What is an example of classism in The Outsiders?

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The most obvious example of classism in S.E. Hinton's classic novel The Outsiders concerns the community's prejudice against the Greasers. Unlike the affluent Socs, who hail from the West-side and have wealthy families, the Greasers occupy the lower-class and come from dysfunctional, poor families. Even though the Socs engage in...

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The most obvious example of classism in S.E. Hinton's classic novel The Outsiders concerns the community's prejudice against the Greasers. Unlike the affluent Socs, who hail from the West-side and have wealthy families, the Greasers occupy the lower-class and come from dysfunctional, poor families. Even though the Socs engage in delinquent behaviors and go out of their way to terrorize the Greasers, they have a positive reputation and avoid public scrutiny simply because of their appearance, background, and upper-class status. Pony compares himself to Pip from the novel Great Expectations because he is marked lousy simply because of his socioeconomic status. Even his affluent classmates are prejudiced against him because he is a poor Greaser.

Pony also mentions that the Socs get all the breaks and avoid public scrutiny in the papers because they wear appealing clothes and drive fancy cars. In contrast, the police are much more likely to arrest members of the Greaser gang because of their intimidating appearance, bad reputation, and lower-class status. Some of Pony's biggest struggles in life concern not being judged by his socioeconomic status, appearance, or social group. Instead, he desires to be valued for his inherent qualities and positive character traits. Tragically, the community's negative perception and unfair treatment of the Greasers stems from their prejudiced views towards lower-class citizens, which is an example of classism in the story.

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Classism is prejudice against a group because of social class.  An example is people’s preference for Socs over greasers.

The Socs are “the Socials, the jet set, the West side rich kids” (ch 1).  The way society looks at rich kids is different from the way it looks at poor ones.

[The Socs] jump greasers and wreck houses and throw beer blasts for kicks, and get editorials in the paper for being a public disgrace one day and an asset to society the next. (ch 1)

When a Soc makes trouble, he is being a public disgrace but not a hoodlum.  He will get fingers wagged at him and shaking heads, but nothing more.  Greasers, on the other hand, are considered the dregs of society.  They are the ones who are arrested, sent to reform schools and jails, and seen as frightening by the public. 

This is an example of the double standard.  From Ponyboy’s point of view, it is actually the Socs who are jumping the greasers, not the other way around.  The Socs are the dangerous ones.  The gresers are defending themselves.

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