In The Outsiders, Ponyboy Curtis’s initial overall perspective is one of alienation. He is alienated from society, including his own family, but feels a common bond with other boys known as greasers. Following their parents’ deaths, Ponyboy, the novel’s protagonist, finds it difficult to accept his oldest brother, Darry, as head of the family and rebels against his rules. In chapter 1, Pony feels hurt by Darry’s criticism. Ponyboy does find it possible to relate to his brother Sodapop and to girls who are part of the rival Soc crowd, a wealthier group he feels represents mainstream society.
Early in the novel, Ponyboy is protected from some aggressive Soc boys by two friends and fellow greasers, Dally and Johnny. In chapter 2, Pony meets Cherry, a Soc girl, and is able to talk with her about his family problems. He reveals his opinion that Darry hates him. In addition, he shares the extent of the violent treatment that Socs inflict on greasers, especially on Johnny. However, Cherry’s apparent loyalty to the Socs limits his ability to trust her, which further diminishes his self-confidence.