The title of this is story is interesting because of many things. In one way, the title refers to the status of the Greasers being the outsiders of the story. This is shown in the form of the Greasers, who are categorized and perceived to be in the lower class. Whilst, the upper-class kids are perceived to be the Socs. As Ponyboy writes to us, the readers, it is always perceived to us that the Greasers are outcasts of their society because of the way they are treated. Ponyboy tells us that the Socs get editorials in the paper for being a public disgrace one day and an asset to society the next (Hinton 4). The Greasers, however, are assumed to commit the infringements and are the go to group to blame for every misconception. The Greasers are more likely to be found by their crimes than the Socs because they came from the wrong world everyone else came from. One thing I also noticed with the title is that it refers to multiple Outsiders in their society.
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Ponyboy realizes this later in the book and tells us how similar both groups (Socs and Greasers) of the story are. He found this out through the many conversations he had with other Soc’s such as Cherry and Randy. He realizes that they are similar, and even though they share such different identities and morales, that the Socs also have the perception of being Outsiders too. He explains this discovery through the following lines, Maybe the two different worlds we live in were not so different. We saw the same sunset (Hinton 35). And as the story comes to an end, Ponyboy learns that everyone is an outsider to something, it is just how we see it. This could be supported by the following, (Hinton 152). At first we thought the title applied to just the Greasers (the obvious). But then, later in the book we learn that it applies to all young people (including the Socs). And that is what makes the title so interesting that continues to spark my curiosity.
It keeps changing its meaning as we continue to read through the book. The cover, however, did not really spark any curiosity when I first saw it. This was because It just had a picture of a person with a leather jacket (something a typical Greaser would wear). But as I continued to read through the story and looking back at the cover, I realized that it was symbolizing the Greasers and how they are perceived to be one of the many Outsiders of the story (therefore sparking my curiosity). But as you read through the story, the cover makes a bit more sense. This is because it shows us not only the identity of the Greasers but shows us how black and white (the cover was in black and white) this book really is. On a side note, I feel as if this book was an appropriate choice for our unit; Appearances versus reality. When you take a closer look at the characters and the two different groups (Greasers and Socs), you can be able to tell that their appearance is not what you always want to see when looking for their reality.
If you look at the Greasers, for example, we would think that they are a hood who just don’t care about anything (Ponyboy is an exception). But their reality very much contradicts that. If you look at each character in the Greaser gang, you would be able that they are only that way due to their environment and societal structure. At the same time, we perceive the Socs as these rich kids who own Corvairs and Ford-Mustangs. But at the same time, we also think they are mean, snotty, and people who take their wealth for granted. Their reality, however, shows us that not all of the Socs are terrible people like we categorize them to be. Some people, like Cherry Valance and Randy, are not the type of people that torture the Greasers all the time(like other Socs). Some of the Greasers, like Ponyboy, create a fake appearance to hide their reality.
For example, their (the Greasers) hair is everything to them. They use certain materials to create greasy hair, their specialty. This could be shown with Ponyboy stating the following, My hair is longer than a lot of boys wear theirs, squared off in back and long at the front and sides, but I am a greaser and most of my neighborhood rarely bothers to get a haircut (Hinton 1). They try to appear to be more expensive than they truly are. Their looks (especially their hair) make people categorize their personality to a typical Greaser, which is perceived to be a heartless and tough person. This story shows us that people’s personalities and characteristics are not necessarily correlated on how they look and act around you. And that is the point our unit is trying to make us realize and learn from.
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