S.E. Hinton’s aim in her novel, The Outsiders, was to share what gang life was like in the town she grew up in. In particular, she wanted to show the human side of the gang, The Greasers, who were outsiders and the social misfits. An important theme that emerges in this book is that one should not stereotype others, in other words, form judgement on others, based on their appearance, background, and actions. Hinton warns about stereotyping others by presenting her characters as individuals, with individual traits, which are sometimes different from the traits of the group.
The Greasers are the outsiders in this novel. They are from the poor east side while the Socs are from the Rich West side. The Greasers are thought of as social delinquents and hoods. “We steal things and drive old souped-up cars and hold up gas stations and have a gang fight once in a while.” (pg 3 -Ponyboy’s Narration) They like fighting in rumbles, some have dropped out of school and some are criminals and juvenile delinquents. They where their hair long and with lots of grease. They dress in blue jeans and T-shirts, or leave their shirttails out and wear leather jackets and tennis shoes or boots.
The book shows us that we shouldn’t treat people by what group they belong to. In the novel the Greasers are thought of as rough, hoods and criminals, but that is just a stereotype because they are not all like this. “I’m not like them, nobody in our gang digs movies and books