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The Outsiders

S. E. Hinton

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The Outsiders | Quotes


The Socs ... get editorials in the paper for being a public disgrace one day and an asset to society the next.

Ponyboy Curtis, Chapter 1

This description gives readers insight into how Ponyboy (and society) views his rivals who live on the wealthy side of town. It also suggests that everyone has both good and bad possibilities residing inside them.


Darry thinks his life is enough without inspecting other people's.

Ponyboy Curtis, Chapter 1

Ponyboy suggests the alienation and lack of ambition or hope that things will improve that are felt by him, his brothers, and the greasers in general.


Organized gangs are rarities ... the warfare is between the social classes.

Ponyboy Curtis, Chapter 1

Ponyboy succinctly describes the tension between the haves and the have-nots, who live on opposite sides of town and have very different means and lifestyles. He also underscores how important the gang of greasers is to all the members, so the boys have someone on which they can rely.


Dally, even though he could get into a good fight sometimes, had no specific thing to hate.

Ponyboy Curtis, Chapter 1

Violence is acceptable in Ponyboy's neighborhood, and in his life, but they don't have anyone, or anything, specific to blame for their difficult circumstances or their poor prospects. Ponyboy notes that Dally is the toughest, meanest, most hardened member of the greaser gang, and Dally is frustrated he can't vent his aggression on something specific.


No rival gang. Only Socs. And you can't win against them no matter how hard you try.

Ponyboy Curtis, Chapter 1

Ponyboy realistically assesses his situation in life, and, at the age of 14, already understands that money and social standing create opportunities that can't be removed through violence. Violence doesn't actually resolve the chasm between the social classes.


I lie to myself all the time. But I never believe me.

Ponyboy Curtis, Chapter 1

Ponyboy is smart enough to know that life is not the way he would like it to be, but that doesn't stop him from wanting and dreaming anyway.


If you don't stick up for them, stick together, make like brothers, it isn't a gang any more.

Ponyboy Curtis, Chapter 2

Ponyboy acknowledges the brotherhood of the gang is the ultimate bond. The alternative, being alone, is terrible to contemplate.


Our one rule, besides Stick together, is Don't get caught.

Two-Bit Mathews, Chapter 2

Two-Bit, a member of the greaser gang, describes the code of conduct by which the greasers live. This is the accepted way of life for the greasers, the way they deal with their deprivation and survive in their neighborhood.


You greasers have a different set of values. You're more emotional. We're sophisticated—cool to the point of not feeling anything.

Cherry Valance, Chapter 3

Cherry explains to Ponyboy the distinction between the Socs and the greasers. Interestingly, the greasers, often looked at as savages by the Socs, are identified by a Soc herself as having deeper feelings than the more privileged and cultured Soc teens.


Maybe the two different worlds we lived in weren't so different. We saw the same sunset.

Ponyboy Curtis, Chapter 3

After meeting Cherry and getting to know her a bit, Ponyboy starts to wonder if the Socs and the greasers are more alike than he had previously thought.


Maybe you would have done the same thing, maybe a friend of yours wouldn't have.

Ponyboy Curtis, Chapter 7

While talking to Randy, one of the Socs that had jumped him and Johnny the night of the murder, Ponyboy makes the point that people are all individuals, regardless of their social class, what gang they hang around with, or how they are labeled.


That was what he wanted. For somebody to tell him "No."

Randy Adderson, Chapter 7

Randy, who had been Bob's best friend, explains to Ponyboy that Bob's parents spoiled him, turned him into an aggressive, boundary-pushing bully always looking for the one person or thing that could stand up to him, to stop him from being the bulldozing tormentor he had indeed become.


There isn't any real good reason for fighting except self-defense.

Ponyboy Curtis, Chapter 9

Ponyboy realizes that violence is senseless and will not solve social class differences, will not bridge disparate viewpoints, and will not resolve anything.


The hoods I know are pretty decent guys ... but people usually go by looks.

Ponyboy Curtis, Chapter 9

Ponyboy understands that material things bought by the Socs' money—things like fancy clothes, regular haircuts, and expensive cars—all of which are unavailable to the greasers, do not translate into character or integrity. But he realizes most people take things at face value and place a lot of importance on appearance.


Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.

Johnny Cade, Chapter 9

When Ponyboy and Johnny are hiding at the church, they watch a sunrise, which reminds Pony of Robert Frost's 1923 poem, "Nothing Gold Can Stay." The poem evokes in the boys a sense of wonder and beauty. When Johnny tells Pony to "stay gold," he means for Ponyboy to never lose his sense of beauty or goodness, and not to live down to the expectations society has for him.

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