.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on May 18, 2020
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The Socs have it rough in The Outsiders because they have so little true emotions in their lives. Cherry tells Ponyboy that everyone has it rough. She explains to him that it is almost as if they just go through the motions with everything they do but deep down really feel nothing about their actions or their lives.

Socs might talk about something as if it were truly meaningful or interesting or fun, but in reality, they have lost their sense of enthusiasm and even appreciation, according to Cherry. In part, this is perhaps because they have too much in the way of material goods and therefore do not have the same ambition to advance and achieve as another person might. This is what Cherry surmises. She believes that Socs are never satisfied. She does not mean that they always crave more material goods. She means that they never achieve a sense of satisfaction for having completed something or attained an aspiration. On the contrary, they always feel a general sense of dissatisfaction. She says,

It seems like we're always searching for something to satisfy us, and never finding it.

Cherry wonders if things would be better for them if they lost their cool, by which she means their cool demeanor so that they could be more emotional like the Greasers. From the way Cherry explains it to Ponyboy, it seems like there’s always an emotional barrier for the Socs, even between close friends and perhaps even between relatives.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on May 18, 2020
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Despite the fact that the Socs get all the breaks and enjoy many privileges, Cherry Valance and Randy Adderson tell Ponyboy that they also struggle in many aspects of their lives. Cherry admits to Ponyboy that being a Soc is like being in one big rat race, where everyone is competing to be better and more outgoing than the next person. Cherry explains to Ponyboy that her social group is solely focused on appearances and mentions that she lacks genuine friends, because the majority of the Socs are aloof and superficial. Cherry also tells Pony that it is difficult concealing her true emotions and acting like nothing bothers her. Later on, Randy tells Pony that the Socs lack genuine, authentic relationships with their parents, who believe that they can buy their children's love. Instead, the wealthy parents enable their children and do not give them the discipline that they desperately need. Overall, the Socs struggle to maintain their appearances and develop genuine friendships with each other, because they are too concerned about their reputations and status.

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Cherry Valance tells Ponyboy, "Things are rough all over" (35).  From Cherry's perspective the Socs have problems too, troubles that Ponyboy would never imagine.  The Social set is cool, but that sort of emotional distance comes with a price; the Socs do not feel anything.  Cherry confesses that "nothing is real to us" (38).  Furthermore, their material wealth, instead of being an advantage, became negative, because the Socs had too much of everything.  They could never feel satisfied with what they had and felt like they had to keep looking for more.  Later Randy confirms this as he decribes to Ponyboy how Bob always pushed the limits with his parents who had "spoild him rotten," but really just wanted to be told 'no' (116).

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