What are some of the similarities between the Socs and the Greasers?
Superficially, the greasers and the Socs seem completely different; for example, Ponyboy describes greasers as poorer than the Socs and less likely to conform to societal expectations. As the plot of The Outsiders progresses, however, it becomes clear to Ponyboy, and to the reader, that the greasers and the Socs have much more in common than Ponyboy first thought.
The connection between Cherry Valance and Ponyboy that enables them to talk openly about themselves best illustrates the similarities between greasers and Socs. She talks of the tendency of the Socs to put forth an image of aloofness, while Ponyboy talks of the passionate nature of greasers; though aloofness and passion seem to be opposites, they are simply two different ways of experiencing strong emotion. Members of both groups experience strong emotions like love and hate, rage and excitement, but the Socs feel the need to hide it, while the greasers feel the need to act on it. As well, members of both groups feel grief when they lose one of their own, and they feel vindication when they avenge that loss.
Later in the novel, when Cherry acknowledges with Ponyboy that the sunset seen from the West side is just as beautiful as the sunset seen from the East, they share a moment of recognition. This recognition of the similarities between the greasers and the Socs is poignant; though Cherry and Ponyboy understand that they have more in common than meets the eye, that recognition is not enough to prevent more deaths and more conflict between the greasers and the Socs.
Despite their many differences, the Greasers and Socs have several things in common that surprise Ponyboy as he develops into a mature, understanding individual. After Ponyboy has an enlightening conversation with Cherry, he discovers that the Socs have struggles and realizes that everything is not always perfect in their world. Cherry explains to Ponyboy that the Socs have difficulty expressing their true feelings and suffer from constantly having to maintain appearances. Similarly, the Greasers also have difficulties in their lives, which focus more on financial instability and growing up in dysfunctional homes. Both the Greasers and Socs also have family issues. Randy Adderson tells Pony that Bob Sheldon struggled to find someone who would tell him "No," and Johnny's issues involving his parents are illustrated. Both gangs also enjoy thrilling experiences, fighting, and breaking the law. Also, the Greasers and Socs both consist of adolescents who make questionable decisions and are well known throughout their respective communities.
At the beginning of Chapter 3, Pony says that the two types of people are essentially the same, down deep. But all he really talks about is how they are different. He and Cherry decide that they are different because the Greasers let their real selves show and the Socs keep things bottled up. But we're not really told why they're similar.
To me, what makes them similar is that they are both groups of teens who are somehow trying to figure out a way to deal with what society thinks of them and expects of them. The Socs have to deal with the expectations that come with being rich. The Greasers have to deal with people thinking they are thugs. But both groups are really trying to figure out how to be themselves.
I think that's a lot of what this book is about -- teens trying to be themselves while dealing with what society thinks they are and what society tries to push them to be. Both the Greasers and the Socs have to deal with that.
In the book "The Outsiders" the similarities between the Socs and the Greasers are not often seen, but are very real. Both groups participate in violence in the form of fights and threats. The Socs as well as the Greasers have the dynamics of family problems. They are also all teens and young adults trying to be connected to something bigger than them. They need the people within the independent social groups to help them to feel strong and accepted. They have dreams about their futures but seem trapped in their tumultuous present. There also appears to be some degree of jealousy from one group to the next.