Study Guide

The Outsiders Chapter 2

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Chapter 2

  • The next night, Pony, Dally, and Johnny sneak into the Nightly Double drive-in.
  • It's only twenty-five cents to get in if you aren't in a car; they have the money, but Dally just likes breaking the rules.
  • The seats for people without cars are empty, except for two girls in the front. Of course, Dally sits down in the row behind the girls.
  • Dally starts talking really dirty to the girls.
  • Pony can't stand it—especially because these aren't "greasey girls" (1.5).
  • These girls are Soc girls, nicely dressed and hot.
  • They're probably sixteen or seventeen, and one of them has red hair.
  • When Dally puts his feet up on the redhead's seat, she tells him to put them back down.
  • Now Pony recognizes her—a cheerleader. When Dally refuses to move his feet, she talks back to him. She asks him to leave them alone, but he keeps on. She's pretty mad at this point.
  • Dally gets up to go get some sodas and asks the girls if they want one.
  • The redhead says, no way.
  • When Dallas is gone, the redhead starts talking to the other two boys.
  • She asks Pony his name, and he tells her, Ponyboy Curtis. He doesn't like telling people his name because they usually make some comment.
  • But the redhead says, "That's an original and lovely name" (2.24).
  • He tells her that his father "was an original person" (2.25) and that his brother's name, Sodapop, is even the one on his birth certificate.
  • She tells him that her name is Sherri Valance, but that everybody calls her "Cherry."
  • She says she's seen Soda and thinks he's really cute. She says Pony looks like him.
  • The other girl, Marcia, asks why Soda is never in school anymore.
  • Pony is embarrassed and says he's a "dropout" (2.39). The word makes him imagine "some poor dumb-looking hoodlum wandering the streets breaking out street lights" (2.39). This is nothing like easy-going Soda.
  • Dallas comes back with sodas, and hands one to each girl.
  • Cherry throws it in Dally's face.
  • He tries to put his arm around her, but Johnny tells him to stop.
  • Nobody can get away with talking to Dally like that—except Johnny, "the gang's pet" (2.47).
  • Dally leaves, and the girls invite Johnny and Pony to sit with them. She's says she's heard about how mean Dally is.
  • Johnny and Pony defend him, because you have to stick up for the guys in your gang, otherwise it's not a gang, but rather "a snarling, distrustful, bickering pact" (2.66).
  • Pony says Dally would be nice to the girls if he knew them better.
  • Marcia says she's glad she doesn't. But Cherry says, very quietly, that she "kind of admire[s] him" (2.69).
  • Pony and Johnny also learn that the girls are at the movies without a car because they'd sent their boyfriends away when they started drinking.
  • The four of them are watching the movie in silence, when they hear someone say, "Okay, greasers, you've had it" (2.72).
  • Luckily it's just Two-Bit, impersonating a Soc.
  • Johnny looks like he's on the verge of freaking out. Two-Bit shouldn't do that. Johnny is still really traumatized by the beating he got from the Socs.
  • Two-Bit realizes his mistake and apologizes to Johnny.
  • Two-Bit tells them that Dally is probably fighting the guy (another Greaser) whose tires he slashed.
  • He explains to the girls that there's nothing wrong with fair fights, or rumbles, between Greasers. They don't use knives, guns (called "heaters" in this book), chains, or anything like that. Just hand-to-hand combat.
  • Two-Bit then offers them "a weed" (2.94). (In The Outsiders, "a weed" is a tobacco cigarette, not a marijuana one.)
  • The girls say no to the cigarettes, but Johnny and Pony accept. Pony thinks the cigarette will help Johnny's stop shaking.
  • Cherry asks Pony to go with her to get popcorn. Pony realizes Marcia's finished the soda from Dally.
  • He thinks Cherry is much different from her friend. She has principles. She said she wouldn't drink Dally's soda and she meant it.
  • Waiting for the refreshments, Pony feels a little nervous. He doesn't want to get in trouble for hanging out with a Soc girl.
  • She asks Pony what happened to Johnny. She can tell he's been hurt badly.
  • He tells her that some Socs did it to him. Pony doesn't like to talk or think about what happened to Johnny, so he tells the story to Cherry really quickly.
  • Here's the story:
  • It happened about four months prior, in the spring.
  • Pony, Soda, and Steve are walking home from the gas station. It's getting cold, and the night is coming on.
  • They pass by an open field on the corner of their block. It's where they have rumbles and play ball.
  • Steve sees Johnny's jacket on the ground and picks it up.
  • He realizes there's reddish stains on the jacket and more on the grass nearby.
  • Suddenly, they hear a moan and see a dark shape across the lot. It's Johnny. He's on the ground, not moving, with his face in the grass.
  • They get to him and turn him over.
  • This beating was nothing like the beatings he got from his dad.
  • Pony tells us that his "face [is] cut-up and bruised and swollen, and there [is] a hug gash from his temple to his cheekbone." His white tee has blood all over it.
  • Two-Bit, Darry, and Dally arrive.
  • Even Dally, with all he's seen, looks shocked about what's happened to Johnny.
  • Johnny starts to talk. Four Socs had driven up in a blue Mustang and jumped him.
  • They'd had rings on their fingers when they punched him, which is why his face is cut so badly.
  • On top of beating him, they'd scared him with threats.
  • Johnny was already a nervous guy because of his parents' constant fighting and the beatings from his father, but this takes him to a new level of nervousness.
  • Johnny is a brave kid. He always does well in rumbles and is loyal to his friends.
  • But this was too much.
  • Now he carries "a six-inch switch blade" (2.115) and will definitely kill the next guy who messes with him.
  • When Pony's done with the story, he realized Cherry looks shocked.
  • She tells him that not all Socs are like that, just like all Greasers aren't the same.
  • Pony agrees with her.
  • Cherry tells him that Socs have problems too; she says, "Things are rough all over" (2.122).
  • They go back to their seats—Marcia and Two-Bit and Johnny are getting along fine.
  • Pony doesn't see what troubles a Soc could have. They have it all—the grades, the cars, the clothes. Pony wishes he had those kinds of "troubles."
  • Soon, he'll "know better" (2.126).

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