In S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders, what is a "soc" as opposed to a "greaser," and why are they rivals?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The word "soc" comes from the word "social." It's a nickname given to kids whose parents are rich and they live on the rich side of town. The word "greaser" is a reference to the poorer kids who use gel to slick their hair back in a rebellious way. The rivalry between the two groups is not a new one. Throughout all generations of time there have always been class conflicts. The rich people look down on the poor people. The poor people resent the rich people. The stereotypes are continued to be believed by each group as they continue to separate themselves from each other and hold on to grudges. When Ponyboy (a greaser) meets Cherrie (a soc) though, they both realize that people shouldn't be lumped in with groups. Everyone is different. Just because one person is born into on class of people doesn't mean that they will act like the group. Sadly, without more genuine interactions between classes, the groups tend to continue on with their biases and the viscious cycle of misunderstand and prejudice continue.

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The Outsiders

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