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In "The Outsiders" violence is a very prominent theme. It seems as though wherever Ponyboy goes, he manages to find himself wrapped up in some kind of violence or fighting.
Violence really dictates the plot of this story. If you think about it, the events of the book would have been totally different if Bob had not been killed by Johnny in self-defense. Or if the Socs and Greasers didn't fight at all, the story would have taken a totally different route.
In the book, violence is viewed in a rather strange way. Ponyboy believes that in many cases, violence is just a good way for guys to release some energy. As long as there are no weapons involved, everything is ok The violence in this book may also have a deeper meaning. It could represent fighting between ethnic groups, opposing countries, or violence within certain groups..
In my opinion, the Socs were really at fault for the majority of the violence that occurred in the book. Socs always seemed to attack first, and take advantage of the Greasers. This made me feel for the Greasers, and throughout the book I really took their side. In retrospect, I believe Johnny was right to kill Bob. Johnny was only acting in self-defense and trying to keep Ponyboy and himself safe. I believe this violence was justified.