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"The Outsiders" by S. E. Hinton

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Words: 543 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Jan 15, 2019

Words: 543|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Jan 15, 2019

Table of contents

  1. Hook Examples for "The Outsiders" Essay
  2. "The Outsiders" Essay Example
  3. Greasers Versus Socs in The Outsiders
    Works Cited

Hook Examples for "The Outsiders" Essay

  • 1. Startling Contrast: In the world of "The Outsiders," two rival groups, the Socs and the greasers, clash in a battle that goes beyond their economic differences. But have you ever stopped to wonder which group truly embodies the essence of societal disgrace and menace?
  • 2. Personal Revelation: As I immersed myself in the pages of "The Outsiders," I couldn't help but draw parallels between the fictional world and our own society. The contrasting lives of the Socs and the greasers offer profound insights into privilege, loyalty, and what it means to be a societal menace.
  • 3. Character Dynamics: Imagine a world where appearances and social status dictate your destiny. Dive into the gritty world of the Socs and the greasers, where loyalty, violence, and societal norms collide to shape the characters' fates.
  • 4. A Tale of Loyalty: In the midst of turmoil and violence, one theme remains constant - loyalty. Explore how the greasers, bound by an unbreakable code, stand together, while the Socs, with their privilege and detachment, reveal a different side of human nature.
  • 5. The Thin Line: "The Outsiders" forces us to confront the thin line that separates societal conformity from societal disgrace. Join me as we dissect the actions and motivations of these unforgettable characters and ask ourselves, who is the real menace?

"The Outsiders" Essay Example

I believe that, in the book “The Outsiders”, 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”. Socs wear madras shirts, wine coloured sweaters and ski jackets.

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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”. 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, “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. 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”. 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?

Greasers Versus Socs in The Outsiders

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, a novel which tells the story of the conflict between two rival gangs, Greasers and Socs, captures the voice of ponyboy and his friends to talk about stereotype threats. In Ponyboy’s role as the narrator and main character in the story, he talks about the expectations of Greasers being violent delinquents, which sways his internal expectations, giving him labels he thinks he has to live by. Ponyboy’s love for literary and academic accomplishments sets him apart from the rest of his gang, but they are still like family to him. Johnny, the “pet” of the Greasers, is a shy sixteen-year-old in a group known for being tough and having a sense of invincibility. Dallas Winston, the toughest hood in the Greasers, takes pride in his criminal record, yet works the hardest. Although Greasers don’t have the same open doors as Socs, Ponyboy soon learns that they too face internal and external expectation. Stereotype threats challenged Greasers choices, making them prone to the conformity of being a violent Greaser.

Johnny was prone to the conformity of being a violent greaser, challenging his decisions, affecting his external and internal expectations. In the article, “Nothing Gold Can Stay”, by Robert Frost, it stated how gold things don’t stay forever, which shows that precious things, like youth, don’t last forever. This means that all good things come to an end, just like Johnny’s childhood and innocence when he killed Bob. This means that after he saved the children from the burning church and the headline in the newspaper “Delinquents turn hero”, this showed that Greasers aren’t as violent as Socs portrayed them to be.“It seems like there’s gotta be someplace without Greasers or Socs…” (Hinton 42). After the incident with the Socs, Johnny wishes how there’s a place with no rival gangs. This means that Johnny wants to push past all the social divisions between the groups and not have to worry about being attacked all the time. This matters because this shows exactly how much the constant threats from Socs influences him, desperately wanting him to find a world without class division, so he can feel peace. Although Johnny faced challenges and pushed through most of them, he still was hurt within his external expectation of being a violent Greaser.

