How are the Socs more of a disgrace and menace to society than the greasers in The Outsiders?

Expert Answers
bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although both groups of boys spend most of their free hours breaking the law and engaging in gang fights, it is the Socs' wealth and higher social standing that is most infuriating. Unlike the greasers, who live on the wrong side of the tracks, are mostly poor, and come from broken homes, the Socs have everything going for them. They mostly come from two-parent homes, drive nice cars, wear fashionable clothes, and are given the freedom of which teens can only dream. Yet the Socs focus much of their attentions on their hatred of the greasers, jumping them in larger numbers and cruising through the greasers' neighborhoods hoping to cause trouble. According to Cherry, the Socs are cold and detached--"sophisticated--cool to the point of not feeling anything."

"Did you ever hear of having more than you wanted? So that you couldn't want anything else and then started looking for something else to want?  (Chapter 3)

The Socs "don't feel anything and we feel too violently." Instead of taking advantage of their good fortune, the Socs "get editorials in the paper for being a public disgrace one day and an asset to society the next." Only Randy and Cherry seem to recognize the error of their ways: Cherry sympathizes with the greasers even after her boyfriend, Bob, is killed, while Randy decides to skip the rumble and suffer the scorn he knows will come from his friends. (In a later S. E. Hinton novel, Randy turns up as a peace-loving hippie, abandoning his Soc roots.)

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Socs are a wealthy group of teenagers who come from affluent families and are given special treatment by the authorities because of their upper-class social status. The Socs wear expensive clothing and drive fancy cars, which makes them appear sophisticated and respectable. However, they are actually entitled teenagers who have little respect for their community and engage in reckless behavior. Ponyboy mentions that the Socs continually throw beer blasts and jump Greasers for fun. According to Ponyboy, the Socs initiate most of the violence by driving around at night looking for Greasers to beat up. In the novel, Johnny and Ponyboy both are jumped by multiple Socs. While the Greasers also engage in criminal behavior, one could argue that the Socs are more of a disgrace and menace to society, because their behavior is unprovoked and unwarranted. They do not live in dangerous communities or lack any material objects, yet choose to cause trouble. At the beginning of the novel, Pony mentions that the Socs are praised in editorials one day for being assets to society and are criticized the next for being a disgrace.

Read the study guide:
The Outsiders

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question