The Outsiders Chapter Four Summary and Questions

The park is deserted at 2:30 in the morning. Ponyboy and Johnny go walking beside the fountain. It is cold out, and Ponyboy is wearing only a short-sleeved shirt. Suddenly the boys see the blue Mustang from earlier that night. Five Socs, including Randy and Bob, jump out of the car and approach them. Presumably, the Socs have come to get even with the boys for picking up their girlfriends. Ponyboy can tell they are drunk. 

Bob tells Ponyboy that greasers are white trash with long hair, and Ponyboy retorts that Socs are nothing but white trash with Mustangs and madras shirts. In a rage, Ponyboy spits at the Socs. A Soc grabs Ponyboy and holds his head under the frigid water of the fountain. Ponyboy feels himself drowning and blacks out.

When he regains consciousness, the Socs have run away. He is lying on the pavement next to Johnny. Bob’s bloody corpse is nearby. Johnny says, “I killed him,” and Ponyboy sees Johnny’s switchblade, dark to the hilt with blood. 

When he regains consciousness, the Socs have run away. He is lying on the pavement next to Johnny. Bob’s bloody corpse is nearby. Johnny says, “I killed him,” and Ponyboy sees Johnny’s switchblade, dark to the hilt with blood. 

Ponyboy panics, but Johnny remains calm. They decide to go to Dally, thinking he might be able to help them. They find Dally at the house of Buck Merril, his rodeo partner. He manages to get the boys fifty dollars, a change of clothing for Ponyboy, and a loaded gun. He instructs them to take a train to Windrixville, where they can hide in an abandoned church. Ponyboy and Johnny get on a train, and Ponyboy goes to sleep. When they get to Windrixville, they hop off the train and find the church, where they collapse into exhausted sleep. 

Questions:

  1. Why do you think Johnny used his knife the way he did in this chapter? Is this surprising or did you expect him to react like that?
  2. Ponyboy passed out as he had his pushed under the water. What does this show about first person narrators?
  3. Imagine you are Ponyboy, write a letter to Sodapop and Darry explaining what happened.
  4. What advice would you give to Pony and Johnny?
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