Socs from The Outsiders

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we will explore the characteristics of the typical Soc from the S.E. Hinton novel, 'The Outsiders'. We will see that Ponyboy, the narrator, has a change in perspective as the novel progresses.

The Socs

'We get jumped by the Socs. I'm not sure how you spell it, but it's the abbreviation for the Socials, the jet set, the West-side rich kids,' the narrator, Ponyboy, explains. The Greasers are at the bottom, then there is a middle class, and at the top of the chain is the Socs. Socs like to 'jump Greasers and wreck houses and throw beer blasts for kicks, and get editorials in the paper for being a public disgrace one day and an asset to society the next.' Parents of the Socs do not want their kids associating with Greasers, but there are very few other rules. While the Soc kids were practically begging for boundaries, the parents only blamed themselves if their pride and joy did something wrong.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Book Cover

Below the Surface

On the surface, the Socs are sophisticated and cool. They get good grades, wear nice clothes, drive tuff cars, and have a lot of money. However, once you break through the surface, you can see that the Socs were taught at an early age to put up a wall and hide who they really are. They say fake things just to have something to say and do not trust each other at all. The Socs have so much time and money to spare that they do not know what to do with themselves. They are constantly looking for something to satisfy them, but are unable to find anything because they already have everything they want.

Randy drives a blue Mustang.
Blue Mustang

East Versus West

Why do they hate the Greasers? There is not a definite answer. Maybe it's because they hope Greasers will give them the boundaries their parents will not. Maybe it's because the Soc girls seem to be fascinated with Greasers. Maybe there is a degree of jealousy because Greasers get to be themselves. Whatever the reason, a Greaser has to be careful about walking alone because a group of Socs will surround him and beat him for no reason. Some of the Socs carry switchblades, which means that if the Greasers want to protect themselves, they need to carry switchblades, too. The Greasers know that it's a battle they can't win because even if the Greasers win a fight, the Socs will still have all the breaks.

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