In "The Outsiders," how does what the doctor first says at the beginning of Chapter 8 foreshadow Johnny's condition?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The doctor's ominous words at the beginning of Chapter 8 foreshadow that Johnny is hurt so badly that he is going to die.  The nurses, following hospital rules, are adamant that, because of his critical condition, he is to be allowed no visitors, but when the doctor comes, he tells the nurses, "Let them go in...He's been asking for them.  It can't hurt now".  Assuming that hospital rules are made for the benefit of the patient, and that protecting Johnny from the stress of having visitors would have hastened his recovery, the doctor's instructions to allow the boys to see him in accordance with Johnny's wishes because "it can't hurt now" pretty much says that there is no hope for his recovery. The hospital rules has no purpose now, because Johnny is going to die anyway, and it is more important at this point to keep him as comfortable as possible.

Although the less perceptive Two-Bit doesn't understand the unsaid meaning behind the doctor's words, Ponyboy picks up on the doctor's implication immediately when he thinks numbly, "It's true...he is dying".

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The Outsiders

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