What is Cherry's view on the difference between Socs and Greasers in The Outsiders chapters 2 and 3?

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In chapters 2 and 3 of "The Outsiders", Cherry views the difference between the Socs and the Greasers as primarily emotional, not economical. She believes the Socs are sophisticated and aloof, often emotionless, while the Greasers are more emotional and responsive. Despite their gang rivalry, Cherry understands that both groups struggle against an unbeatable system, making them more alike than they perceive.

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Social and economic factors in The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton contribute to the perceived and professed differences between the "Socs," whom Ponyboy calls "the jet set, the West-side rich kids," and the Greasers, the boys from the "East side." The Socs seem to have everything: money, possessions, cars and influence. As Ponyboy points out, "They may be a public disgrace one day and an asset to society the next."

In sharp contrast, the Greasers are more like "hoods" and come from average or poor backgrounds. They are perceived as troublemakers and instigators who are always causing a disturbance, even when the Socs, arrogant and superior, are to blame. The Greasers and the Socs hate each other for no reason except that they are from very different backgrounds and have become rival gangs, representing the class struggle.  

Cherry realizes that Ponyboy is a little different from the usual Greasers, and Ponyboy recognizes her from school but thinks "they weren't our kind. They were tuff-looking girls...." Cherry, who thinks that most Greasers are "trash," throws her coke in Dally's face when he gets a bit too smug, but still she manages to hide her fear. She becomes friends with Johnny and Ponyboy because they defend her against Dally. She doesn't think of them as "innocent. Just not...dirty." She does, however, have respect for them all and, after hearing Ponyboy relate the story of how Johnny was beaten up by the Socs for no reason, she is anxious for him to understand that "not all of us are like that."

Cherry wants Ponyboy to understand that it is not necessarily easy for the Socs. Ponyboy has always thought that it is "money" that separates the Socs from the Greasers, but Cherry points out the different value set of the Greasers: "[Y]ou're more emotional," she says. It is all very well for the Socs to be sophisticated, but Cherry knows that their kind of sophistication makes them shallow and that "nothing is real with [them]." Socs are, according to Cherry, "always searching for something." From Cherry's explanation, Ponyboy recognizes that, just as the Socs feel nothing, the Greasers feel too much and feel "violently." 

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Cherry is my favorite character in the entire novel.  The reason for that is because she is able to fluidly interact with the Greasers and the Socs.  Perhaps the reason for that is because she understands that both groups are more similar than they are different.  She understands that both groups are struggling against an opponent that neither group can beat, which is why the groups fight each other.  A person vs. person fight is tangible. But struggling against a system is not.  

Cherry is an incredibly insightful person, which is also why she is able to correctly identify the main difference between the Greasers and the Socs.  Ponyboy has always thought it was money.  The Socs are rich, spoiled kids that wear expensive clothes and get to drive daddy's car.  The Greasers are poor thugs from broken homes and struggling to feed themselves half the time. That's why Ponyboy thinks the groups are different.  Cherry says that is incorrect.  She tells Ponyboy that the real difference is that the Socs don't feel.  They are emotionless, because they are trying to maintain a cool aloofness.  The Greasers, on the other hand, are the complete opposite.  They feel everything, and respond and act on every little emotion.  

I thought maybe it was money that separated us.

"No," Cherry said slowly when I said this. "It's not just money. Part of it is, but not all. You greasers have a different set of values. You're more emotional. We're sophisticated--cool to the point of not feeling anything. Nothing is real with us. . ."

"That's why we're separated," I said. "It's not money, it's feeling--you don't feel anything and we feel too violently."

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When Ponyboy and Johnny are at the drive-in movies, they strike up a conversation with two Socs girls named Cherry and Marcia. Ponyboy and Cherry end up walking together to buy some popcorn at the concession stand, and they have an insightful conversation regarding the differences between their social groups. Ponyboy initially comments that he thinks money separates the Greasers from the Socs. However, Cherry corrects Ponyboy by saying that his social group has an entirely different set of values. Cherry proceeds to tell Ponyboy,

"You're more emotional. We're sophisticated—cool to the point of not feeling anything. Nothing is real with us" (Hinton, 33).

She continues to describe the life of a Soc as being in one big rat race, where everyone is competitive and pretentious. Pony considers her point of view and agrees that the Socs are always "behind a wall of aloofness." Pony then says,

"It's not money, it's feeling—you don't feel anything and we feel too violently" (Hinton, 34).

Overall, Ponyboy and Cherry agree that what separates both of their gangs is their different attitudes and values. The Socs are unsympathetic, distant, and cold, while the Greasers are genuine, emotional, and sympathetic toward each other.

