Free Study Guide: The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton - Free BookNotes

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After the movie, Cherry and Marcia worriedly and reluctantly accept Two-Bit’s offer to drive them home. As they are walking to Two-Bit’s house to pick up his car, Cherry and Pony talk; Pony realizes that he is telling things to Cherry that he has not told to anybody else. The two of them also discover that they both enjoy watching sunsets and have other things in common.

On the way to Two-Bit’s house, a blue Mustang passes by, turns around, and stops. Two Socs get out, and Pony notices that one of them is wearing three heavy rings on his fingers. He also notices that Johnny is terrified. A handsome dark-haired boy tells Marcia and Cherry that they have no business walking the streets with “bums.” Two-Bit is offended by the comments; with anger, he takes out his switchblade and breaks the end of an empty bottle and gives it to Pony. Hoping to prevent a fight between the boys, Cherry gets into the Mustang and calls to the Socs. She also tells Pony that he should not take offense if she ignores him in school or elsewhere because her parents would not like her being friendly to a Greaser. She closes by saying that she hopes that she never meets Pony again, because she is afraid that if she does, she is going to fall in love with him.

After the girls leave with the Socs, Two-Bit tears up a piece of paper on which he has written Marcia’s phone number and departs from Pony and Johnny. The two of them go into a parking lot, where they lie down and talk. Before long, they are both asleep. When Pony awakes, he is concerned because it is very late. Leaving Johnny in the parking lot, he rushes home, hoping that everyone will be asleep. Unfortunately, Darry is up and reading the paper. He points out that it is two o’clock in the morning and shouts at Pony for worrying him; he reminds his younger brother that if he gets into trouble with the law, he will be taken away from Darry and sent to a boy’s home. He also scolds Pony for not wearing a coat.

Darry’s shouts awaken Soda; he tries to stop his older brother from scolding Pony, which only makes Darry more angry. He then tuns on Pony and slaps him. Pony runs out of the house, goes to the parking lot, and wakes up Johnny. He tells him that he is running away because Darry slapped him and obviously hates him. Johnny tells him that he prefers it when his father hits him, for at least it shows that he is aware of his son’s existence; usually, neither his mother nor his father cares whether he is home or not. Johnny also reminds Pony that he is lucky, for Soda really cares for him. Johnny’s words comfort Pony. After calming down, he decides he will not run away; but before returning him, he and Johnny go to the park for a walk.


For the first time ever, Pony gets the chance to truly know a Socy girl. When he talks to Cherry, he learns that she likes the music of the Beatles, enjoys going to the movies, and appreciates nature. He realizes that she is really not any different from the girls he knows; he thinks that “Greasy girls would. . .act a lot tougher, but there was a basic sameness.” Cherry also reveals her good sense when she gets in to the Mustang and calls to the Socs; her foresight probably prevented a fight.

Even though Pony is basically shy, he finds that he can easily converse with Cherry and shares many things with her that he has never told anyone else. He tells her about the horse that Soda cared for and called Mickey Mouse; he explains how Soda was heartbroken when the master sold the horse. Pony also tells Cherry how much he enjoys watching sunsets and learns that she enjoys it too. Pony also willingly discusses the two gangs with her. Pony thinks that money is the only separator of the Socs from the Greasers, but Cherry believes that money only partly accounts for the difference. She points out that their sets of values are very different. She explains that the Greasers react emotionally to situations, whereas the Socs always try to act indifferent and sophisticated.

More is learned about Pony in this chapter. The image of him sitting and watching sunsets reveals much about his character. More sensitive than most of the Greasers, he is pictured as a dreamer, a romantic, and an idealist. He is also sensitive enough to realize that Greaser girls and Soc girls are really very much alike; only social and financial backgrounds separate them. It is obvious that Pony is attracted to Cherry. He reassures her that he would never have used the broken bottle on one of the Socs. He does not want Cherry to fear him or have the wrong impression about him.

Although Cherry obviously likes Pony, she tells him that they can never be seen together again, either in or out of school; her parents would not approve of her being with a Greaser. There is clearly a wide, almost unbridgeable, gap between the Socs and the Greasers.

This chapter also highlights the relationship that exists between Pony and his oldest brother, Darry. Because Darry is always scolding him, Pony is convinced that Darry does not love him. He feels that it is only because of Soda that he has not been put in a boy’s home. When Darry slaps him, Pony runs out, planning to run away forever. Johnny, however, helps to change his mind. He points out that Pony is lucky to have at least one brother, Soda, who loves him. Johnny feels that no one in his family cares about him.

Pony is bitter about the fact that the Socs seem to have everything they want, while all of the Greasers are poor. He resents that Darry had to drop out of school to support Soda and him and now works two jobs to make ends meet; Pony also is sad that Soda has dropped out of school, feeling that he needed to earn some money for the family. Pony wants to stay in school and rise above his poverty.

This chapter ends with the words, “I was wrong.” When Pony grows older and narrates the novel, he can pass moral judgements on his own actions. In looking back, he admits that he made mistakes. One of them will be the decision to go for a walk in the park.

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