“The Outsiders” is based on a book by S.E. Hinton, and it is set in Tulsa Oklahoma and it is about two rival gangs the “Greasers” which is the poor, greasy haired kids from the north side of town or the “wrong side of the track’s” kind of kids. Then you have the Socials (usually called the socs) from the South side, which are the more privileged and richer group of kids. The two groups had a rivalry going for many years, but it recently turned deadly when one of the greasers, Jonny, stabs and kills a soc, Bob, in defense of his friend Pony Boy. After this, the rivalry becomes more severe than it is as the socs’ are trying to avenge their friend but the greasers are getting the town to understand that the soc are at fault also. The movie is the epitome of how social groups can define our behavior and how crime and deviance are related to the social group that we are a part of.
A society is defined as “People who share a culture and a territory” (Revel Essentials of Sociology 67), which in these groups the people share a strong bond and have a feeling of codependence within each other. Throughout the movie the boys on both sides have formed such strong social bonds that the thought of losing one of their own makes them have an emotional reaction. An “In-Group” is defined as a group that you belong and have a social identity with, while an “Out-group” is a group that you share no common group and you make share sense of competitiveness or hostility. In “The Outsiders” each group perceives the other group as the Out-group. The feeling of group superiority, until the death of Bob, then they start to question the way they are acting. They start to come to the realization that fighting is not going to solve anything but at the same time they realize that no matter what “a soc will still be a soc, and a greaser will still be a greaser.”
“Conformity” is also very prevalent in The Outsiders especially through a girl named Sherri Valence, more commonly known as Cherry. Cherry is at a drive in sitting next to Pony Boy and Jonny and she enjoys talking to them and considers them to be nice guys. As they are walking home they come across a group from the Socs’ and Cherry and her friends decide to go with them to keep a fight from breaking out, before she leaves she grabs Pony to the side and tells him that if he says hi to her in school and she does not respond to not take it personal as she cannot associate with him in front of other people. Here, it shows that even though she likes Pony, she will give in to her social group by not talking to Pony in school.
“Deviance” is defined as “the violation of norms (or rules or expectations)”, this is very true in our society today as it is in The Outsiders. The town considers the greasers to be deviant because they are dressing differently and fixing their hair a different way than everybody else. This makes them feel as though they fit in to their own crowd and they don’t need the whole town to back themselves up as long as they have each other.
From “The Outsiders” I learned that you cannot judge a person by the way they look or by the way they were raised. The rival that was through the two groups was from way back when issues between certain people that was carried down through generations. If they would have figured out their differences long before that then most of the stuff that happened could have been prevented. You see this in society today, as certain people don’t associate with others depending on their social status or the way they look or if they party. Everyone has social conformity at some point where we just want to associate with the people that are similar to us but in the end that can create issues that could have been resolved to begin with