S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders is a brilliant example of deviance and conformity. The novel discusses two social groups are rivals: the greasers and the South-Side Social aka the “socs”. We see a definite deviance for the greasers as they dress and act against the norms of the society, with the norm set as the soc way of life and dress. With them placed side by side as rivals, one can easily pick out the deviance that is evident by the greasers. The greasers have slicked hair and wear laid back and plain cloths and have a different attitude as compared to the colorful, prim and proper soc group; they’re literally juxtapositions. The greaser’s deviant behavior united the greasers together against the socs and the socs against the greasers. There is social change that occurs in that the two groups are starting to see each other as equals and one not superior over another after the death of some people in their crew. This promotes social change due to the greaser’s deviant behavior.
There is conformity as well as the greaser’s conform to their group norms and the socs conform to theirs. For example, Cherry, a soc, is friends with Ponyboy, a greaser. This is not normal, but Cherry says to Ponyboy that if she doesn’t say “Hello” to him at school that he should not be offended, which is due to her conforming to her group’s norms. Furthermore, there is conformity in the way both groups act when they fight, in the way they present themselves, and with whom they talk to. What one says goes and if there is any objection, it is taken as an offense to the group as a whole.
This is a good example of how our society is now with many different trends that occur and within gangs on the streets. Many movies have come to depict such actions such as “The Freedom Writers”. Because gangs and differnet trends do constantly arise in society, deviance continues to exist in society and is almost inevitable. (Ex: Hippie movement, hipster movement, women wearing suits to showcase their equality to men, etc).
The link attached shows some historical fashion deviances that I find very interesting to note as now they are social norms!
Submitted by Bisma Rais