The Outsiders Chapter Three Summary and Questions

Ponyboy, Two-Bit, and Johnny walk to Two-Bit’s house with Cherry and Marcia so that they can give the girls a ride home. As they walk, Ponyboy and Cherry talk about Ponyboy’s brothers. He notices how easy it is to talk to Cherry. When Cherry asks Ponyboy to describe Darry, he says Darry does not like him and probably wishes he could put Ponyboy in a home somewhere. Johnny and Two-Bit are startled to hear that Ponyboy feels this way, and Johnny says he always thought the three brothers got along well.

Ponyboy, angry with Johnny and Two-Bit shouts at Johnny that he ‘ain’t wanted,’ at home either. Two-Bit is angry with Ponyboy for hurting Johnny like that and Ponyboy admits that he feels bad about what he said.

After Ponyboy tells Cherry about Sodapop’s old horse, Mickey Mouse, the two move on to discuss the differences they perceive between Socs and greasers. During this discussion, Ponyboy and Cherry find they have a surprising amount in common—for instance, they both like reading and watching sunsets. Ponyboy voices his frustration that the greasers have terrible luck while the Socs lead comfortable lives and jump the greasers out of sheer boredom. Cherry retorts that the Socs’ situations are not as simple as Ponyboy thinks. They decide that the main difference between Socs and greasers is that Socs are too cool and aloof to acknowledge their emotions and that they live their lives trying to fill up their emotional void, while the greasers feel everything too intensely. Ponyboy realises that, although they come from different classes, he and Cherry watch the same sunset.

A blue Mustang cruises by the group. The Mustang belongs to Bob and Randy, Cherry’s and Marcia’s Soc boyfriends. The Mustang pulls up beside the group, and Randy and Bob get out. Ponyboy notices that Bob wears three heavy rings on his hand. The greasers and Socs nearly get into a fight, but the girls agree to leave with their boyfriends to prevent violence. Before leaving, Cherry tells Ponyboy that she hopes she won’t see Dally again, because she thinks she could fall in love with him. The Blue mustang is used as a form of foreshadowing by the author and it is used to build tension in the story.

When the girls leave, Johnny and Ponyboy go to the car lot where they stare up at the stars. Ponyboy falls asleep and is startled when Johnny wakes him and he realises that he is past his curfew, which will annoy Darry. He runs home as fast as he can and it’s 2 a.m. when he arrives home.

Darry is extremely angry with Ponyboy when he tells him that he fell asleep at the lot. When Darry starts to shout at Ponyboy, he gets angry and begins shouting back at Darry. With tempers rising, Darry strikes Ponyboy with a slap to a face, which he immediately regrets.

Ponyboy runs out of the house and back to the lot where he gets Johnny and tells him that they are running away. Johnny doesn’t question this, which shows that he is happy to be getting away from his family.

When Ponyboy tells Johnny what happened, Johnny responds by saying he prefers when his dad is beating him up because at least he knows who he is when he’s doing that. He tells Ponyboy that he could stay out all night and no one in his house would even care. Ponyboy tells Johnny that he’s got the gang but Johnny tells him that it isn’t the same.

The chapter finished with Ponyboy telling the reader, things, “couldn’t get worse. I was wrong.” Again the author is foreshadowing future events in the story.


1.  What does Cherry explain as the difference between the socs and the greasers? 

2.  When and how did Pony’s parents die? 

3.  What happens when Pony comes home after his curfew? 

4.  Why does Johnny like it better when his father is hitting him? 

5.  At the end of the chapter, how does the author foreshadow that bad things are to come?

6. Imagine you are Ponyboy, write the diary entry you would write after Darry hit you.

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