The Greasers in The Outsiders: a Misunderstood Subculture

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 781 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 781|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. The Outsiders and the Concept of Greasers
  2. Loyalty Among the Greasers
  3. Resilience in the Face of Adversity
  4. A Desire for Acceptance
  5. Conclusion
  6. Bibliography

In the novel The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, the greasers are a group of young, working-class boys who live on the east side of town. They are often misunderstood by society and stereotyped as troublemakers. However, a closer examination reveals that the greasers are not merely delinquents, but individuals shaped by their circumstances and seeking a sense of belonging. This essay will explore the characteristics, experiences, and struggles of the greasers, shedding light on their true nature and challenging societal preconceptions. Through analysis of the text, it becomes evident that the greasers exhibit loyalty, resilience, and a longing for acceptance, ultimately making them relatable and sympathetic figures.

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The Outsiders and the Concept of Greasers

The term "greaser" is used several times in the text to refer to the members of the greaser subculture. In this context, greasers are young boys who come from low-income families and often have a reputation for being troublemakers. However, it is important to note that the term itself carries negative connotations and is used by the wealthier, more privileged members of society to demean and marginalize the greasers. The author, S.E. Hinton, challenges this stereotype by delving into the lives of the greasers and uncovering the complexities of their characters.

Loyalty Among the Greasers

One of the defining characteristics of the greasers is their unwavering loyalty to one another. The members of the gang, including Ponyboy Curtis, Johnny Cade, and Dallas Winston, form a tight-knit bond that transcends their troubled backgrounds. This loyalty is exemplified when Johnny kills Bob Sheldon, a Soc, in self-defense to protect Ponyboy. Instead of fleeing the scene, the boys rely on each other and seek help from their fellow greasers to hide from the law. This act of loyalty demonstrates that the greasers, far from being mindless troublemakers, value and protect their own.

The theme of loyalty is further explored through the relationship between Ponyboy and his brothers, Sodapop and Darry. Despite their differences, the Curtis brothers rely on each other for emotional support and guidance. Ponyboy acknowledges this bond when he reflects, "I couldn't ask for better brothers. They were always there for me." This loyalty among the greasers not only strengthens their sense of belonging but also challenges the stereotype of greasers as individuals who lack familial connections and support.

Resilience in the Face of Adversity

The greasers face numerous challenges and hardships in their daily lives. Poverty, violence, and lack of opportunities often characterize their existence. However, rather than succumbing to despair, the greasers exhibit remarkable resilience. They continue to fight against the odds, refusing to let their circumstances define them.

One example of this resilience is seen in Ponyboy's determination to succeed academically despite the lack of support and resources. He states, "I make good grades and have a high IQ and everything, but I don’t use my head." This statement highlights the internal conflict faced by Ponyboy and other greasers who possess intellectual potential but are hindered by their social environment. Their resilience is further evidenced by their refusal to conform to societal expectations and their insistence on remaining true to themselves.

Furthermore, the greasers' resilience is exemplified by their ability to find solace and joy in the midst of adversity. Whether it is through their love for literature, their passion for cars, or their strong camaraderie, the greasers find ways to maintain their spirits and preserve their individuality.

A Desire for Acceptance

Underneath their tough exterior, the greasers long for acceptance and understanding. They are aware of the societal stigma attached to their subculture, and this fuels their desire to prove themselves. The greasers often find solace in the company of each other, as they are the only ones who truly understand their struggles.

One of the most poignant examples of this longing for acceptance is Johnny's plea to Ponyboy to "stay gold." Johnny recognizes that maintaining a sense of innocence and vulnerability is crucial in a world that often devalues and misunderstands them. This desire for acceptance drives the greasers to seek validation and respect, not through societal norms, but through their own actions and relationships.


In conclusion, the greasers in The Outsiders are far from the delinquents they are often perceived to be. Through their loyalty, resilience, and desire for acceptance, they emerge as complex individuals shaped by their circumstances. By challenging societal preconceptions and delving into the lives of the greasers, S.E. Hinton humanizes and sympathizes with this misunderstood subculture. The greasers in The Outsiders serve as a powerful reminder that judgment based on appearance and stereotypes can prevent us from truly understanding and connecting with others. It is only through empathy and an open mind that we can overcome these barriers and embrace the diversity of human experiences.

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Hinton, S.E. The Outsiders. Penguin Books, 1967.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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The Greasers in The Outsiders: A Misunderstood Subculture. (2024, Jun 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 20, 2024, from
“The Greasers in The Outsiders: A Misunderstood Subculture.” GradesFixer, 13 Jun. 2024,
The Greasers in The Outsiders: A Misunderstood Subculture. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 Jul. 2024].
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