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Outsiders Essay: External And Internal Expectations Between The Socs And Greasers - With A Free Essay Review



As Horace may say, “Life is largely a matter of expectations”. Whether these expectations are of yourself or what others expect of you. We go on living the standards of how were supposed to, no more, no less. As portrayed in many movies and books characters are stereotyped into what is expected because of the roles they portray like the puny nerds that are always picked on by the high class group of the school. In the book The Outsiders expectations played a major role in both the Socs and Greasers day to day life. They had similar roles because they both had a reputation to maintain, whether or not it was a good or bad reputation, they still felt the need to live up to their expectations in society, as an individual and a group.

The Socs were portrayed as being the cool, higher class kids of wealthy parents who gave them all the necessities they needed and more. They were the group that was praised and accepted by society. But despite all of their opportunities and wealth, they expected everything be handed to them without them having to do anything. For a Soc it was about being at the top even if it meant hurting others, for instance the Socs jumping Johnny. They behaved in a way in which they believed that they were immune to punishment for any of their crimes.

Since the Socs were expected to be better than the greasers, and the greasers were expected to be the trash of society. They came from poor families, weren’t expected to succeed in school and sometimes had to steal things even if it meant getting a ride in the police cruiser. The Greasers were always considered the true delinquents of the two groups and were never expected to rise above their lower-class status, even if those such as Darry, worked hard to earn a living. But this lower-class status wouldn’t effect the Greasers because they considered themselves tuff and proud of themselves and their greasy hair.

For the most part these groups lived up to these external expectations. But there were a few characters who listened more to their internal expectaions. Individually, the greasers had different beliefs, even if they were being the exact opposite of a Soc or Greaser. These being some such as, Ponyboy who ignored that failing school was cool and instead took the rewards of achieving excellent grades, in hopes of his dreams of being a writer. Darry also had expectations of himself to go to college and play football but he couldn't because of his parents and brothers. So his new expectations for himself were to take care of his brothers. As for Randy, he chose to go against the external expectations of his group and decided that he didn't want to fight anymore because he didn't think it was right.

A Soc could never be a Greaser and a Greaser could never be a Soc. As the title ties in with the novel it would begin to become true that each of the characters could become an outsider if they let the expectations of themselves take total control of the expectations of society. They would no longer be a Soc or Greaser and instead choose what is right and wrong and not what is just expected. Although expectations can surprise us and change because of something, just as it had when Ponyboy and Johnny did for those kids. They went outside of their expectations and proved that they weren’t just a bunch of trouble makers.

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ESSAY REVIEW

You begin by quoting Horace, but there's little point in quoting Horace unless you are actually going to discuss what Horace said and what he meant. You don't do that, however. There's no context for the quotation and so no analysis of its meaning, and so the reader ends up with no idea of what Horace actually meant. That's not to say that don't go on to say what you understand about the significance of expectation; it is only to say that you don't need or use Horace to do that, and so your quotation of Horace, whom I love by the way, seems artificial, as though the product of a google search for an "expectation quote" that you felt would be a neat way to start your essay. But that's not how essay writing works.

You’re probably wondering why I’m wasting so much time and space talking about your throwaway quotation of Horace. Well, I’m a reader of your essay, and I’ve been distracted. That’s my problem, but it’s also your essay’s problem. You are writing an essay about the function of expectations in the lives of the fictional characters of the novel The Outsiders. You can begin with a simple statement about the importance of expectations generally, but you can also just begin, and may as well just begin in a short essay, by getting straight to the point: what does The Outsiders tell us about the function of expectations? In other words, you could begin with "In the book The Outsiders, expectations plays [note tense correction] a major role etc."

Now "a major role" is a little vague, but that's okay for an opening sentence as long as you go on to specify the nature of that role. Your next sentence comes close to doing this. If that sentence (the final sentence of the first paragraph) is intended to be the thesis of your essay, however, it is not yet specific enough or arguable enough. The phrase "They have [tense corrected] similar roles" is vague, for instance; the word "they" presumably refers to the two gangs, but it's hard to know what you are thinking of when you refer to their having similar roles. If you mean that the two gangs behaved in similar ways, then you should say that, obviously, but also specify (either here or later in the essay) the ways in which their behavior was similar. Further on in that sentence you say "they still [feel] the need to live up to their expectations in society," which is a statement that is more or less understandable, but the implications of that claim remain pretty vague, so it is not very informative about the novel. Are you claiming, for instance, that the actions of the groups are completely determined by their desire to meet expectations? Or is there a conflict between individual desires, on the one hand, and the (group or social) pressure to conform to expectations on the other? Is the novel about the ways in which a strong sense of "the need to live up to ... expectations" stifles individual freedom? Or is it about the heroic (or tragic-heroic?) character of the individual's struggle to resist this felt demand to conform? A strong thesis is not just a description of a thematic element (like the last sentence of your first paragraph) but an argument about the significance of that thematic element. Since your essay goes on to point out the difference between the response of the groups and the response of individuals to expectations, and since that seems like an interesting way to go about analysing the meaning of the novel, your essay deserves a strong thesis. Writing one will have the added benefit of giving clear purpose and direction to your essay.

Right now it looks a bit like you were stumbling around in the dark a bit until you found out what you wanted to write about, as I think you do in your penultimate paragraph, which begins with the sentence "For the most part these groups lived up to these external expectations." Note (since this is why I got the impression that you were stumbling about a bit) that you do not discuss the Socs' "external expectations." You mention only what the Socs themselves expect ("everything to be handed to them"), not what, if anything, is expected of them. You do say that "the Socs were expected to be better than the Greasers," but "better" is vague, and how that expectation might influence their actions is still unclear. If you want to talk concretely about the role of expectations, which you need to do if you want also to talk about how individual characters resist those expectations, then you need to do the following:

1. Distinguish between what the group expects of its members and what society expects of the groups.

2. Clarify how and to what extent those expectations determined how the group members acted.

3. Justify that clarification on the basis of actual analysis of specific events and actions that you refer to, preferably, with the help of quotation. (You have exactly one quotation in the essay, and it's not from the novel!)

If you do that, then you can begin to discuss in a meaningful way what is entailed (what has to happen, and what are the consequences) when a character in such a social climate begins to develop independence and create "new expectations for himself."

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: Spendiff15
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