Discuss How Social Class Division and Rivalry Is Depicted in the Outsiders

Topics: Social class, Social stratification, Sociology Pages: 3 (1248 words) Published: September 19, 2013
In her classic novel, The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton represents the social class and rivalry of her time. Through the endless struggles between the rich city dwellers, the Socs and the Eastern residents, the Greasers, Hinton depicts the social hierarchy and conflict. She explains in her novel that the class differences causes rivalry between the rich and poor. However, as Ponyboy matures his black and white view towards the world begins to blur. Ultimately, Hinton shows that there is no fine line between classes and rivalry is pointless. The Outsiders set in 1967, Oklahoma, Hinton describes the class division and rivalry that she experienced first-hand. She identifies the conflict between the separate classes of her time through the Greasers and Socs many misunderstandings. When Bob says “You know what a Greaser is?... White trash with long hair” it becomes obvious that the groups completely hate one another due to their differences and their complete ignorance of similarities. The dissimilarities between the two groups mask the similarities. Hinton is quick to see what makes a person in a different class. Money plays a large role in the social pyramid. Bob has “three heavy rings” that he uses to hurt others. These symbolise the power attained through wealth. The “blue mustangs”- a symbol of protection that accompanies wealth- also separate the on-foot Greasers and represent the vulnerability one has without money. Not only affluence divide the groups but through apparel- the madras compared to the “low cut blue jeans”-, viewpoint and of course, the ladies. Hinton uses slang also to describe the characteristics of a Greaser. This literary technique gives readers a better understanding of how the Greasers spoke which is another thing that differs between the two groups. Often dropping out of school early, the Greasers are often use slang as a sign of their improper use of language. Hinton describes rivalry through the conflict that lies amongst the groups, through...
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