In what way is there a sense of futility in the text The Outsiders?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In chapter seven, a major sense of futility develops as the characters, particularly Randy and Ponyboy, realize that no amount of fighting or rumbles can ever change the difficult situation between the greasers and Socs.  After Bob's death, Randy visits with Ponyboy and confesses that he "is sick of all this. Sick and tired" (116).  The grim reality of Bob's death has shaken him, giving Randy the realization that the vicious circumstances separating greasers and Socs cannot be easily mended.  He shares this belief with Ponyboy, hoping to convince him of the futility of fighting in another rumble:

"You can't win, you know that, don't you? [...] You can't win, even if you whip us.  You'll still be where you were before--at the bottom.  And we'll still be the lucky ones with all the breaks" (117).

Through the sum of their difficult experiences, Randy and Ponyboy have both come to realize the pointlessness and futility of the greaser and Soc feud.


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