In The Outsiders, how are the Greasers a disgrace to their society?

The Greasers are a disgrace to their society because of how focused they are on gang violence. Though Ponyboy has a heroic view of the Greasers, readers should question his reliability and whether this positive depiction is really accurate.

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Let's be honest: most readers really like Ponyboy, Johnny, and the rest of the Greasers. More than likely, a big reason for this affinity to them is the fact that the book's narrator is a Greaser. We are seeing things from his perspective. It would be very interesting to read a similar story told from the perspective of a Soc. Even more interesting might be to read the story from Cherry's perspective. Of all of the characters, she might be the most neutral. She's the one that convinces Ponyboy that the Socs and Greasers are more alike than different. They are essentially different sides of the same coin.

While Ponyboy tends to portray the Greasers in a more heroic light, savvy readers should be able to discern how the Greasers are a societal disgrace. The Greasers are a societal disgrace because they have an "us vs. them" mentality that culminates in repeated acts of violence. The same can be said of the Socs as well. The Greasers tend to have it stuck in their minds that it is them against the world, and that results in them not necessarily taking ownership for how they are a part of the problem. They simply have no faith that the wider society can help them. This is one reason why Johnny and Ponyboy run away after the stabbing. They don't believe that claiming self-defense will help them despite the fact that it is the truth. This lack of faith in the justice system is understandable, but it is also disgraceful.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 16, 2021
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