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Cherry and Marcia were the first two Socs Pony had ever talked with before. He didn't see much difference between them and greaser girls except that Cherry loved the Beatles and hated Elvis. After Ponyboy finished telling Cherry the story about Johnny being jumped by a group of Socs, he was surprised to find her

... white as a sheet. "All Socs aren't like that..." (Chapter 3)

She assured Pony that Socs had troubles of their own and that "Things are rough all over." Money was the biggest difference between the Socs and greasers, Pony thought, but Cherry said that was only part of it. Greasers were "more emotional" than the Socs, who prided themselves on their "aloofness" and being "super-cool." The Socs were caught in a "rat race," going in circles without clear direction. Socs had more than they wanted but were always unsatisfied, always "looking for something else to want." They never showed their real feelings, and Cherry agreed when Pony decided that Socs "don't feel anything" and greasers "feel too violently." But most importantly, Cherry believed that

"We're so sophisticated--cool to the point of not feeling anything. Nothing is real for us." (Chapter 3)

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In chapter three, Cherry and Ponyboy discuss the real difference between greasers and Socs.  Ponyboy suggests that the main difference was "money that separated us", but Cherry also thought that there was something more that made the groups different(38).  According to Cherry Valance, the main dividing factor was how the two groups dealt with their emotions:

"You greasers have a different set of values.  You're more emotional.  We're sophisticated--cool to the point of not feeling anything.  Nothing is real with us" (38). 

Cherry laments that her group, the Socs, live in a "rat race" existence, always looking for more and never finding it.  Ponyboy understood what Cherry meant and agreed with her--the Socs were not emotional enough, and the greasers felt everything "too violently" (38).  The disparity between the two groups resulted in a personality clash of epic proportions, but at least in this moment, Cherry and Ponyboy saw eye to eye. 

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Chapter 2 has Ponyboy and Cherry meeting and talking at length about fairly deep topics. Ponyboy even goes so far as to share what happened to Johnny that makes him so skittish. Cherry shares with Ponyboy that Greasers are not the only ones that have it tough, and Ponyboy believes Cherry when she says that "things are rough all over." By the time chapter 3 begins, Ponyboy admits to himself that the differences between Socs and Greasers are quite minimal, yet there are differences. Ponyboy wonders what the core difference between Greasers and Socs might be, and he hypothesizes that the difference between the groups is only a difference of money.

Of course greasy girls would have acted a lot tougher, but there was a basic sameness. I thought maybe it was money that separated us.

Cherry immediately disagrees with his idea and confidently states that money is only a part of the difference between the two groups. She then fumbles through her thoughts. Cherry believes that the core difference is a values difference. She says that the Greasers are very emotional, and the Socs are almost devoid of feelings.

You greasers have a different set of values. You're more emotional. We're sophisticated—cool to the point of not feeling anything. Nothing is real with us.

Cherry gives a few examples of what she means, and she gets to a point where she admits that the Socs are always looking for something to satisfy them. Nothing works, because they are emotionally dead.

It seems like we're always searching for something to satisfy us, and never finding it.

Ponyboy is an intelligent kid, and he immediately is able to summarize what she has been saying in the last couple of paragraphs. Ponyboy realizes that what Cherry means is that the core difference between the Greasers and Socs is that Greasers feel too much and Socs don't feel enough.

"That's why we're separated," I said. "It's not money, it's feeling—you don't feel anything and we feel too violently."

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Cherry acknowledges that money is part of what separates the two groups but insists that there is far more to it. She says that while Greasers seem to feel everything, always reacting in passion, Socs are forever simply trying to fill a void that is impossible to satisfy. She says that Socs have so much that they never truly want anything, so they are always searching for something to satisfy the infinite need for more.

Cherry also reflects that she often goes along with the Soc crowd because it's what's expected, not because she finds the conversation or situation especially fulfilling: "I don't really think a beer blast on the river bottom is super-cool, but I'll rave about one to a girl-friend just to be saying something." She says that Socs are fake, while Greasers are real. Socs have a particular identity to portray, and they will do anything to maintain their social status quo.

Pony follows these reflections by telling Cherry that while Socs seem to feel nothing, Greasers feel everything too violently.

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Cherry, or Sheri Valance, is a character in the novel The Outsiders. She is a Soc girl from the west side of town, where the rich kids live. Cherry meets Ponyboy at the drive-in theater when he goes with Johnny and Dally. Cherry and her friend Marcia are seated in front of the boys. Dally begins to mess with Marcia and Cherry, which leads to an altercation and Cherry throwing a soda in Dally's face. Afterwards, Cherry and Marcia invite Ponyboy and Johnny to sit with them, describing them as “too sweet to hurt anyone” and as gentlemen.

During the movie, Ponyboy and Cherry get a chance to talk. Ponyboy tells her about his brother Sodapop dropping out of school and how Johnny had gotten jumped by some Socs. Cherry explains that not all of the Socs are bad, just as not all of the Greasers are like Dally (who she says has probably jumped someone). After the movie, the Greasers realize that Cherry and Marcia have been left and do not have a ride home. Two-Bit offers to drive them home.

