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Gang Members: A Truly Destructive Lifestyle

1846 words - 7 pages

A gang is an organized group of criminals who form together for a common goal or identity. Gangs can be formed based upon race, ethnicity, territory, or money making activities, and are generally made up of members varying anywhere between the age of 12 to 24. There are a variety of reasons behind the formation of gangs, whether it be for protection, profit, or because a group of people share a common trait. A gang rivalry is formed when two or more gangs grow to despise each other for their differences. Common divergences include race, gender, religion and social class. S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders is a novel that deeply examines the aspects of gang life portrayed by the rivalry between two fictional social classes known as the Greasers and the Socials. Throughout the novel, the author emphasizes on the purposelessness of gangs and gang rivalries as well as the negative effects that gang involvement brings upon members of both parties.
The rivalry between the Greasers and the Socials originates directly from differing social statuses. The Greasers live on the East Side, and are known to be very poor. They are characterized by their long greasy hair and like to dress in blue jeans and T-shirts, or wear their shirttails out and wear leather jackets and tennis shoes or boots. They are falsely labeled as “hoods” by society and have it a lot harder than the Socs do because of their bad reputation. On the other hand, the Socials are the West-Side “rich kids” who are characterized by having expensive cars, fancy clothing, and girlfriends. They like to jump Greasers, wreck houses and throw beer blasts for kicks. (Hinton 3) The Socs can basically get away with anything they want to since they have a lot of money and are known as an “asset to society”. They are very egotistical and have a very violent nature, which is why they like to pick on the Greasers who are more reserved and like to mind their own business. Ponyboy, the protagonist of the novel, is bitter with the Socs since things are simply easier for them than they are for the Greasers. The Socials see themselves as being better than the Greasers due to their wealth, social class and status. They despise the Greaser’s reckless and wild nature and see them as being soulless individuals who feel no pain. (Hinton 12) They fear the Greasers, and beat up on them because they see them as a threat and know that they are much stronger than they are. An example of this is on pages 4-7 when the Socs jump Ponyboy. He is walking home from a movie, alone, when a group of Socials got out of a car and started beating on him. As soon as they heard Ponyboy’s gang coming to rescue him, they immediately darted to the car and escaped before the Greasers could get to them. Ponyboy also describes a time prior to this situation when he found his friend Johnny laying half-conscious in a vacant parking lot after a group of Socials viciously beat him. (Hinton 4) It is obvious that the Socs fear the Greasers and harass...

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