Some people challenge their decisions when they are given expectations on how to act, but others conform to the expectation given by others, like Dallas Winston. In the Outsiders, “Dally had spent three years on the wild side of New York and had been arrested at the age of ten. He was tougher than the rest of us— tougher, colder, meaner.”(Hinton 10), which shows that Dally had a reputation in New York. This means that Dally conforms to his role as a Greaser because he is an actual hood, coming from having a reputation in New York. This matters because even if Dally wanted to switch his life into being better, he couldn’t because of the stereotypical expectations of Greasers. “They spoiled him rotten. I mean, most parents would be proud of a kid like that— good-lookin ‘ and smart and everything, but they gave in to him all the time.”(Hinton 10). This shows that Dally was spoiled, but he had a reputation of being a delinquent in New York before he met the rest of the Greaser gang. This means that Dally’s parents wanted Dally to change into a person with a better lifestyle, but it was too late, so they gave up on him. This matters because people sometimes make mistakes they wouldn’t have done if they didn’t have an expectation of what to be, like stereotypes affecting Greasers. In conclusion, these examples show a reason for stereotypes because when people view these personalities, it gives them an expectation to follow up on, rather than be themselves.

Greasers and Socs have different lifestyles, yet still have many things in common with each other, such as being prone to stereotype threats, challenging their decisions. “I don ‘t really think a beer blast on the river bottom is super-cool, but I ‘ll rave about one to a girl-friend just to be saying something.'(Hinton 33), to show that Cherry says things she doesn’t mean. This means that Cherry tries to fit in by acting fake and cool, not her true self. This matters because Cherry feels to fulfill the needs of belonging by doing something she doesn’t really mean to do, but because of stereotype threats, she is forced to. In the article, “Herd Behavior” by CommonLit, “Psychologists posit that a “group mind” can overtake a mob and embolden people to act in ways they would not individually, increasing the likelihood that situations become violent.” to show that Cherry acts in ways she would not if she was thinking individually. This means that Cherry’s external expectation of being sophisticated and cool can affect how she feels internally. This matters because Cherry facing the stereotypes of being a perfect Soc affected her inner thoughts of needing to be like every other Soc to fit in and not feel left out. Cherry was affected by societal expectations, making her think she had to conform to be like everyone else.

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Stereotypes can affect the internal and external expectations of a person, especially when they are being pressured, being a part of a rival gang. Socs had expectations of wearing expensive clothes and always being sophisticated, but also cool and popular. Greasers were expected to be delinquents with raggedy and worn down clothes, rather than seen as individuals. This affected both Greaser and Socs making them think they had to live up to that expectation, and always fit in with the crowd, rather than be what they wanted to. Although stereotypes made Socs and Greasers conform to their expectations, they still found a way to prove and realize that they are individuals with their own lifestyles and choices.

Works Cited

  1. Frost, R. (1923). Nothing gold can stay. In New Hampshire (pp. 52-53). Henry Holt and Company.
  2. Hinton, S. E. (1967). The Outsiders. Viking Press.
  3. Hinton, S. E. (1995). The Outsiders: 30th anniversary edition. Puffin Books.
  4. Jenkins, R. (2005). Rethinking ethnicity: Identity, categorization and power. Sage Publications.
  5. Jones, M. (1994). Socialization in context: Connection, regulation, and autonomy in the family, school, and neighborhood, and with peers. Journal of personality and social psychology, 67(4), 536-548.
  6. Kendall, F. E. (2006). Sociology in our times. Cengage Learning.
  7. Macionis, J. J. (2018). Sociology. Pearson.
  8. Schwalbe, M. (2017). The sociologically examined life: Pieces of the conversation. Oxford University Press.
  9. Scott, J., & Marshall, G. (2005). A dictionary of sociology. Oxford University Press.
  10. Wacquant, L. (2009). Punishing the poor: The neoliberal government of social insecurity. Duke University Press.
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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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“The Outsiders” by S. E. Hinton. (2022, Jun 08). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-outsiders-by-s-e-hinton/
““The Outsiders” by S. E. Hinton.” GradesFixer, 08 Jun. 2022, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-outsiders-by-s-e-hinton/
“The Outsiders” by S. E. Hinton. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-outsiders-by-s-e-hinton/> [Accessed 5 Dec. 2023].
“The Outsiders” by S. E. Hinton [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Jun 08 [cited 2023 Dec 5]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-outsiders-by-s-e-hinton/
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