The following night Dally, Johnny, and Pony go to the drive-in movie. They sneak in over the back fence, because Dally does not like to do things the legal way. They seat themselves behind two girls who are friends of the Socs. Dally, tries to provoke them by speaking in an abusive manner and putting his feet up on the back of one of their chairs. The girl threatens to call the police if they are not left alone.
When Dally goes to buy cokes, Pony talks to one of the girls, whose name is Cherry Valance. When Dally returns with the cokes and gives Cherry one, she throws it in his face. When he tries to put his arm around her, Johnny stops him. Dally stalks off in anger. Pony and Johnny then go and sit next to the girls and learn that they had come to the movies with some boys from the Socs, but had left them because they had sneaked alcohol in with them. As they are all watching the movie, someone places a hand on the shoulders of Johnny and Pony and says, “Okay, Greasers, you’ve had it.” Thinking that it is a Soc, Pony is terrified and Johnny goes white with fear. To their relief, they discover that it is Two-Bit, a fellow Greaser who is playing a joke. Two-Bit informs them that Dally, in his anger, has slashed Timothy Shepard’s car tires.
When Cherry and Pony go to buy some popcorn, he tells her about how four members
of the Socs had jumped Johnny and severely beaten him. He explains that
ever since then, Johnny has been very nervous. Cherry tries to convince
Pony that not all Socs are alike and that they have a lot of problems.
Pony cannot understand why they have any concerns since they have “good
grades, good cars, good girls, madras, Mustangs, and Corvairs.”
This chapter continues to highlight the differences between the Greasers and the Socs. The Socs’ hangouts are The Way Out and Rusty’s, while the Greasers patronize The Dingo and Jay’s, which are more rowdy and rough. Pony cannot understand how the Socs could have any worries or problems since they are known for having good grades, good cars, good girls, and good clothes.
The character of Dally is also further developed. He likes to defy the law and proper behavior. That is why he sneaks over the fence into the drive-in movie, talks abusively to the Socy girls, puts his feet on one of their chairs, and tries to put his arm around Cherry. It is obvious that his attempts to gain attention are a means of covering up his sense of inadequacy. When Cherry throws a coke in his face, Pony and Johnny are very worried, for they know that Dally can be dangerous when someone opposes him. Johnny tries to calm him down and tells him not to bother the girls. Pony and Dally are shocked at Johnny’s standing up for Cherry and Marcia, for he is the most timid member of the Greasers and really thinks of Dally as a hero. Dally, however, is upset by the whole incident and leaves in anger; he goes out and slashes the tires of Tim Shepard, a member of another gang.
Although Pony and Johnny are Dally’s buddies, they are not crude like he is. They treat the Socy girls with respect. It seems, in fact, that Pony would like to be more like the Socs, for when Cherry and Marcia speak in a derogatory manner about the Greasers, Pony feels inadequate; however, when Cherry calls Dally ‘trash,’ Pony takes up for him saying, “I’m a grease, same as Dally. He’s my buddy.” There is obviously a strong feeling of camaraderie and loyalty among the gang members.
Cherry Valence seems to be different from other Socy girls. When Pony and Johnny are nice to her, she becomes friendly to them. She even apologizes for criticizing Dally in front of them. She is also shocked to hear how Johnny has been beaten by the Socs and points out that not all Socs are alike. Like Pony, she has a sense of allegiance to her gang.
The last sentence in the chapter, “I know better now,” shows that Pony is
a wiser person when he is writing the story than when he lived it. Time
and distance have helped him to mature morally and emotionally.
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