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The major theme of the novel revolves around the purposelessness of any gang of teenagers.The book centers on the foolish gang rivalry existing between the Socs, the rich kids from the west side of town, and the Greasers, the poor kids from the east side.
Literature and storytelling affect both the point of view and the characterization of the narrative told by the main character, Ponyboy.
The fact that he is able to tell his story from his own point of view is the real reconciliation of the novel, as clearly he has returned to functioning and attending school.
Back at home, tensions between the gangs escalate over the death of Bob--the Soc member killed by Johnny in the park.
It becomes clear that some key members of the respective gangs are tired of the violence which has left their friends either dead or badly injured.
Pony, the protagonist of the story, is bitter about the fact that the wealthy Socs have nice cars, fancy clothes, and girlfriends; things are simply easier for them than for the Greasers.
Because the Socs are convinced that they are better, they constantly pick on members of the Greasers, who fight back.The novel concerns itself with the development of Ponyboy's character who is at times unreliable and, although his narration is biased towards the Greasers, it is suggested by the end that Ponyboy realizes that his hatred of the Soc’s was weak in grounding.By novel's end, he has found a more permanent identity in his story-telling abilities. While the novel is about the rival of two gangs, it also shows that they are not as different from one another as once they thought.Ponyboy’s narration highlights the bias of perspective in the telling of the plot of this story, and mirrors his development as a coming of age tale throughout the novel.The novel begins with Ponyboy being attacked by members of the Socials and rescued by his fellow Greasers: The next night, Ponyboy, Johnny, Dallas and Two-bit attend a movie and hit it off with a couple of Soc girls who end up abandoning the boys for their Soc boyfriends.After a fight at home with his brother Darrel, Ponyboy goes to the park with his friend Johnny.As the novel progresses, we begin to see these boundaries blur as the differences between the Greasers and the Socials is not so clear as they start to overlap in their interests. Check out our comparative essay on The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway.A series of violent encounters between the two gangs brings about devastating effects for these young boys, particularly the Greasers who lose two of their members due to violent and/or criminal activity to which they are driven by the view of their social status.The two boys return to find the church afire try to save a group of children who had wandered into the abandoned building prior to the blaze.The roof collapses on them in their attempt to free the children and Johnny is trapped, breaking his back and badly burned.