If you are after a general introduction to the fascinating world of this memorable novel, you don't have to turn further than the first chapter to find one. In Chapter One, Ponyboy gives us a clear outline of his world and the rivalry that exists between the Greasers and the Socs and also other elements of his life:
We're poorer than the Socs and the middle class. I reckon we're wilder, too. Not like the Socs, who jump greasers and wreck houses and throw beer blasts for kicks, and get editorials in the paper for being a public disgrace one day and an asset to society the next. Greasers are almost like hoods; we steal things and drive old souped-up cars and hold up gas stations and have a gang fight once in a while... just like we wear our hair long and dress in blue jeans and T-shirts, or leave our shirt-tails out and wear leather jackets and tennis shoes or boots. I'm not saying that either Socs or greasers are better; that's just the way things are.
It is quite interesting that Ponyboy at his tender age has the maturity to identify that there is nothing "better" about the Socs or the greasers. In this paragraph, therefore, you clearly have the world of this novel laid out before you. Note how the class structure means that the Socs are automatically given a "better deal" than the greasers, who appear to be the menace of society. The Socs, on the other hand, receive both praise and approbation from the press.