In The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton, what do you think Ponyboy means when he says that the Greasers feel too violently? What does this say about their society?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 3, Ponyboy and Cherry are having a conversation about what separates the Greasers from the Socs. Cherry mentions that the Socs have more than what they want and are never satisfied. She says that Socs are also too cool to feel anything. Cherry comments that nothing is real to them and tells Ponyboy that the Greasers are too emotional. Ponyboy agrees and understands that the Socs hide behind a "wall of aloofness." Ponyboy mentions that the Socs are cold and impersonal individuals, and says, "That's why we're separated...It's not money, it's feeling---you don't feel anything and we feel too violently" (Hinton 34). What Ponyboy means is that the Greasers have intense feelings and are overly emotional. They are not afraid to hide or speak about their feelings, and their suffering is visible. The Socs are opposite, and act like nothing bothers them in order to maintain their "cool" persona.

Ponyboy's comment about how the Greasers feeling too violently reflects the tragic atmosphere of their society. The fact that there are children and teenagers who are under extreme emotional duress depicts the lack of social support systems available in their community. Families do not assist their children in the society Ponyboy grows up in, and kids are left to deal with their problems by themselves. Also, the Socs obsession with material wealth portrays a superficial society focused on tangible items rather than a person's character.