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I believe that, in the book “Ponyboy”, the Socs, socialites or social rich kids from the west, are more of a disgrace and menace to society than the “greasers”, the poorer students from the east. The Socs’ idea of fun is throwing big parties, including beer blasts, and jumping greasers. They drive Mustangs, Corvairs and Corvettes. “Greasers are almost like hoods. They steal things, drive souped- up old cars, hold up gas stations and have gang fights once in a while”. Page 3’. Socs wear madras shirts, wine coloured sweaters and ski jackets.
The greasers wear their hair long, dress in blue jeans, T-shirts, leather jackets and tennis shoes or boots. Socs get editorials written about them in the newspaper for being a public disgrace one day and an asset to society the next. Greasers, on the other hand, are known as juvenile delinquents because of their appearance and behaviour. “We take turns getting our names in the pape”. Page 48. The Socs make underprivileged people’s lives distressing. They also jump them for kicks. Ponyboy refers to them as cold blooded men who are heartless and don’t feel anything. “We’re sophisticated – cool to the point of not feeling. Nothing is real for us”. Page 47. Still, not all Socs are like that.
For instance, Cherry Valance and Ponyboy Curtis get along, sharing their love for literature and sunsets. Their bond can fill the gap between rich and poor. As Cherry said (on page 42), “things are rough all over.” Before Ponyboy met Cherry, he thought all Socs were rich kids who acted cruelly without motivation. The Socs have no loyalty, even to each other. When Johnny stabbed Bob, all of Bob’s friends ran off leaving him lying in a pool of his own blood. “They ran when I stabbed him. They all ran…Page 70. This shows that every person is for himself. But the greasers stick together like a big family although they are just friends. They are always there for each other no matter what the situation is. For example, when Dally found out what Johnny did he gave him a gun and 50 dollars and told him where to hide until everything was clear. Dally had nothing to do with it, but he still helped them. Also, Johnny wanted to turn himself in because he didn’t think is was it fair for Ponyboy to stay, especially with Darry and Sodapop worrying about him. There were many forms of violence used in this book, both physical and emotional. The characters used their fists, switchblades and guns.
They insulted each other and called each other trash. But the Socs looked for fights to entertain themselves, usually attacking those who would be outnumbered by them. “The Socs are rough they gang up on one or two”. Page 37. The greasers only fought in self-defense or to back up a friend. When you consider privilege and underprivilege, loyalty and disloyalty, fairness and unfairness, it is obvious which group is truly a societal disgrace and menace and which is simply trying to get by in the world. The greasers band together to try to survive their environment, while the Socs prey on everyone they consider to be weaker than they are. Which do you think is more menacing?
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