The Outsiders Social Sensitivity

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The Outsiders was one of the first so-called "problem" novels, dealing with poverty, class conflict, teen-age violence, family difficulties, and child abuse. Some parents and teachers have complained that the book glamorizes violence and gangs. But Ponyboy dislikes meaningless fighting and deplores the lack of ambition demonstrated by most of the gang members, and it is with Ponyboy and his feelings that most readers will identify.

The conflict between the poor and the upper classes is at the heart of this story. The Socs label everyone from the ghetto as hoods and in so doing deprive the greasers of their humanity. The greasers are also guilty of prejudging the Socs, although Hinton deemphasizes this point. Clearly, though, both sides are at fault: neither attempts to understand the other group's problems, and both act violently. The important point, which many critics overlook, is that Ponyboy offers a way out...

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This section contains 526 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Outsiders Study Guide
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The Outsiders from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.