How is PonyBoy an outsider in The Outsiders? Give an example.

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ponyboy does feel like an outsider, particularly at school where his athletic ability and sharp intellect place him in classes and activities with many of the Socs.  For example, Ponyboy reflects on feeling like an outsider when he reads about Pip in Great Expectations, and reckons that he knows what Pip feels like because he has had a similar experience at school.  Ponyboy recounts that one time in his biology class, he was partnered with a really nice Soc girl, and he decided to use his switchblade for the dissection because the razor blade was dull.  Ponyboy felt just like an outsider when his lab partner gasped:

"'They are right.  You are a hood.' That didn't make me feel so hot.  There were a lot of Socs in that class--I get put into A classes because I'm supposed to be smart--and most of them thought it was pretty funny" (15). 

Ponyboy's story about his embarrassment in biology class is a very telling example of how he feels like an outsider at school.  His good grades not only set him apart from many of the greasers, but his social status as a greaser also prevents him from being welcomed into the Socs' social circle.