What does Cherry say is the real separation between the Socs and the Greasers in S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders?

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In Chapter 3, Ponyboy and Cherry are having a conversation regarding the differences between each of their social groups. Cherry mentions that the differences between Socs and Greasers go beyond finances and believes the Greasers are more "emotional." She tells Ponyboy the Socs are superficial and only concerned with their outward appearances and material wealth. She compares her social group to a "rat-race" where everyone is trying to one-up each other. Cherry also tells Ponyboy that the Socs are "cool to the point of not feeling" (Hinton 33). Cherry realizes that Socs hide their emotions and do not discuss real issues because they are too concerned with maintaining appearances and looking "cool." The Greasers, on the other hand, are "real" and not afraid to be themselves. They have nothing to hide because they have no one to try to impress. The Greasers are comfortable discussing their issues with one another, unlike the Socs, who pretend that their lives are perfect when they actually feel empty inside. Pony summarizes it perfectly: "Socs were always behind a wall of aloofness, careful not to let their real selves show through" (Hinton 34).

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You can find the answer to this question on page 33, the beginning of Chapter 3.

Ponyboy is speculating about what separates the Socs and Greasers, because he realizes that Cherry and Marcia are a lot like Two-Bit and himself when the movie ends and the boys offer the girls a lift home in Two-Bit's car.

Ponyboy thinks it's just money that separates them, but Cherry says money's part of it, but there's more separating them than money alone: "'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.'"

Cherry goes on to say that she is not always honest with her friends: "'I'll catch myself talking to a girl-friend, and realize I don't mean half of what I'm saying.'" Then she tells Ponyboy that Socs are always on the go, trying to achieve more, and never satisfied with what they have: "'It seems like we're always searching for something to satisfy us, and never finding it.'"

The conversation finishes when the two of them realize that they watch the same sunset from different sides of town: "Maybe the two different worlds we lived in weren't so different. We saw the same sunset" (page 35).

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Ponyboy had always believed that the Socs were spoiled and cruel, but meeting Cherry Valance at the drive-in makes him start to question his beliefs.  They form a fast friendship that night, and are both able to open up and share their thoughts on the two gangs and the conflicts between them.  When Ponyboy tells Cherry about the night that the Socs attacked Johnny, she wants to make him understand that not all Socs act that way.  She knows that he thinks that all of the Socs have perfect lives, but urges, "We have troubles you've never even heard of. You want to know something?" She looked me straight in the eye. "Things are rough all over."  She hopes that he will begin to see that The Socs are people too.

As they are walking home from the movie, they continue their conversation, this time focusing on what makes the Socs and the Greasers so different.  Ponyboy offers his thought that maybe it was just money, but Cherry disagrees, saying, "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."  What Cherry says is the main difference between the Socs and Greasers is their emotions.  The Socs have to bottle up all of their thoughts and emotions in order to fit in and live up to their society's standards.  The Greasers, alternatively, throw caution to the wind and let their emotions get them into trouble.  Finally, Ponyboy understands, saying, ""That's why we're separated...It's not money, it's feeling--- you don't feel anything and we feel too violently."

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Cherry and Ponyboy discuss the separation between the Socs and the greasers at the start of chapter 3 of The Outsiders. This discussion comes after Cherry has already told Ponyboy that things are not only bad for the greasers, but for the Socs as well. She goes on to tell him that sometimes when talking to friends she will “realize I don’t mean half of what I’m saying” (Hinton 38). She confides in him why she believes the two groups are separated from one another. She tells Ponyboy the real separation occurs because the greasers have a different set of values from the Socs. The greasers are “more emotional” and the Socs are “sophisticated-cool to the point of not feeling anything” (Hinton 38). She describes Soc life as “always going and going and going, and never asking where" (Hinton 38). Ponyboy builds on this idea when he tells Cherry, “It’s not money, it's feeling—you don’t feel anything and we feel too violently” (Hinton 38). This dialogue between the two shows the real reason behind why the Socs and the greasers are separated from one another.

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Cherry says that what really separates the Socs and greasers is that the Socs don’t feel, and the greasers feel too much.

When Ponyboy meets Cherry, he is surprised that they have so much to talk about.  They are from two completely different social classes, and usually their too classes are just fighting each other.  Pony remarks that there is a “basic sameness” to them, and comments that it might just be money that separates them.

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. (ch 3)

As they realize later, they see the same sunset.  Pony and Cherry are both different from the rest of their class, because they think about these things when most of the others just hate each other and rumble, fighting almost out of boredom and with no real reason.  

One fight leads to another, which leads to another, because when one does something, the other needs to act to avenge what was done.  It is a vicious cycle of violence and class warfare, and not everyone wants to take part in it.  Pony and Cherry don't.

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Cherry hates fighting and serves as a go-between for the two groups. She doesn't succeed in stopping the fighting, but she does help increase understanding. She delivers two important revelations to Pony. The first is that Socs are not without their own problems, and the other is that rich people are capable of watching sunsets, just as Pony does.

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