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The Outsiders explores the hardships of gangland life. Growing up in a rough neighborhood, a group of childhood friends band together to form a gang only known as the Greasers. They stick together, form a family, and have each other's backs. These are all noble ideals in theory, but is being in a gang really worth it? We're not sure—but we do know that it's important to stay gold, Ponyboy.
|American Literature||20th-Century American Literature|
All American Literature
|Author||Hinton - S. E. Hinton|
Society and Class
. . . and groups that share our interests., , ,
. . . all so we can avoid being alone. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy, Sodapop, and their
friends . . . . . . are part of a gang called The Greasers.
And since belonging to a gang doesn’t exactly increase your life expectancy . . .
. . . or make you more popular . . . . . . or make your life easier . . .
. . . we have to ask the question: Why would anyone ever want to join one?
Well, being part of a gang may feel like being part of a family . . .
. . . even if it’s a dangerous one. And any family . . .
. . . is better than no family. Or maybe a gang’s biggest attraction is
protection. Pony and his friends lived in a dangerous
area . . . . . . patrolled by a rival gang called the
Socials. If they didn’t look to each other for protection
. . . . . . the Socials might find a way to be,
dare we say, unsociable. And while some people in tough situations
have the strength to go it on their own . . . . . . most of us have trouble resisting a
steady stream of peer pressure . . . . . .especially if we’re feeling hopeless
. . . . . . or bored . . .
. . . or confused. And even though we’re aware real gangs don’t
look anything like these happy hoodlums . . . . . . they might still look better than any
other option around. So if gangs offer a sense of family . . .
. . . loyalty . . . . . . and friendship . . .
. . . maybe the reasons for joining a club like this one . . .
. . . or a club like this one…
… aren’t as different as you might think. So what do you think? Do the pros outweigh
the cons? Shmoop amongst yourselves.