What symbols are used to convey the social status of the greasers and the Socs in The Outsiders?
Hinton uses visible symbols in The Outsiders to characterize further the differences between the Socs and greasers. The greasers are most well-known for their hair. In chapter five when Johnny suggested that he and Ponyboy both cut their hair, Ponyboy discusses the importance of hair to the greaser psyche:
Our hair labeled us greasers, too--it was our trademark. The one thing we were proud of. Maybe we couldn't have Corvairs or madras shirts, but we could have hair" (71).
Ponyboy's description of the importance of hair to a greaser underscores its significance to defining the boys' social status. Similarly, Ponyboy also draws attention to the symbols of the Socs' social status--Corvairs and madras shirts. The Socs' wealth enabled them to have much more expensive status symbols like the 'tuff' cars that appear in the novel: Corvairs, Mustangs, Stingrays.