The Outsiders shows that belonging to a gang can only lead to trouble. Do you agree?The Outsiders shows that belonging to a gang can only lead to trouble. Do you agree?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is an excellent question to consider as there is no real answer to it, and both sides of the argument have excellent supporting reasons. Firstly, you could disagree with this statement. This is because it is clear in this novel that Ponyboy again and again is saved and protected by his gang from being badly beaten up by the Socs, in the same way that Johnny was beaten up. Therefore we can see that in this context, belonging to a gang is actually a very smart move because it brings you protection and a sense of belonging that you might not receive elsewhere. Let us also remember that for characters such as Johnny, whose parents are at best indifferent towards him, and characters such as Ponyboy and his brothers, the gang that they are a part of functions as the family that they don't actually have elsewhere. Therefore, belonging to a gang is an absolute advantage for them.

However, the contrary view would point out the way that belonging to a gang necessitates your involvement in fights or "rumbles" and other illegal activities. Being part of a gang means that you are automatically opposed or in conflict with another group, and we can see how this impacts the lives of Johnny and Ponyboy when Johnny kills Bob. Therefore we could equally argue that belonging to a gang can only result in trouble as it sets of a chain of events that leads to Johnny's death.

ik9744 | Student

There could be two different possible answer. Yes and no, because it depends on the type of gang. If it's like a gang that hands out the answer would be no. But if the gang fights for fun then it would be yes.

celinex24 | Student

Interesting question.

The greasers shown in The Outsiders are not at all a proper gang. They're more 'friends who stick together'. This is what Ponyboy thinks of them, at least. He says the Brumly boys and Tim Shephard's are snarling, vicious packs of dogs. In comparison, he also uses Dallas as an example: The shade of difference that separates a hood from a greaser was not present in Dallas.
The shade of difference is the hope theat Ponyboy and his friends hold onto.

If the definition of gang is a group of people doing illegal activities, it is certainly a bad idea as it can only lead to trouble. If it's just a friends group, then it can provide love and affection.


clayton188 | Student

i disagree with that statement. The term "gang" doesn't nessecarily mean violence like you see in a lot of street gangs. I don't think the greasers are a bad gang either. They don't run around killing people for drugs or money. It only strengthen their friendship and gives them confidence and safety in a rough neighborhood.

booklover0909 | Student

I agree with the previous post. I see how it's a good and bad thing, but it depends on who you are.
For example: if you are like Johnny, a gang is a good idea. As for Ponyboy. Your gang members are there for you to protect you, and like for Johnny, to be there for you emotionaly.
If you are somebody like Dallas, the gang might be a good idea. Ponyboy did say that Dally had no real thing to hate, no rival gang, only the Socs. If Dally didn't have have a gang, who knows what he would do! Dally could have gone and done more than he already did. Maybe even join a more dangerous gang.
So my point here is mostly that gangs are good ideas. But it also depends on what kind of gang. A gang like the Socs isn't such a good idea. Neither is Shepard's outfit or the Brumly Boys. They are all too rough. The gang to which Ponyboy belongs to of the greasers is a good gang because they are mainly just a larger group of friends. They are there for each other. They don't care about order or belonging or being too rough (aside from Dally and Steve... mainly.) They stick together and protect each other. That's a good gang.
Dangerous gangs are bad. Friend gangs are good. I don't know how to put it any other way.