Title: The Outsiders
My rating: 3/5
According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for “social”) has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he’s always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers–until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy’s skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser.
I am still amazed that S.E. Hinton was a teenager when she wrote this book. Such raw talent that has been shared in her first published novel back in 1967. A quick read about the struggles in high school between the classes, I felt a tad like I was in a more realistic version of Grease. I appreciated the breaking down the walls of the stereotypes of Socs and Greasers as a kind of truce that Randy began by not participating int he rumble. In reality, it seemed that the majority from each ‘side’ didn’t actually belong but those were there people and where they are from, so why fight that? Darry saw that Ponyboy deserved more (and so did Darry) but those were the cards he was dealt so he will do what it takes to ensure his little brother gets out to college with his brains. The themes of sacrifice and brotherhood are poignant, especially with Ponyboy’s relationship with Johnny. Hinton challenges us readers to think critically on our actions and the ‘why’ behind them, as just because something has always been one way does not mean that that’s how it should be. Something or someone needs to break the cycle, even though the rumble still goes down, but Johnny’s letter to Ponyboy begins to crack the stereotypes of the gangs and allow the brothers to forgive each other. To me, this reminded me that we are all human, no matter what cloth we were cut from.
“Maybe the two different worlds we lived in weren’t so different. We saw the same sunset” (Hinton 41)
“Soda fought for fun, Steve for hatred, Darry for pride, and Two-Bit for conformity. Why do I fight? I thought, and couldn’t think of any real good reason. There isn’t any real reason for fighting except self-defense” (Hinton 137)