The Outsiders: Chapter Seven Summary and Questions

The reporters and police interview Ponyboy, Sodapop, and Darry in the hospital waiting room. Sodapop jokes with the reporters and hospital staff, keeping the mood light with his antics. The doctors finally emerge and say that Dally will be fine but that Johnny’s back was broken when the roof caved in. Even if Johnny survives, they add, he will be permanently crippled.

The next morning, Ponyboy is making breakfast when Steve Randle (Sodapop’s best friend) and Two-Bit come in with the morning papers. The papers portray Ponyboy, Johnny, and Dally as heroes for rescuing the schoolchildren. They also mention Ponyboy’s excellent performance on the track team and in school. The papers mention that the state will charge Johnny with manslaughter and send both Ponyboy and Johnny to juvenile court, from which Ponyboy might be sent to a boys’ home. The other boys reassure Ponyboy that his family will stay together. Ponyboy tells them he had his recurring nightmare—which first occurred on the night of his parents’ funeral—the previous night. He never remembers the dream, but it makes him wake up in intense panic.

Ponyboy asks Sodapop about Sandy and learns that she got pregnant and moved to Florida. Her parents refused to let her marry Sodapop because of his age, so Sandy left to live with her grandmother. Sodapop and Darry go to work, and Two-Bit and Ponyboy go to get Cokes at the Tasty Freeze. A blue Mustang pulls up to the restaurant, and in it they see the group of Socs that jumped Ponyboy and Johnny in the park. Ponyboy feels an immediate and intense hatred for them.

One of the Socs, Marcia’s boyfriend, Randy, comes over to Ponyboy. Two-Bit reminds him that no fighting is allowed before the rumble, but Randy says he wants only to talk. He asks Ponyboy why he saved those children and says he would never have thought a greaser could do such a thing. Ponyboy says that it didn’t have anything to do with his being a greaser. Sick about the violence and Bob’s death, Randy says he does not intend to fight at the rumble. Randy explains that Bob was his best friend, a good guy with a terrible temper and overly indulgent parents. Ponyboy feels reassured by his talk with Randy and realises that Socs can be human and vulnerable.

Questions:

1.Why would being crippled be worse for Johnny than someone else?

2.  Why did Pony think it was better to see socs as “just guys”?  What do you think he means by this?

3. What was Bob’s ‘real’ problem, according to Randy ?

4. Imagine you are a reporter that has interviewed Ponyboy, write the news article that would appear in the local paper the following day. Include quotes you think Ponyboy might have given.

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