Greasers will still be greasers and Socs will still be Socs. Sometimes I think it’s the ones in the middle that are really the lucky stiffs.

Randy delivers these lines in Chapter 7 when he tells Ponyboy that he will not be fighting in the rumble. His words speak to an important idea in the novel—the futility of the recurring Soc-greaser violence. The idea Randy presents here has another side to it, however. By stating that the members of both groups will always remain in their respective groups, he suggests that it would be impossible for a greaser or a Soc to rise above his current status. He appears to believe that, despite their youth, the young men in the story will never be able to move on and transcend the narrow limits of their gang identities.

Randy’s belief in the permanence of their social identities may be based, however, in the fact that he is a Soc and not a greaser. Having grown up in a wealthy and comfortable environment, it would not be difficult for him to imagine himself forever stuck in this lifestyle. A greaser, on the other hand, might have different ideas about social mobility. A poor youth from the East Side like Ponyboy would be more likely to imagine shedding the greaser lifestyle to pursue higher goals and improve his social status.