Sherry (Cherry) Valance is the girlfriend of Bob Sheldon, the Soc who is later killed in the park by Johnny Cade. A beautiful, red-headed cheerleader, she is one of the most popular girls at school, and one who Pony has never considered approaching. Cherry obviously likes tough guys, since Bob is one of the most brutal of the Socs; she also falls immediately for the even more street-wise Dallas Winston, telling Pony that she could fall in love with him. Unlike most of the Socs, who hate greasers, Cherry has no problem with Pony and Johnny. She bonds with Pony, and they both admit to loving sunsets. Cherry is strong-minded, though she does allow Bob to dominate her at times. She sees the good in Bob that few others see, just as she sees it in Pony, Johnny and Dally. Serving later as the greasers' "spy," she lets Pony know that no weapons will be used in the rumble. She helps Pony understand that wealth does not always make people happy and that sunsets can be enjoyed by rich or poor.
Cherry Valance is a Soc, but she recognizes the Socs and Greasers are not so different. She has the courage to sit with Pony Boy and talk about the issues between these two groups. She serves as the intermediary between the two groups. She exemplifies the change and acceptance needed for the clashes between the two groups to end.