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As narrator, Ponyboy describes his view of life as including small groups of friends who stay together and protect each other during the conflicts with other social classes. And, in Chapter Four of The Outsiders this bonding of friendship becomes crucial to him. After Darry strikes him for being out so late, Ponyboy returns to his friend Johnny and they talk; afterwards, Ponyboy decides to return home, but he suggests they go to the park to give his brother some time to calm down. The night has grown cold and the boys shiver as they notice again the blue Mustang approaching them. Then, it stops and five Socs step out. Johnny turns white and his hand goes into the pocket where he keeps his switchblade.
- Ponyboy wishes that his brother and Soda were there also as in their fraternity, they could defend themselves against the drunken Socs.
I wished desperately that Darry and Soda would come along hunting for me. The four of us could handle them easily. But no one was around, and I knew Johnny and I were going to have to fight it out alone.
After Johnny warns the Socs that they are out of their territory, Bob calls the greasers "white trash with long hair."
- That Bob has insulted his friend Johnny incenses Pony and he retorts, "You know what a Soc is?" I said, my voice shaking with rage. "White trash with Mustangs and madras." And then, because I couldn't think of anything bad enough to call them, I spit at them.
Then, the fight begins as Bob sticks Ponyboy's head in the icy water of the fountain, holding him under water. Ponyboy hopes his friend will save him.
- I'm dying, I thought, and wondered what was happening to his friend Johnny. I couldn't hold my breath any longer. [Without Johnny's help he will drown]
- Fortunately, Johnny does rescue him, but only after he stabs Bob, killing him. When Ponyboy sees what has happened, he gets sick; then he asks Johnny if he has really killed Bob. Johnny explains,
"Yeah." His voice quavered slightly. "I had to. They were drowning you, Pony. They might have killed you. And they had a blade... they were gonna beat me up...."
- Ponyboy affirms his friendship for Johnny by including himself in the situation and not abandoning him to suffer the consequences alone: "Johnny!" I nearly screamed. "What are we gonna do? They put you in the electric chair for, killing people!"
- Johnny realizes that they must flee before the police come; Ponyboy asks his friend what they should do. "Dally," Johnny said with finality. "Dally'll get us outs here."I heaved a sigh. Why hadn't I thought of that? But I never thought of anything. Dallas Winston could do anything.
- So, the boys run to Dallas, who is a true hood. He tells Johnny "Good for you" when he learns of Bob's killing, and he provides the boys a gun and tells them about an abandoned church where they can hide. While he is sociopathic, enjoying the idea of Bob's murder, Dallas, nevertheless, extends friendship in helping Johnny and Ponyboy escape.
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