In chapter 8 how does Ponyboy react to Cherry's decision not to see Johnny in the hospital?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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When Cherry won’t visit Johnny in the hospital, Ponyboy understands but feels angry and then ashamed at his anger and makes peace with her.

When Ponyboy visits Johnny in the hospital, he realizes he is very badly off and may die.  This makes Ponyboy worried.  When he runs into Cherry, he suggests she see Johnny because he knows Johnny would like to see her and she may not get another chance.  Cherry refuses because of her boyfriend Bob.  Even though she knows Bob was in the wrong, Johnny still killed him and she still had feelings for Bob.  In reverence to Bob’s memory, she does not feel comfortable seeing Johnny.  She tells him:

“He killed Bob.  Oh, maybe he asked for it.  I know he did.  But I couldn’t ever look at the person who killed him.” (Chapter 8, p. 128)

Ponyboy understands, but he is angered by Cherry’s refusal to see his dying friend.  When she asks if he knows what she means, we hear his thoughts.  He says:

I did.  Cherry saw the same things in Dallas.  That was why she was afraid to see him, afraid of loving him. (p. 129)

Ponyboy clearly begins to get angrier.  He lashes out at Cherry, speaking sharply to her.  Even though he tells her it’s okay, he continues:

“I wouldn’t want you to see him.  You’re a traitor to your own kind and not loyal to us." (p. 129)

After he turns and leaves, his outburst makes him feel ashamed when he realizes he almost made her cry.  In the end, he makes a kind of peace offering by reminding them they both see the same sunset.

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