How are the Greasers and the Socs different?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One obvious difference between the Socs and the Greasers is their socioeconomic status.  The Greasers are poor and from poor families.  Often, the Greaser families are broken families as well.  Ponyboy and his brothers don't even have parents any longer.  Their welfare is dependent entirely upon themselves and the gang.  The Socs, on the other hand, are from much wealthier families.  They have nice clothes, nice things, and even have cars.  

I really couldn't see what Socs would have to sweat about--- good grades, good cars, good girls, madras and Mustangs and Corvairs--- Man, I thought, if I had worries like that I'd consider myself lucky.

Another difference between the two groups is their emotional base.  It's something that Ponyboy begins to see and understand after talking to Cherry early in the novel.  The Greasers feel their emotions very quickly and act on them.  Their emotions and responses are very visceral.  Conversely the Socs are an emotional wasteland.  They don't feel anything.  They have every need met, and everything is provided for them, so they don't ever have a deeply felt need or desire.  They are numb.  

That was the truth. Socs were always behind a wall of aloofness, careful not to let their real selves show through. I had seen a social-club rumble once. The Socs even fought coldly and practically and impersonally.

"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."