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by S.E. Hinton
The Outsiders Chapter 7 Summary
While the three brothers wait to hear how Dally and Johnny are doing, reporters and policemen come to the hospital to talk to them. Pony already wasn't feeling well, so getting bombarded with questions from reporters doesn't help. Luckily, Darry gets them to leave Pony alone. Sodapop, meanwhile, is making the reporters laugh by clowning around, stealing their hats, and pretending to be a reporter himself, interviewing hospital staff. Pony puts some grease in his hair and combs it; he really doesn't want his hair to look bad in the papers. Jerry tells Pony that the reporters were so camera happy because Soda and Darry look like movie stars. Eventually even Soda loses interest in the reporters, and he falls asleep with his head on Darry's lap. His brothers must be so tired. Pony still feels like he's in some crazy dream. As the reporters are leaving, one asks Pony, "What would you do right now if you could do anything you want?" (7.4). Pony says, "Take a bath" (7.5). Finally, the doctor comes out to talk to them. Dally is going to spend a few days in the hospital, so they can tend to his burned arm, but then he'll be fine. But Johnny is "in critical condition" (7.10), with a broken back and "third degree burns." Johnny might not live. Pony holds back the tears, trying to make himself believe that none of this is real. On the way home Pony falls asleep in the car. Soda tries to wake him when they get home, but it doesn't work. So Darry carries Pony in and puts him to bed. Pony had "forgotten how soft a bed really is" (7.20). Pony's the first one up the next morning and, after a shower, he goes into the kitchen to make eggs. Soon, Two-Bit and Steve come over, and Two-Bit seems really happy to see him. Two-Bit asks Pony what it feels like to be a hero, and shows Pony today's newspaper and the article titled, "JUVENILE DELINQUENTS TURN HEROES" (7.35). The article tells the whole story, from the church fire to the death of Bob. Cherry Valance and Randy Adderson, Bob's friend, were both quoted as saying that Bob was drunk, and that Johnny acted in self-defense. Even so, Johnny is to be tried for " manslaughter" (7.37). Pony and Johnny also have to go to juvenile court because they ran away from home. The paper questions whether Johnny will live, but Pony knows his friend will. Unbelievably, there are no charges against Dallas, and the paper doesn't even talk about his criminal record. Dallas is going to be so mad about that. The paper also implies that the courts might split up Darry, Soda, and Pony. When Darry wakes up, Pony asks his brother if he knows he has to go to court. Darry found out about it last night, from the police. Pony tells him he had his recurring nightmare, which he can never quite remember. Darry looks afraid for him. Pony had that dream for the first time the night after his parents' funeral. He'd woken up screaming, but couldn't remember the dream. This happened so much that Darry took Pony to the doctor. The doctor recommended that Pony increase his studying, his reading, his drawing, and his football. This basically worked, but the dream still comes back from time to time. Soda tells Pony that they're planning a big party, after which there will be a rumble and the Greasers will run the Socs out of town. Pony asks if Sandy will be Soda's date for the party, and everybody gets uncomfortable. When Sandy's parents heard about Soda's marriage proposal, they sent her to live with her grandmother. Darry and Soda leave for work, while Two-Bit stays behind with Pony, who does some cleaning to prepare for the social workers' inspection of their home. Later, as they're walking to the hospital, Pony realizes that a blue Mustang is following them. He wants to run away, but Two-Bit seems to think it's safe. Randy Adderson and David, the guy who tried to drown Pony, are in the car. Pony gets into the car to talk with Randy, while Randy's friends and Two-Bit wait for them. Randy tells them how surprised he is that Pony, Johnny, and Dallas saved those kids. He says wouldn't have saved them, and he can't believe Greasers would do something like that. Pony tells him that it doesn't have to do with whether you're a Greaser or not, but with who you are as a person. Randy says he's tired of all the fighting. Bob was his best friend, and now he's dead and Bob's mother "has had a nervous breakdown" (7.106). He says that Bob's parents gave him too many things, and never forbade him from doing anything. Randy says that Bob did all those bad things in the hopes that his parents would care enough to try to stop him. Randy talks about Johnny being on the verge of death. He says that in the rumble tonight some other guys might get hurt or killed, and still nothing will change. He says, "You can't win even if you whip us. You'll still be where you were before—at the bottom. And we'll still be the lucky ones, with all the breaks" (7.108). Randy says he's planning to move away. Pony tells him that won't change anything either. Randy says he knows that, but he has to leave. He can't bring himself to fight in the rumble, but if he doesn't, the others will say he's a coward. Pony says he wishes he could help him, and that he knows that Randy would've saved the kids from the burning building if he'd been there. Randy smiles and thanks him. When Two-Bit asks Pony what the Soc had to say, Pony tells him, "He ain't a Soc […], he's just a guy" (7.119). Pony feels better now, knowing that "Socs [are] just guys after all" (7.121).
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