in what way is there a sense of futility in the novel?
In The Outsiders, the sense of futility is most clearly expressed when Ponyboy speaks to the Soc Randy, one of Bob's friends. Randy explains that Bob is merely a product of his immediate society, primarily his parents, and Ponyboy essentially agrees that they are born and raised into their respective groups. Though Hinton spends a great deal of time developing the concept that the Socs and Greasers are the same in many ways ("It seemed funny to me that the sunset she saw from her patio and the one I saw from the back steps was the same one. Maybe the two different worlds we lived in weren't so different. We saw the same sunset."), she also uses the characters--their lines in specific--to display the static nature of their stations (Cherry explains that though she likes Pony, she will have to ignore him in public, though it is "nothing personal"). Ponyboy will always be a Greaser; Cherry will always be a Soc, because their social status is as much a part of who they are as their ethnicity or heritage.