What are the themes in the text "The Outsiders"?

Expert Answers
amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the main themes is class structure or conflict.  The "Greasers" are the poor lower-economic local boys who are in constant conflict with the rich socialites known as the "Socs".  Their upbringing and values differ, so they have a hard time seeing eye-to-eye.

Another theme is the sense of belonging--who am I and where do I fit in?  This is especially true of Pony who just wants to live his life despite all the violence and danger of the gangs which surrounds him.  He reads poetry and does the kind of random acts of kindness that violent and tough gang members do not, but at the same time, his friends and himself are constantly threatened.  He is struggling with his self-identity and where he belongs...this does mold a person into the final adult creation. 

With any piece of literature, you can find other themes by filling in the following blanks:  _______________________(name of story/novel/poem) is about _____________________________ (the first thing that comes to your mind).  This final blank is the theme.  It could be good vs. evil, loss of innocence, search for self, ambition, greed, compassion, men vs. women, etc.  Just be able to point out examples in the literature that back up your thinking.  Good Luck!