Three ways that the conversation and relationship between Pony and Cherry fit the appearance vs. reality theme.
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These two characters of S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders seem to be perfectly mismatched. Cherry is a popular cheerleader at Ponyboy's school, but the two of them run in totally different circles. Cherry dates a popular Soc, drives a nice car, and comes from a financially secure family. She is several years older than Ponyboy, who is a loner at school and hangs out with his greaser friends afterward. He has no girlfriend, no wheels and his parents are dead. His older brother, Darry, provides the best he can for Pony and his other brother, Sodapop. However, Cherry and Pony mesh when they talk about their dreams and simple loves--notably sunsets. Neither profess to like the violent aspects of the Soc-greaser rivalry, but Cherry's boyfriend and Pony's friends are constantly involved in fights. It is an unusual relationship indeed.
Both Ponyboy and Cherry appear to epitomize the gangs to which they are affiliated: Pony's haircut, stance and closeness to his brothers contrasts with Cherry the cheerleader riding in cars with boozed up Soc's. However, each of them have hidden depths. Cherry chooses to discuss the sunsets they both share and Pony discusses his love of reading. They are able to open up to each other in a unique way.
A fourteen year old boy would be expected to have a crush on a beautiful seventeen year old who is prepared to talk to him, yet Pony seems more captivated by her honesty than any lustful desires. Similarly Cherry unexpectedly comments on how much Pony looks as handsome as his older brother, Soda.
Both Pony and Cherry can see that there is something beyond gang loyalty - sincerity, integrity and respect. These values can -and do - transcend gang loyalty for both of these characters.
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