How does the theme of belonging relate to "The Outsiders"?

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slchanmo1885 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Greasers are not just a gang, but they're like family to each other. For some of the boys, like Johnny, they are more of a family and a better family than his real family. The Greasers care about each other and watch out for each other. Johnny and Ponyboy are the two that the older boys always look out for, and seem to have a lot of hope for. Darry has a lot of hope that Pony will be able to rise above their lot in life and really accomplish something. Ponyboy's family is very tight-knit, and it is his family that encourages him, protects him, and hopes for a better life for him. At the end of the book, though the "family" of Greasers have lost some of their number, Pony and his brothers know "if we don't have each other, we don't have anything." Belonging to the Greasers gives them all a sense of identity and a family.