What are some similarities and differences between the greasers and the Socs in The Outsiders?

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Many similarities and differences exist between the Socs and the greasers in the novel The Outsiders. At the onset of the novel, Ponyboy, the narrator of the story, explains how the term Soc is short for the Socials, or “the jet set, the West-side rich kids” (Hinton 2). This differs greatly from his description of his own group, the greasers who are “poorer than the Socs and the middle class” (Hinton 3), and “wilder, too” (Hinton 3). The differences do not end there. Ponyboy goes on to elaborate further that the Socs “get editorials in the paper for being a public disgrace one day and an asset to society the next” (Hinton 3). While greasers on the other hand are ”almost like hoods” (Hinton 3), who “hold up gas stations and have a gang fight once in a while” (Hinton 3), and who are viewed by society as similar to juvenile delinquents, rather than celebrated like their Soc counterparts. 

Despite these differences, some similarities do exist between the groups. This is not realized until later in the novel when Ponyboy meets a Soc girl named Cherry Valance. Cherry tells Ponyboy that the greasers are not the only ones who struggle and that “Things are rough all over” (Hinton 35). Later, she elaborates when she tells Ponyboy how the Socs are “always going and going and going and never asking where” (Hinton 38). She also confides in him that she will lie about things, such as enjoying beer blasts even though she does not, just to fit in with her friends. It is later in the novel that Ponyboy comes to the realization that despite each group having its own unique problems, they are similar to one another in that both have struggles that they have to deal with in their day-to-day lives.

Hope this helps!

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