Who are the juvenile delinquents in The Outsiders and why?

Expert Answers
bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Most of the boys in the novel--greaser and Soc--could be considered juvenile delinquents; some of the boys are simply more serious about their law-breaking activities than others. Aside from their love of an occasional rumble, the Curtis brothers avoid the label since Darry keeps a close eye on them and they stay out of trouble with the law (until Pony's episode in the park). Although Soda is a high school dropout, he holds down a job at the local DX gas station while Darry works two jobs to support his brothers. Johnny Cade also stays out of trouble until he kills Bob Sheldon in the park, and Johnny's time on the streets is mainly an outlet for avoiding his terrible home life.

Most of the rest of the boys fit the descriptions of JDs (juvenile delinquents). Steve Randle, Soda's best friend, specializes in cars. "He could lift a hubcap quicker and more quietly than anyone in the neighborhood." Two-Bit Mathews "was famous for shoplifting" and "smarting off to cops." He drank heavily and liked to fight while brandishing his ever-present switchblade. Dallas Winston is the worst of all: He has a long criminal record in both New York City and Tulsa, and he is a true hood, "wild as the boys in the downtown outfits, like Tim Shepard's gang." Shepard, and his imprisoned brother Curly, are even more into the gangland lifestyle than Pony's gang. Tim is a "model JD," and Curly is in reform school for holding up a liquor store. Another local gang, the Brumly boys, are just as tough--"Young hoods--who would grow up to be old hoods."

Many of the Socs also can be considered juvenile delinquents, particularly Bob Sheldon, who drunkenly cruises the streets at night looking for greasers to jump and beat with his ring-filled hands.

ik9744 | Student

Darry because he been to jail multiple times...

Read the study guide:
The Outsiders

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question