What is considered an outsider in the book The Outsiders?

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Traditionally, an outsider is someone marginalized, ignored, or rejected by mainstream society. In The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, such a description would clearly apply to the greasers. All the members of this street gang come from the wrong side of the tracks and, as such, feel that they don't fit...

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Traditionally, an outsider is someone marginalized, ignored, or rejected by mainstream society. In The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, such a description would clearly apply to the greasers. All the members of this street gang come from the wrong side of the tracks and, as such, feel that they don't fit into a society that barely notices their existence until they get into trouble.

The Socs also engage in criminal activities, but as they're from higher up the social scale than the Greasers, they get a pass from society. For Socs, this whole gang warfare business is nothing more than a game. They know that they can walk away pretty much anytime they like and go back to leading normal, respectable lives.

As outsiders, greasers don't have that option. They have nothing in their lives apart from the camaraderie that gang life gives them. Their fellow gang members act as a kind of surrogate family, giving them the support and encouragement that in an ideal world would come from their biological families.

Even if the regular gang fights between Socs and greasers stopped immediately, the ex-greasers would still be social outcasts; even if all the members of both gangs agreed to end their criminal activities for good, society would still look down on the former members of the greasers. This is because their outsider status would still ultimately be related to their social class rather than their former gangland activity.

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In The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton, the greasers are considered outsiders because they do not belong to the same socioeconomic class as the Socs, which is short for Socials. The Socs are the more privileged kids, while the greasers come from families that are generally struggling financially. The gap in their financial situations also results in a number of factors that separate the greasers from the others and make them outsiders, including their looks, their behavior, and, except for Ponyboy, their general lack of ambition.

The greasers look different from the Socs. They wear their hair long and are unkempt. Their clothes are not the same elite clothes that the wealthier kids at school can afford. In general, they look raggedy, which also contributes to their status as outsiders.

They behave differently, which also makes them outsiders. They curse and, beginning at a young age, they smoke. For instance, when Jerry tells Ponyboy not to smoke, Ponyboy remarks that he and all of his friends smoke from the time that they are young.

They are not privileged the way the Socs are. Ponyboy says of the Socs,

you can't win against them no matter how hard you try, because they've got all the breaks and even whipping them isn't going to change that fact.

The Socs are affected and shallow, while the greasers are straightforward and loyal to one another. Cherry is a Soc girl whom Ponyboy befriends. He tells her that he thinks maybe it is money that separates the two groups. She denies this:

"No," Cherry said slowly when I said this. "It's not just money. Part of it is, but not all. You greasers have a different set of values. You're more emotional. We're sophisticated—cool to the point of not feeling anything. Nothing is real with us.”

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In S. E. Hinton's classic novel, an outsider is anyone who is on the periphery of society and viewed as someone who does not belong in the popular or majority social group. Pony and the members of the Greasers are considered outsiders in their society. As Greasers, Pony, his older brothers, and his best friends are considered juvenile delinquents and perceived as social outcasts who commit crimes and disturb the peace. Since the Greasers come from a lower-class background, they are viewed with contempt by more affluent civilians and have a negative reputation throughout town. Pony continually laments the fact that he is unfairly "marked lousy" simply because he is a Greaser and resents the fact that society judges him. In addition to the Greasers being considered the primary outsiders in the story, other characters like Cherry Valance and Randy Adderson are also considered outsiders because they do not fit in with their social group. Unlike the majority of Soc members, Cherry and Randy are sympathetic, tolerant individuals, who discuss their feelings, respect Ponyboy, and question their social group. At the end of the novel, Pony reads Johnny's letter and decides to write a story dedicated to all of the adolescents who feel like they are outsiders in society, which turns out to be the actual novel The Outsiders.

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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.

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