After Johnny’s death, Pony wanders aimlessly for hours. He is eventually dropped home by a stranger and breaks the news of Johnny’s death to the gang. When they hear that Dally has run off in anger, everyone realizes that he too has a breaking point. Before long, Dally phones Pony. He tells him that the police are after him for robbing a store and that he will be at the vacant lot in a minute. Everyone rushes to meet him. Dally has already arrived with the police close on his heels. He stands under a street light, takes out his unloaded gun, and raises it towards the police. They open fire, and Dally crumples to the ground. Pony faints.
When he regains consciousness, Pony finds that he is at home in bed. Darry is protectively sleeping in an armchair beside the bed. Pony soon learns that he has been unconscious and delirious for over three days. He is overwhelmed by why lies ahead for him. He must make up all the schoolwork he has missed; he has to go to court about Bob’s death; and he may be put in a boy’s home.
Soda gives Pony a copy of Gone with the Wind; it is the one that Johnny
had in the hospital. He says that the nurse told him that Johnny had wanted
Pony to have it. Pony, however, feels that he cannot continue reading
it, for it would be a constant and painful reminder of the deaths of Johnny
In this chapter, Pony reaches his breaking point. After Johnny’s death, he leaves the hospital in a shocked daze, trying to convince himself that his friend is really still alive. He wanders about in a stupor for hours, ignoring the injuries he has sustained during the rumble. When he finally reaches home, he is a bag of nerves. Then Dally calls to say that he is being chased by the police and is heading to the vacant lot. All of the Greasers, including Pony, rush to meet him there. By the time they arrive, Dally is already present, and the police are closing in. Dally pulls out the unloaded gun and points it at the police. Pony realizes that “Dally Winston wanted to be dead and he always got what he wanted.” The police open fire, and Pony watches another friend succumb to death. It is more than he can handle, and he faints.
Pony does not regain consciousness for three days during which Darry constantly watches over and cares for him. When he finally wakes up, Soda gives him the copy of Gone with the Wind that Johnny had in the hospital. Pony does not feel up to even looking at it, for he knows it will simply remind him that his two good friends have died. He is also troubled by the fact that he has missed lots of schoolwork that must be made up, that he must appear in court, and that he may be sent to a boy’s home. It is a lot for a sixteen year old to face all at once.
Pony’s premonition does come true. It is sad and ironic that he loses two
wonderful friends in one night. He knows that society will judge Johnny
as a hero who sacrificed his life rescuing the children from the burning
church; he also knows they will judge Dally as a hoodlum, who robbed a
store and tried to kill the police. Pony, however, knows the other gallant
side of Dally; he will always remember how he loaned them his gun even
though it might mean jail for him, how he came to the church to check
on them, how he tried to save Johnny from the burning building, how he
forced his way into Johnny’s room to be beside his friend as he died.
Pony has to stay in bed a whole week to recuperate. To pass the time, he goes
through Soda’s yearbooks, where he comes across a picture of Bob. He is
reminded that he will soon have a hearing about Bob’s death. Randy also
comes to see him and talks about the hearing. Feeling he has let down
his father by getting mixed up in gang rivalry, Randy has promised to
set the record straight and speak the truth at the hearing. He tells Pony
not to worry, for Johnny was the one who had the knife and killed Bob.
Pony, however, in his confused state, insists that he had the knife, that
he killed Bob, and that Johnny is not dead. Hearing that Pony is upset,
Darry comes in and asks Randy to leave. When they are outside, Pony hears
Darry telling Randy not to speak to Pony about Johnny, as he is still
mentally and emotionally unstable. When Darry returns to the room, he
scolds Pony for smoking in bed. He also tells him to clean his room, for
it is a mess. In talking, Darry refers to Pony as “little buddy,” a term
of endearment usually reserved for Soda. Pony is happy that Darry now
seems to care about him; he promises to be more careful.
While going through Soda’s yearbook, Pony comes across a picture of Bob and tries to analyze the type of person he was. He immediately thinks of him as a typical Soc, who believed he was superior just because he lived on the west side of town. Then he adds that Bob was “a reckless, hot-tempered boy, cocky, and scared stiff at the same time.” He thinks about Bob’s parents and assumes that they hate the Greasers for killing their son. Pony prefers their hate to their pity. He then thinks about the hearing about Bob’s murder; it is coming in the near future.
When Randy comes to visit him, Pony refuses to accept that Johnny is really
dead. He even claims that he, not Johnny, killed Bob. He is still severely
traumatized over the events of the last week and cannot think straight.
Darry, still the protective older brother, enters the room and asks Randy
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