how does ponyboy realize the similarities between the soc's and the greaser how does the author show that they are more alike than they realize

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Ponyboy comes to a realization that the greasers and Socs have more in common after he spends some time talking to a couple of Socs, particularly Cherry Valance and Randy.  The first time Ponyboy talks to Cherry is at the drive-in movies.  Even though they discuss how the greasers and socs are extremely different emotionally, Ponyboy and Cherry realize together that there was more to each other than just a social label.  They discover that they both have an affinity for sunsets.

Then later, Ponyboy talks to Randy about Bob and rescuing the kids from the fire.  When Randy says he would have let the kids burn to death, Ponyboy tells him, "You might not have.  You might have done the same thing" (115).  In this conversation, Ponyboy begins to realize that it is not about the group or the stereotype that defines a person's character, it is the individual himself.  In this way, be begins to see that the Socs and the Greasers are not that different after all.  They are all individuals and deserve to be judged based on their own merit.

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