The next morning, Ponyboy wakes in the church and finds a note from Johnny saying that he has gone into town to get supplies. When Johnny returns, he brings a week’s supply of bologna and cigarettes, and a paperback copy of Gone with the Wind, which he wants Ponyboy to read to him. Ponyboy makes a wisecrack and Johnny tells him he is becoming more like Two-Bit every day. Johnny insists that they cut their hair to disguise themselves, and he bleaches Ponyboy’s hair.
For the next week, the boys hide out at the church, reading Gone with the Wind, smoking, and eating sandwiches. The boys admire the southern gentlemen in Gone with the Wind, and Johnny points out that they remind him of Dally. Ponyboy disagrees. He prefers the other greasers to Dally. Most of the greasers remind Ponyboy of the heroes in novels, but Dally is so real he is frightening. Later, Ponyboy recites a Robert Frost poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” The poem touches Johnny.
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
— Robert Frost
After about five days, Dally shows up at the church with a letter to Ponyboy from Sodapop. Dally says the police approached him about Bob’s murder and he told them that the perpetrators fled to Texas. He takes Johnny and Ponyboy to the Dairy Queen and tells them that a state of open warfare exists between the greasers and the Socs, who are furious about Bob’s death. He also lets slip that Cherry Valance, feeling responsible for the murderous encounter, has been acting as a spy for the greasers. He adds that in a day’s time the two groups will meet for a rumble.
- What’s a ‘heater’ and why does Dally have one? Do you think this is a good idea?
- Why is Dally ‘gallant’ according to Johnny? Do you agree?
- Who’s the spy for the greasers? Does this surprise you? Why or why not?
- Why has there been a ‘rumble’ arranged in the vacant lot?
- What does Dally tell the cops about Ponyboy and Johnny?