In chapter 7 of the novel The Outsiders by S.
E. Hinton, Ponyboy explains to Two-bit ??????He aint a Soc??™ I said, ???He??™s just a guy??™??? (Hinton, 118). Ponyboy and Two-bit are part of a group of teenage boys that make up the gang called the greasers on the East Side of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Living on the East Side meant that they were lower class and underprivileged. Ponyboys parents were killed in a car accident. He lives with his two older brothers Darry and Soda, who are also greasers. The Socs, who live on the West Side, are the greaser??™s rival gang. They are higher-income teenagers living in a paradise with no problems whatsoever from the greasers point of view.
To some Socs, greasers are trash to beat up for fun. Other Socs, such as Cherry Valance, think that everyone should be seen as equal. Through events in the novel, Ponyboy??™s opinion of the Socs changes from dislike to understanding. You can hate a person for countless reasons. The Socs gave Ponyboy and the rest of the greasers more than enough reasons to push them over the edge.
Jumping greasers is a common Soc hobby. For example, the Socs beat up Johnny Cade, a greaser, to the point that he was paranoid later on in the book. One of those same Socs involved in Johnny Cade??™s beating, named Bob, tried to drown Ponyboy, leading Johnny to stab and kill Bob in Ponyboy??™s defense. Due to their social status, the Socs rarely were punished for their crimes, which angered the greasers. The greasers were always the first to be blamed for crimes, even those they did not commit. The greasers viewed the Socs??™ world as perfect and did not see the reason to why the Socs had to pick fights with them. Sometimes it takes a tragedy to change the way you see things.
In the novel, Ponyboy experiences events that change the way he sees Soc life. After Johnny killed Bob, one of Bob??™s close friends, Randy, who is also a member of the Socs, talked to Ponyboy about his life. ??????I??™m sick of all this. Sick and tired. Bob was a good guy.??™??? (Hinton, 116) Randy explains Bob??™s troubled life to Ponyboy, ??????He kept trying to make someone say ???No??™ and they never did. They never did. That was what he wanted.
For somebody to tell him ???No??™. To have somebody lay down the law, set the limits, give him something solid to stand on. That??™s what we all want, really.??™??? (Hinton, 116). Meeting the female Soc, Cherry, early in the novel also impacts Ponyboy??™s view on Soc life. ??????Things are rough all over??™??? (Hinton, 35) Cherry states after hearing about the greaser??™s life. She was talking about her life as a Soc, ??????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.??™???(Hinton, 38). After this conversation, Ponyboy begins to realize that in some ways his life is better than the lives of the Socs. The grass isn??™t always greener on the other side. Ponyboy??™s revelation led him to understand that the Socs were really people just like himself. ??????Hey,??™ I said suddenly, ???can you see the sunset real good from the West Side??™ She blinked, startled, then smiled. ???Real good.??™ ???You can see it good from the East Side, too,??™ I said quietly.
??? (Hinton, 129-130). Connecting to the Socs, Cherry and Randy, made it a lot easier for Ponyboy to see that their lives are just as problematic as his. Cherry and Ponyboy earlier had a conversation about the life of being a Soc, which opened his eyes to realize how similar both their lives were. Both groups care for their friends as if they were family and fought for each other.
Losing friends and committing felonies are problems both groups share. Yet Cherry, Ponyboy, Randy, and Johnny show us that good people still can exist, even around such measures of violence and turmoil personalities.All of these events lead Ponyboy to understand the Socs better. Although some members of the Socs may still be the bitter snobs that the greasers labeled them as, not all of them are.
Ponyboy discovered that the Socs have problems just like the greasers. The greasers and the Socs have their differences and similarities. Most members of the two gangs don??™t realize how similar their lives are. Because of the mutual hatred towards each other, few members of either gang will allow themselves to see the other??™s point of view. Ponyboy, Cherry, and Randy are part of that few.
They opened up to each other and allowed change. Where one is from does not determine the kind of person that they pursue to be.