Hinton's title for her novel, The Outsiders, perfectly describes the social identity of Ponyboy's greaser gang. The boys do feel like outsiders from the rest of society, because of their social status, poverty, and style choices. Much of the novel deals with Hinton's carefully constructed contrast between the rich "jet-set, the West-side rich kids" and the poor greasers; Ponyboy wonders several times throughout the novel what it would be like not to be judged solely on his greaser appearance. He compares himself to Pip from Great Expectations, his reading assignment:
"that kid, Pip, he reminded me of us--the way he felt marked lousy because he wasn't a gentleman or anything, and the way that girl kept looking down on him" (15).
The greasers do feel like outsiders from the rest of society, disparaged and untrusted. Ponyboy reflects at the end of the novel that he should "tell their side of the story, and maybe people would understand then and wouldn't be so quick to judge a boy by the amount of hair oil he wore" (179).