What does the blue Mustang symbolize in “The Outsiders”?

Updated 21 March, 2023
In "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton, the blue Mustang represents the wealth and power of the Socs, the wealthy West Side gang that the working-class Greasers are constantly at odds with. When the Mustang first appears, it is being driven by a group of Socs who attack two Greasers, Johnny and Ponyboy. Later in the novel, when the Greasers are looking for a way to get back at the Socs, they decide to destroy the Mustang. By destroying the car, the Greasers are symbolically rebelling against the privilege and power that the Socs possess.
Detailed answer:

In "The Outsiders," the blue Mustang serves as a powerful symbol of class conflict between the Socs and the Greasers. The car is first introduced in the novel when it is being driven by a group of Socs who attack Johnny and Ponyboy, two members of the Greaser gang. The Mustang is described as being shiny and new, a stark contrast to the old and worn-out cars that the Greasers drive. This symbolism reinforces the class divide between the two groups.

As the story progresses, the blue Mustang takes on even greater significance as the Greasers seek revenge against the Socs. When Ponyboy and Johnny are forced to flee after killing a Soc in self-defense, they find refuge in an abandoned church. It is there that they read a passage from "Gone with the Wind" that describes the southern aristocracy being defeated by the working class. The two boys are inspired by this passage and decide to fight back against the Socs.

One way they do this is by destroying the blue Mustang. By targeting the car, the Greasers are symbolically attacking the privilege and power of the Socs. The Mustang represents not only the Socs' wealth, but also their ability to act with impunity. In the scene where the car is destroyed, the Greasers are able to get one over on the Socs for once, showing that they are capable of fighting back against the oppression they face. The destruction of the Mustang is a cathartic moment for the Greasers, allowing them to feel empowered in the face of the social and economic forces that are working against them.

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