The Outsiders’ written by the young, and gifted S.E. Hinton, shows the multiple challenges experienced by all those in society, whether they be rich or economically challenged. It is clearly evident that The Outsiders’ explores the life of the Socs and the Greasers and their place in society. This can be proven by discussing the two main topics, identity and heroism. ldentity explains the Greasers and the Socs’ personal appearance, fitting into society as well as their reputation. The last topic, heroism talks about how the Greasers were unexpected heroes despite their appearance and reputation for being hoods.
It can be argued that ‘The Outsiders’ explores the lives of Socs and Greasers by showing how important their identity and the need to belong was in regards to their place in society. In the novel The Outsiders’ personal appearance and reputation was a big part of fitting into society. Their appearance told people who they were, “most greasers don’t have tuff builds or anything. They’re mostly lean and king of panther-looking in a slouchy way” (p 101). The Greaser’s hair was tuff and they didn’t need to put much grease in it. The greasy hair “labelled us Greasers to0-it was our trademark” (p 55). Ponyboy, in particular, was a Greaser because his “hair is longer than a lot of boys wear theirs, squared off in back and Iong at the front and sides” (p 7). The Socs, however, wore expensive clothes and had their hair neat and cut short. The gang mentality was who you were depending on the gang you were in.
The Greasers never went into a fight ith weapons, but carried knives around for looks. Socs however liked getting into fights and often jumped people. Although as Randy said, “Fighting wouldn’t do us any good because the Greasers will be Greasers and Socs will be Socs” (p 86). Reputation was also important as it showed people who they were. Greasers were known to swear, smoke and drink, as well as steal things, whereas the Socs drove around in Mustangs, jumping people and looking for a fight. It has been proven that the Greasers and the Socs identity was important in regards to belonging as it was how other people viewed them. Heroism was also an important topic as it was unexpected for a Greaser to be a hero as they were always judged by how they looked.
Heroism is an important theme to discuss when looking at the Socs and Greasers and their place in society. In The Outsiders’ heroism was unexpected as nobody would think that a Greaser could be a hero. An important scene of heroism was shown when Ponyboy and Johnny saved some children from a burning church. Pony and Johnny “pushed open the door to the back room and found four or five little kids, about eight years old or younger, huddled in a corner” (p 69). They lifted each kid out the window to safety, but then the roofed collapsed and broke Johnny’s back and he was burned severely. Dally unexpectedly then reached into the burning church and pulled Johnny out. People were shocked when they heard that the three of them were hoods because Greasers had a reputation for stealing things and getting into fights, not saving people from danger. Jerry, the school teacher, told Pony that they were “the bravest kids l’ve seen in a long time” (p 71)… Evidentially, heroism played an important part as to looking at the Greasers and the Socs’ place in society.