The Outsiders Questions and Answers
by S. E. Hinton

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In what ways are Greasers different from the Socs in The Outsiders?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Greasers are different from the Socs in that they come from the wrong side of the tracks. They are outcasts from respectable society, members of a class looked down on and despised by those from more upscale neighborhoods. It is this outcast status that gives the Greasers a strong sense of solidarity. It's very much a case of Greasers versus the World. The Greasers know that if they stick together then they'll be so much better for it.

As for the Socs, they lack that sense of being part of something bigger. As they occupy a position higher up the social ladder than the Greasers, they can treat gang life with less seriousness, as all a bit of a game. Their different attitude can be seen most clearly in relation to fighting. While Greasers fight because they have to, Socs fight because they actually get a kick out of it. (No pun intended.)

As the Socs come from good families, they don't see the gang as an alternative family in the way that the Greasers do. There's a sense in which they're playing at gangs—indulging in a hobby of which they'll soon get bored before they grow up and take their privileged place in the adult world.

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litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The main difference between the greasers and the Socs is that they are from different social classes.

In The Outsiders, we learn that Socs are from the higher social class and greasers are from the lower social class.  The greasers are different from the Socs in other ways than being poorer though.  The two groups have set themselves at odds.  There is the social club, and the street, and never can the two cross.  Most of the greasers can’t stand the Socs, and vice versa.  They hate each other on principle, and stand up for one another.

Greasers are almost like hoods; we steal things and drive old souped-up cars and hold up gas stations and have a gang fight once in a while. (Ch. 1)

Pony comments that while he considers himself a greaser and is proud to be a greaser, he does not necessarily love to fight and he would not rob someone for fun or even for the money.  He just goes along...

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