The author tells the story of the struggles between life for the rich and life for the poor. Stereotyping is the theme throughout the story but when on his own we see through PonyBoy that he begins to realize the socs and the greasers are not so different. Ponyboy acts his role as a greaser but in his heart, he looks past the stereotypes and struggles to understand why they must fight at all. Ponyboy does not let the greaser stereotype define his actions or his thinking and he comes to realize that what he had believed about the Soc stereotype may have been wrong.
The author uses Ponyboy, the youngest greaser to highlight how the Greasers and the Socs are not so different. At the beginning of the story, Ponyboy gets jumped by a few Socs while walking home alone from the movie theater even though he knows he shouldn’t be alone. Throughout the book, Ponyboy tries to be his own self. He later meets Soc girls and discovers that they are not so different from himself after all. When he talks to Randy another Soc he further realizes that there is a connection with Randy. Randy too doesn’t see why they also start fights and tells Ponyboy “ ‘You can’t win, even if you whip us. You’ll still be where you are – at the bottom.’ ”. Ponyboy sees how the Socs feel the same way as the greasers do. The author uses Ponyboy also to focus on how the Socs feel the same way as the greasers do. Even though Ponyboy gets hollered at by Dally his big brother, he still tries his best to be who he wants to be, make his own choices, and do the right thing. He takes education seriously by getting good grades in school, reading a lot, doing his homework and be unlike his brothers who dropped out of school, when Ponyboy says “ Cause I’m supposed to be smart; I make good grades and have a high IQ and everything, but I don’t use my head.” But when Johnny is near death, the greasers are called heroes because they saved the children from the burning church together.
Ponyboy mostly tries to keep the peace between the greasers and the Socs by keeping the greasers from fighting. Ponyboy doesn’t understand why the Socs hate the greasers when the Socs are hurting them. For example, the author states, “We deserve a lot of our trouble, I thought. . . I had just as much right to use the streets as the Socs did, and Johnny had never hurt them. Why do the Socs hate us so much? We left them alone.” He tries to stop the greasers from bullying Socs girls. For instance, The text says, “ We all had the money to get in – it only the costs a quarter if you’re not in a car – but Dally hated to do things the legal way. . . Soda would have gone right along with him, just to see if they can embarrass the girls, but those kicks don’t appeal to me.” The greasers are bullied and silenced by the Socs with violence.
The Socs and the greasers both understood there would be no consequences for the upper class’ actions. Ponyboy made the realization that there should be no struggles because everyone feels the same way. Ponyboy does not let the greaser stereotype define his actions or thinking and he comes to realize that what he had believed about the Socs may have been wrong. When his big brother Dally died (after he was robbing a grocery store and got killed), Ponyboy was left with Darry and Soda who were both high school dropouts and Ponyboy didn’t want to be like them or have any actions like Dally. Ponyboy’s realization leads him to start becoming a more educated and socially accepted student who would someday break the social barriers, because he thinks positively and didn’t believe the greasers view of violence and fighting.