Why did Pony think it was better to see Socs as “just guys” in The Outsiders?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ponyboy is relieved that the Socs are relatable, because they may not fight any more.

The greasers and the Socs have been at odds for a long time.  They fight each other consistently, due to differences in social class and neighborhood.

We get jumped by the Socs. I'm not sure how you spell it, but it's the abbreviation for the Socials, the jet set, the West side rich kids. It's like the term "greaser," which is used to class all us boys on the East Side. (Ch. 1)

It is a feud that has lasted endlessly, and continues to last, because when one group jumps the other, then they have to get revenge by jumping them back.  Pony feels frustrated by the violence and the fact that it seems to have no end, and when he meets Randy after Johnny is in the hospital, he is relieved that he is too.

Things were rough all over, but it was better that way. That way you could tell the other guy was human too. (Ch. 7)

This is a reference also to Pony's conversation with Cherry, when he first met and talked with another Soc and realized that they are not so different.  She is the first one who said this to him, about things being rough all over.  Socs have problems too.  

Randy does not want to fight.  He is mourning Bob’s death, not gunning for revenge.  He also admires Johnny’s bravery in trying to save the children in the fire.  He sees Johnny and Pony as people, so Pony is able to see him as just a guy too.

Incidents like this, when one or two gang members decide they are no longer interested in fighting, may be a drop in the bucket.  However, they demonstrate that if one gang member can see another as human, change is possible.  If one can choose not to fight, then maybe others will follow.

Read the study guide:
The Outsiders

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