How does Ponyboy realize that the Greasers are similar to the Socs?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning of the novel, Ponyboy has a conversation with Cherry Valance and tells her the story about how Johnny suffered a terrible beating from a group of Socs. Cherry responds by telling Ponyboy that not every Soc is violent and mean. She tells Pony that believing all Socs are terrible people is the same as thinking that every Greaser acts like Dally Winston. Cherry then says,

"Things are rough all over" (Hinton 31).

Later on in the novel, Randy Adderson runs into Ponyboy at the Tasty Freeze and has a conversation with him. Randy laments about what happened to Bob Sheldon and explains to Ponyboy why he will not be attending the rumble. Randy tells Ponyboy how Bob's parents did nothing to help him personally and were part of the reason Bob behaved recklessly. Randy goes to tell Ponyboy that he is going to run away and thinks that the fighting between the two gangs is useless. Ponyboy then comments that he would help Randy if he could and mentions,

"I remembered Cherry's voice: Things are rough all over. I knew then what she meant" (Hinton 99).

Ponyboy finally realizes that Greasers are similar to Socs because both gangs have their own struggles. Ponyboy understands that members of each gang care about one another and try to cope with their own issues the best that they can.

Read the study guide:
The Outsiders

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