The Outsiders

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade August 2001

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In The Outsiders, many serious problems are faced. The main character, Ponyboy, is put into situations that he must handle much more maturely than most fourteen year olds are ready for. As a rebellious youth, he has many conflicts with various authority figures. When one conflict with a peer goes too far, he has to deal with many authority figures at once, and the whole situation is much more than he can handle.

One of Ponyboy's biggest conflicts is with the police. As a "greaser", most people that do not live within his community look down on him. The elite group of teenagers from the other, richer side of town, the "Socs" love to start fights with all greasers. When the police get involved, they automatically side with the wealthier, more educated Socs. This causes many problems for greasers, whether the fight was their fault or not.

If anything ever goes wrong, such as a robbery, a greaser is blamed. Because of this, Ponyboy has an awful relationship with all officers of authority. When his friend Johnny kills a Soc in self-defense, he and Ponyboy must run away, because they know that no police officer will believe their story.

Another point of authority that Ponyboy has trouble dealing with is his older brother, Darry. Their parents are dead, so Darry has to raise Ponyboy and his older brother, Soda. After Ponyboy and Johnny return, Darry tries to keep Ponyboy from going out as much as he used to. While Darry is just trying to protect Ponyboy, it seems as if Darry is being mean. Ponyboy runs away again, because he feels unloved.

Ponyboy's problems with the police are never really completely solved. However, in the end of the book, the police look at him as...