On the way to Two-Bit’s car, Cherry explains the difference between Socs and Greasers. She says that part of the difference, but not all of it, is money. She says,

You Greasers have a different set of values. You’re more emotional. We are sophisticated . . . cool to the point of not feeling anything. Nothing is real with us.

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At the beginning of chapter 3, Ponyboy has an enlightening conversation with Cherry Valance regarding the differences between the Socs and Greasers. Cherry explains to Ponyboy that money is not the only difference between the gangs. Cherry explains her social group as being one big rat race, where everyone is only concerned with their reputations and outward appearances. Cherry essentially tells Pony that the Socs are superficial, callous individuals who are selfish and cold towards each other. She also describes the Greasers as being more emotional and authentic. Cherry recognizes that the Greasers are a close-knit group of friends, who genuinely care about each other. Ponyboy considers Cherry's explanation of what makes the Socs and Greasers different and agrees that the Socs are more aloof, callous individuals. After Cherry describes the differences between both gangs, Ponyboy says,

That's why we're separated . . . It's not money, it's feeling—you don't feel anything and we feel too violently (Hinton, 34).

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Cherry says Socs are different from Greasers because Socs don’t feel anything.

Pony explains that he is a Greaser, and that the two rival youth gangs in his community are the Greasers and the Socs.  He is afraid of the Socs, and they are the reason he usually never walks alone.  The Socs target Greasers.

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) 

The Greasers and the Socs fight, but they do not socialize.  This is because the differences in social class and the conflict between the two are just too strong.  Yet one day at the movies, Johnny and Pony meet a couple of Soc girls and strike up a conversation.  The girls do not like Dally, a rougher older gang member friend of theirs, but they like Johnny and Pony. 

Cherry and Pony seem to get along well and understand each other on a deep level.  It seems as if both of them do not quite fit into their gangs, and they think about things that others take for granted.  For example, Cherry explains to Pony what she considers the difference between Greasers and Socs. 

"It's not just money. Part of it is, but not all. You greasers have a different set of values. You're more emotional. We're sophisticated -- cool to the point of not feeling anything. Nothing is real with us. You know, sometimes I'll catch myself talking to a girl-friend, and realize I don't mean half of what I'm saying…” (Ch. 3) 

To Cherry, the Greasers are genuine, while Socs experience a lack of reality.  Socs do not live life as fully as the Greasers.  Greasers are able to care about things, and Socs live their lives full of privilege but numb, not really feeling.

Cherry explains to Pony that things are rough all over.  Everyone has problems, Greaser or Soc.  Pony realizes both he and Cherry see the same sunset, and this is a revelation to him.  He has a new understanding of the whole group, and an appreciation for Cherry’s insights into life.

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One of the major themes of this story is that of the social class system. Prejudice exists on all sides. The greasers see the Socs as the rich spoiled privileged kids who get everything they want and have it made. They do not believe that the Socs have any real problems. The Socs see the greasers as lesser human beings. They see the greasers as being pieces of trash with no morality or decency. Cherry explains to Ponyboy that, "It's not just money. Part of it is, but not all. You greasers have a different set of values. You're more emotional. We're sophisticated - cool to the point of not feeling anything. Nothing is real with us".  This shows the fake nature of appearances that the Socs must maintain at all times. The greasers have things very hard, being poor and looked down on, but they can at least be real; they don't have to hide behind appearances.

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Cherry already knows that there are similarities between the greasers and Socs: Cherry recognizes Dally as "the greaser who jockeys for the Slash J sometimes," and Dally knows that Cherry and Marcia are "barrel racers." After hearing Pony's story about Johnny's attack by the Soc with many rings on his fingers, Cherry realizes Pony is talking about her boyfriend, Bob. But Cherry claims that it's not just money that makes the biggest differences between greasers and Socs. She claims that the greasers are "more emotional" and the Socs are "cool to the point of not feeling anything." Cherry even admits that sometimes she realizes "I don't mean half of what I'm saying." The "greasers have a different set of values," and the Socs have everything that they ever want and "we're always searching for something to satisfy us, and never finding it." The Socs live in a world where

"Nothing is real for us."  (Chapter 3)

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To Cherry, the real difference between the greasers and the Socs is that the greasers are more of "real" people with real feelings.  To her, the Socs are fake -- they do not know how to truly feel things the way the greasers do.

She gives an example of how that applies in her own life.  She says that she talks about stuff and pretends to care about it (the example she gives is a "beer-blast"), but deep inside she totally does not care about anything.  She says that she and the rest of the Socs are just caught up in some rat race where they have everything they want but are still trying to get more.  She thinks that the greasers have more authentic lives because they are not like that.

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Cherry tells Ponyboy that the Greasers have a different set of values and that Greasers are more emotional than the Socs. Cherry says the Socs are so cool and sophisticated that they feel nothing, and they don't mean half of what they say. She says the Socs have everything, so they keep looking for something else to satisfy them. They're numb to feeling anything, and, in contrast, the Greasers feel things too much, too violently.

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