The Outsiders

Divided Communities Theme Analysis

Themes and Colors
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Self-Sacrifice and Honor Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Outsiders, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Divided Communities Theme Icon

Ponyboy stands in the middle of two major conflicts: the conflict between the Socs and greasers, and the conflict between Ponyboy and Darry within the Curtis family. In the gang conflict, the novel shows how the two groups focus on their differences—they dress differently, socialize differently, and hang out with different girls—and how this focus on superficial differences leads to hate and violence. Yet the novel also shows how the two groups depend on their conflict in order to continue to exist. The greasers, for instance, live by a pledge to "stick together" against the Socs. Without the conflict, the two gangs' individual members might go their own way.

The novel's other divided community is Ponyboy's immediate family. Like the conflict between Socs and greasers, the conflict between Darry and Ponyboy is fueled by misperceptions. Just as the Socs and greasers are unable to see past their superficial differences to their deeper similarities, Darry and Ponyboy can't see past their own limited view to understand each other's actions. Ponyboy misinterprets Darry's desperate desire to deliver Ponyboy from the poverty and strife of their neighborhood as antagonism, while Darry interprets Ponyboy's quest to escape his conflict-ridden existence as irresponsibility and lack of consideration.

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Divided Communities ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Divided Communities appears in each chapter of The Outsiders. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Divided Communities Quotes in The Outsiders

Below you will find the important quotes in The Outsiders related to the theme of Divided Communities.
Chapter 1 Quotes
When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker)
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

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Greasers can't walk alone too much or they'll get jumped, or someone will come by and scream "Greaser!" at them...We get jumped by the Socs. I'm not sure how you spell it, but it's the abbreviation for the Socials, the jet set, the West-side rich kids. It's like the term "greaser," which is used to class all us boys on the East Side.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker)
Related Symbols: Greaser Hair
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:

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I don't care, I lied to myself, I don't care about [Darry] either. Soda's enough, and I'd have him until I got out of school. I don't care about Darry. But I was still lying and I knew it. I lie to myself all the time. But I never believe me.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Darry Curtis, Sodapop Curtis
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 2 Quotes
Johnny never walked by himself after that. And Johnny...now carried in his back pocket a six-inch switchblade. He'd use it, too, if he ever got jumped again.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Johnny Cade
Related Symbols: The Blue Mustang
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:

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"Things are rough all over."
Related Characters: Cherry Valance (speaker)
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 3 Quotes
It seemed funny that the sunset [Cherry] saw from her patio and the one I saw from the back steps was the same one. Maybe the two worlds we lived in weren't so different. We saw the same sunset.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Cherry Valance
Related Symbols: Sunsets and Sunrises
Page Number: 40-41
Explanation and Analysis:

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It wasn't fair for the Socs to have everything. We were as good as they were; it wasn't our fault we were greasers...I felt the tension growing inside of me and I knew something had to happen or I would explode.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Blue Mustang
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 4 Quotes
"You know what a greaser is" Bob asked. "White trash with long hair."…
"You know what a Soc is?" I said, my voice shaking with rage. "White trash with Mustangs and madras."
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Bob Sheldon (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Blue Mustang
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 6 Quotes
That was [Darry's] silent fear then—of losing another person he loved. I remembered how close he and Dad had been, and I wondered how I could ever have thought him hard and unfeeling. I listened to his heart pounding through his T-shirt and I knew everything was going to be okay now. I had taken the long way around, but I was finally home. To stay.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Darry Curtis
Page Number: 98-99
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 7 Quotes
I stared at the newspaper. On the front page of the second section was the headline: JUVENILE DELINQUENTS TURN HEROES.
"What I like is the 'turn' bit," Two-Bit said. ... "Y'all were heroes from the beginning. You just didn't 'turn' all of a sudden."
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Johnny Cade, Two-Bit Mathews
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 9 Quotes
They used to be buddies, I thought, they used to be friends, and now they hate each other because one has to work for a living and the other comes from the West Side. They shouldn't hate each other...I don't hate the Socs anymore...they shouldn't hate...
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Paul Holden
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:
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"We won," Dally panted. "We beat the Socs. We stomped them—chased them outa our territory."
Johnny didn't even try to grin at him. "Useless...fighting's no good..."
Related Characters: Johnny Cade (speaker), Dallas Winston (speaker)
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:
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