Based on Chapter 2 of S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders, what do we learn of Cherry Valance's feelings about the conflict between the greasers and the Socs?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders, we learn Cherry's view on the conflict between the Socs and the greasers towards the end of Chapter 2, when Cherry invites Ponyboy to visit the concession stand with her. While waiting in line, Cherry's thoughtful and observant comment that Johnny has been "hurt bad sometime" prompts Ponyboy to relay to Cherry a recent story about abuse Johnny had suffered at the hands of Socs for no reason.

As Ponyboy relays, Johnny had been out at night in an open field he and the greasers often play in, looking for a football to practice with, when four Socs pulled up in a blue mustang and jumped him. They had also "threatened him with everything under the sun," making him terrified enough that he now carries a blade for protection (p. 30). Immediately after Ponyboy finishes the story, he turns to Cherry and sees she is "white as a sheet" (p. 31). Cherry's reaction to learning about just how severe the conflict between the Socs and the greasers can be is to feel absolutely horrified.

She feels so guilty and horrified that she begs Ponyboy to believe not all Socs "are like that" (p. 31). She further explains that the greasers' belief that all Socs "have it made" is untrue. She explains that all people have their unimaginable problems, that "things are rough all over" (p. 31).

In Cherry's mind, the conflict between the Socs and greasers is absurd because all people are just people--they all have their problems. In Chapter 2, Cherry's reaction to Johnny's story and her dialogue with Ponyboy help to underscore the dominant theme in the book that class distinctions do not truly exist, as well as the theme warning against prejudices.

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The Outsiders

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