The Outsiders

Topics: The Outsiders, S. E. Hinton, Life Pages: 3 (1189 words) Published: March 18, 2011
?John McKenna
Mr. Cook
English III Honors
10 May 2008
Themes of “The Outsiders”
In the novel “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton, the protagonist Ponyboy struggles with many common problems that a teenager encounters. One of these problems is when he struggles with remaining loyal to the Greasers and living a moral life. The Greasers don’t have many morals except for looking out for each other, and that is how most of them lose their innocence. This is the problem that Ponyboy must deal with. He strives to maintain the Greasers’ tough reputation while desiring to protect the innocence he has left from childhood. They will often lie, cheat, steal, and kill in order to protect their brothers. Ponyboy somewhat objects to this principle because he wants to protect his innocence. Although he cares a lot about the Greasers, he feels as though his innocence is the last positive thing he has left from his childhood. Ponyboy says about Two-Bit that “the fight for self-preservation had hardened him against caring” (Hinton 59), and Ponyboy does not want to come to that point.

Another key concept of “The Outsiders” is the difference between high and low social classes. The Socs are the typical protagonist to a group like the Greasers. The Socs are rich in good moral standing to the public eye, while the Greasers are hoods. Ponyboy states that:

“And you can’t win against them, no matter how hard
you try, because they’ve got all the breaks and even
whipping them isn’t going to change that fact.” (Hinton 11)
The public is always going to look down on the Greasers, and that give the Socs an advantage over them. Although in a street fight, the Greasers would most likely win, the Socs could very easily call the cops and put an end to the Greasers triumph. Being a Greaser would be very difficult, and a Soc would not make that any easier on them. Ponyboy realizes that the Socs and Greasers are the same people, but the only difference is coming from a different...
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