What is considered an outsider in the book The Outsiders?

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mattbuckley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Outsiders as a title is very meaningful to the story itself. It has to do with the characters that make up this tale of youth and prejudice. The term outsider, according to dictionary.com, literary means someone "not belonging to a particular group". This refers to the characters of Cherry, because she moves between the Socs and the greasers. She is a Soc but she helps the greasers and works as "a spy". It also refers to Randy who decides after his best friend gets killed, that he is leaving town. He figures he can't go to the rumble and fight the greasers because he has had an epiphany and sees its uselessness, but he can't stay in town because he will be labeled a coward for not fighting. Ponyboy is also an outsider in these terms. He is much more sensitive and intelligent than the rest of the greasers and he struggles with his identity throughout the story. In the book, outsiders also refers to the greasers as a whole. They are the ones that do not fit into society.