The Outsiders

by: S. E. Hinton

Antagonist

Main ideas Antagonist

The Socs are Ponyboy’s main antagonists in the novel. As Randy expresses to Ponyboy, no matter how hard the greasers fight—and no matter how often they win—the Socs will always “be the lucky ones with all the breaks.” Because the wealthy, privileged Socs can never be truly defeated, the only way Ponyboy can triumph is to care less about them. This is a difficult task, as Ponyboy has been embroiled in the greaser-Soc rivalry his entire life, and he wants to prove his worth by participating in physical fights with the Socs. On his deathbed, Johnny echoes Randy’s advice as he croaks out the words “useless...fighting is no good.” Johnny realizes that the class struggle only leads to suffering. By the end of the novel, Ponyboy realizes the Socs are individuals with hardships of their own, and he has no interest in punishing the Socs for his own adversities, even going as far as honoring Bob’s life in the story he writes for English class.