The Battle between Rich and Poor in The Outsiders
The storyline of The Outsiders is driven by Society and Class and focuses on the conflict between the “poor greasers” from the East side and the “rich socs” [The Upper Class Socials] from the West Side. The protagonist, Ponyboy, is constantly threatened by the Socs, because whenever these two sides meet there’s always going to be a conflict.
In Chapter Four, the Socs try to drown Ponyboy because when the Socs came back to the park Ponyboy was talking to the socs’ girlfriends.
I ducked and tried to run for it, but the Soc caught my arm and twisted it behind my back, and shoved my face into the fountain…I’m dying, I thought, and wondered what was happening to Johnny. I couldn’t hold my breath any longer. I fought again desperately but only sucked in water. I’m drowning, I thought, they’ve gone too far . . . A red haze filled my mind and I slowly relaxed.
When all the socs are trying to drown Ponyboy, Johnny pulls out a knife and killed Bob, the boyfriend of one of the girls Pony and Johnny met at the theater.
I killed him,” he said slowly. “I killed that boy.” Bob, the handsome Soc, was lying there in the moonlight, doubled up and still. A dark pool was growing from him, spreading slowly over the blue-white cement. I looked at Johnny’s hand. He was clutching his switchblade, and it was dark to the hilt. My stomach gave a violent jump and my blood turned icy.
This conflict between the Greaser and the Socs shows the tension between the rich and the poor in the novel. This is taken to another level when Johnny kills Bob to save Ponyboy from drowning.