What are some man vs. ____ conflicts in the novel The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton?

Man vs Man is shown through the feud between the Greasers and the Socs. Meanwhile, Man vs Society can be seen in the social/economic class struggles of the characters, namely that of the Greasers, who are poor and struggle to fit in with the rest of society. Man vs Nature happens as Johnny and Pony save the children from the church fire, Johnny getting seriously hurt in the process. Man vs Self conflict is in Pony dealing with his guilt over the deaths of Dally and Johnny.


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In The Outsiders there are both internal and external conflicts. The two overriding conflicts are man versus himself and man versus society. Throughout the novel, Ponyboy endures an internal struggle to find out who he is as a person outside of his role in his gang, the greasers. After he loses his parents, the greasers became his family, and his identity is wrapped up in his image as a gang member. But as Ponyboy gets older, his deep interests in education and literature cause him to question what he wants to be and do in life. This is intertwined with the external conflict of man versus society, which is played out through the events of the novel. The greasers are treated as less than others, especially by their rival gang, the Socs, who look down on them and sometimes physically attack them. Another important struggle in the story is the external conflict between the greasers and society. Ponyboy and his friends suffer from negative perceptions about them and low expectations of their possibilities. The Socs taunt them with words such as:

Greaser ... greaser ... greaser ... [...] Oh victim of environment, underprivileged, rotten no-count hood.

Because Ponyboy is interested in Cherry, a Soc girl from the wealthy West Side, he wants to prove that these perceptions are only stereotypes. Cherry can tell that Pony likes to read and that, like her, he likes to watch sunsets. Pony reflects,

It seemed funny to me that the sunset she saw from her patio and the one I saw from the back steps was the same one. Maybe the two different worlds we lived in weren’t so different. We saw the same sunset.

In addition to these overriding conflicts, there are instances of man versus man in the conflict between the greasers and the Socs, and man versus nature when the church catches on fire.

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Some conflicts in The Outsiders are man vs. man, man vs. society and man vs. self.

An example of a man vs. man conflict in the story is the greasers vs. the Socs.  This is the larger conflict, which can be broken down into specific conflicts between characters.  One such conflict occurs in the fight between Johnny and Bob in the park during the rumble that resulted in Bob’s death.  Ponyboy explains that the fighting between the greasers and the Socs often occurs just because it has been perpetuated from one jumping or rumble to the next, or because of the general class differences between the two, and not for any specific reason.  This is evident in the way that Bob attacks Ponyboy and Johnny in the park.

Bob shook his head, smiling slowly. "You could use a bath, greaser. And a good working over. And we've got all night...

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