Johnny shocks Dally by telling him he wants to go back home and confess to his crime. Dally tries to change Johnny’s mind, telling him he never wants to see Johnny hardened the way prison would harden him. Johnny is adamant and points out that his own parents would not care what happens to him, but Ponyboy’s brothers care about him and want to see him
Swearing under his breath, Dally begins to drive Johnny and Ponyboy home. As they drive past the church where Ponyboy and Johnny have been staying, they see that it is on fire. Ponyboy thinks he and Johnny must have started the fire with a cigarette butt, so the boys jump out of the car to examine the blaze.
At the church, they find a group of schoolchildren on a picnic. Suddenly, one of the adult chaperones cries out that some of the children are missing, and Ponyboy hears screaming from inside the church. Acting on instinct, he and Johnny climb into the burning building through a window. At the back of the church, they find the children huddled together and terrified. As he runs through the smoky inferno, Ponyboy wonders why he is not scared. He and Johnny lift the children out of the window. Dally appears and yells that the roof is about to cave in. As they lift the last child out the window, the roof crumbles. Johnny pushes Ponyboy out of the window, and then Ponyboy hears Johnny scream. Ponyboy starts to go back in for Johnny, but Dally clubs him across the back and knocks him out. For the second time, Ponyboy is unconscious and unable to narrate the events.
When Ponyboy wakes, he is in an ambulance, accompanied by one of the schoolteachers, Jerry Wood. The teacher tells him that his back caught on fire and that the jacket he was wearing, which Dally lent him, saved his life. He says that Dally was burned but will probably be fine. Johnny, however, is in very bad shape—he was struck by a piece of burning timber as it fell, and may have broken his back. The man jokingly asks Ponyboy if he and Johnny are professional heroes. Ponyboy tells him that they are juvenile delinquents.
Ponyboy has suffered mild burns. Jerry stays with him while he is in the hospital, and Ponyboy confides the story of Bob’s death. Jerry agrees that Johnny killed Bob in self-defense. He tells Ponyboy he shouldn’t smoke, something that no one has ever said to Ponyboy before. Darry and Sodapop arrive. Sodapop hugs Ponyboy, and Darry cries, shocking Ponyboy. The anger he has felt toward Darry dissolves. Ponyboy realizes that Darry does care about him; Darry is strict because he loves Ponyboy and wants him to succeed. Ponyboy runs across the room and embraces his brother, thinking that everything will be fine once he gets home.
- Do you think Dally’s parents have influenced the way he is; his personality? Explain.
2. Why doesn’t Dally want Johnny to turn himself in?
3. What “other side” of Dallas is revealed in this chapter?
4. What’s your own definition of a hero? Do the three boys prove themselves to be heroes, according to your definition? Explain.
5. Why do you think Johnny wasn’t scared, despite the obvious danger?
6. How do you feel when you realise that Johnny is badly hurt?
7. Imagine you are Johnny, write a diary entry based on today’s events.