This novel encompasses the famous, classic, rivalry of the Greasers and Socials in rural Oklahoma. The two groups are on opposite ends of the social hierarchy of the town and this opposition leads to many brawls. In the incident that provokes the turning point of the story line, Greasers Ponyboy and Johnny get involved in a fight that results in turmoil. To avoid any further accidents, the two are forced to go into hiding. The rest of the story unravels in terms of the Greasers choosing a life of positivity through redemption or facing brual consequences.
This novel appeals to the tribal behavior and formation of social cliques that teenage life is engrossed with. Instead of implicating cliches, Hinton approaches this natural stigma of teenage life with a unique twist by highlighting the consequences of social segregation. In addition, there is a 90s-esque vibe associated with the novel which is really appealing and the usage of Greasers can symbolize the modern hipsters and edgy teens while the usage of Socs can symbolize upper-class preps. This symbolic characterization, even though it is dramatized, it is very eye-opening in terms of potential consequences of violence and social segregation.
Johnny says “Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.” This quote is very powerful because it symbolizes the importance of childhood innocence and purity.
Reviewed by Zainab, Grade 10, Twin Hickory Library