What do cherry and ponyboy say is the real difference between the Socs and greasers?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

When Ponyboy and Johnny are at the drive-in movies, they strike up a conversation with two Socs girls named Cherry and Marcia. Ponyboy and Cherry end up walking together to buy some popcorn at the concession stand, and they have an insightful conversation regarding the differences between their social groups....

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

When Ponyboy and Johnny are at the drive-in movies, they strike up a conversation with two Socs girls named Cherry and Marcia. Ponyboy and Cherry end up walking together to buy some popcorn at the concession stand, and they have an insightful conversation regarding the differences between their social groups. Ponyboy initially comments that he thinks money separates the Greasers from the Socs. However, Cherry corrects Ponyboy by saying that his social group has an entirely different set of values. Cherry proceeds to tell Ponyboy,

"You're more emotional. We're sophisticated—cool to the point of not feeling anything. Nothing is real with us" (Hinton, 33).

She continues to describe the life of a Soc as being in one big rat race, where everyone is competitive and pretentious. Pony considers her point of view and agrees that the Socs are always "behind a wall of aloofness." Pony then says,

"It's not money, it's feeling—you don't feel anything and we feel too violently" (Hinton, 34).

Overall, Ponyboy and Cherry agree that what separates both of their gangs is their different attitudes and values. The Socs are unsympathetic, distant, and cold, while the Greasers are genuine, emotional, and sympathetic toward each other.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In chapter three, Cherry and Ponyboy discuss the real difference between greasers and Socs.  Ponyboy suggests that the main difference was "money that separated us", but Cherry also thought that there was something more that made the groups different(38).  According to Cherry Valance, the main dividing factor was how the two groups dealt with their emotions:

"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" (38). 

Cherry laments that her group, the Socs, live in a "rat race" existence, always looking for more and never finding it.  Ponyboy understood what Cherry meant and agreed with her--the Socs were not emotional enough, and the greasers felt everything "too violently" (38).  The disparity between the two groups resulted in a personality clash of epic proportions, but at least in this moment, Cherry and Ponyboy saw eye to eye. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team