The Outsiders Questions and Answers
by S. E. Hinton

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In chapter 4 of 'The Outsiders', how did the setting foreshadow the events in this chapter?

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The setting of chapter 4 is the park. It should be a place where Ponyboy and Johnny get to be kids, but the irony is that they are beyond childhood despite their years. The Robert Frost poem so admired by Johnny ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’ explains that the bloom of life is a brief but beautiful thing, which passes swiftly but should be appreciated. Despite the tragic circumstances, the park is one of the ‘golden’ moments for Johnny. He has saved his friend’s life and his own. It is Johnny who takes charge and decides that they will go to Dallas Winston to help them. Johnny starts to fight back from this point. He is doomed, but will die a hero.

 

The setting of the park illustrates also how the feud between the Greasers and the Soc’s is seen as a game. The boys enjoy preparing for rumbles: it is the entertainment for both sets of teenagers. It takes the deaths of Bob, Johnny and Dallas for the remaining characters to realise that their game is deadly.

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