Why is Randy Anderson an important character in The Outsiders?  

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

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Randy Anderson serves as a sharp contrast to Ponyboy in The Outsiders.  As a Soc, Hinton characterizes Randy as being too cool "to the point of not feeling anything" whereas the greasers all feel everything too violently (Hinton 39).  Randy confesses to Ponyboy that he would not have saved the children from the church, but Ponyboy challenges him that perhaps he would have, given the right circumstances.  Hinton uses Randy as a foil, or contrasting character, to highlight Ponyboy's feelings and emotions.  Both characters have begun to doubt their role as a greaser or Soc, and both Randy and Ponyboy also begin to question the purpose of violence and fighting as a way to settle the dispute between the two gangs. 

In chapter seven when Randy visits with Ponyboy at the Tasty Freeze, he confesses that he is "sick of [the fighting] because it doesn't do any good [...] Greasers will still be greasers and Socs will still be Socs" (117).  Randy and Ponyboy have both lost someone significant to them through violence, and in their own way, each of the boys has begun to discover the reality that violence and fighting has not solved any of their problems. 

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