The Outsiders In S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders

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Is it better to be an individual or conform to expectations just to fit in like others? This choice is faced by Ponyboy Curtis, the narrator, throughout S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. He belongs to the Greasers, a group of delinquent friends, who are viewed by many as poor and dangerous, while the rival Socs are viewed as rich, smart, and powerful causing the Greasers to envy them. Ponyboy learns from Randy Adderson, a Soc who is trapped by stereotype threat, that their lives are not as perfect as he expected it to be and they too face problems. In addition, Ponyboy tries to act tough and fit in with the rest of gang, but his Greaser companions, such as Two-Bit Matthews, teach him to embrace his own characteristics which sets him apart from…show more content…
Hinton’s The Outsiders, the Greasers and Socs, like Randy and Two-Bit Matthews, are affected by the decision of accepting stereotypes and conforming to their group’s external expectations just to fit in with the rest or being an individual, like Ponyboy Curtis, embracing their own talents and personalities, and standing apart from the rest of the…show more content…
Ponyboy Curtis embraces the stereotype of the Greasers when he thinks, “We both need a haircut and some decent clothes. I looked down at my worn, faded blue jeans, my too-big shirt, and Dally’s worn-out jacket. They’ll know we’re hoods the minute they see us.”(Hinton 64) This shows that the Greasers were classified by others because of their cheap clothes and long oily black hair despite their personality and whether they fit with the group or not. This conveys that Ponyboy accepts the fact that he is a hoodlum and is proud of it. In addition, Randy conveys that he and other Socs are trapped by stereotype threat because “he kept trying to make someone say ‘No’ and they never did. They never did. That was what he wanted. For somebody to tell him ‘No’. To have somebody lay down the law, set the limits, give something solid to stand on. That’s what we all want, really.” (Hinton 116) This shows that the Socs have the stereotype of being spoiled, wealthy, and privileged. However, most Socs hate their stereotype of being spoiled and attempt dangerous and illegal acts to anger their parents to stop their pampering. The parents of the Socs believe that it is their fault for their sons and daughters acting that way causing the Socs to think that the parents do not care about them. Therefore, both Greasers and Socs were trapped and forced to accept stereotype
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