The Outsiders- by SE Hinton Why Gangs Portrayed in this Novel are Real

Essay by zero_the_heroJunior High, 8th gradeA+, April 2005

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Gangs. This is what is portrayed in SE Hinton's novel, The Outsiders. Two different gangs from opposite ends of the social ladder clash in this epic novel of social tension between two rival groups, the Socs and the Greasers. The main character, 14-year-old Ponyboy, is a Greaser who lives under the cycle of poverty and endless pressure from the Socs. They are the upper class Westside crowd who are accepted in society. The Greasers, in contrast, struggle to put food on the table and are social outcasts. SE Hinton has mentioned about gangs several times in her novel. But what really defines a gang? According to some, it is, "A group of young people who spend time together for social reasons." While others define gangs as, "A group of people who work together for some criminal or antisocial purpose." Although these are the most popular ones, it does not mean there aren't more definitions, as it is an ever evolving phenomenon.

In the Outsiders, many different gangs are depicted. This led me to believe that the gangs are very real in this tale. The main reason behind this is the fact they give three main characteristics of a gang. They are; the fear they instill on the general public, the marked territory, and rivalry between other gangs.

The fear they instill on the general public is there for reputation purposes. If you're an established person with a reputation to protect, none of the very many below you will question your authority. The fear the community has for the Greasers, as well as the Socs, was evident when Ponyboy stated that, "One day the Socs are a menace to society, the next they are the greatest contributions." On the other hand, Greasers were always known as a peril to...