In The Outsiders, what do the newspapers report about the fire and the three greasers who were on the scene? 

In The Outsiders, Ponyboy reads a newspaper article after the church fire that labels him and Johnny as heroes for saving the children. The story also describes the fight that led to their fugitive status and puts the blame on the Socs. The reporter further explains that if Johnny survives, he will be charged with manslaughter, and Ponyboy must also go to court.

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The drama in The Outsiders escalates when, in yet another conflict between the Socs and the greasers, Johnny winds up killing Bob because the Socs almost drowned Ponyboy in the fountain. To protect Ponyboy, Johnny pulls out his switchblade and stabs Bob. After this, Johnny and Ponyboy go on the run and later hide out in an abandoned church. When the church catches fire with children inside, Johnny and Ponyboy rescue the children.

When Ponyboy tunes out Two-Bit to read the newspaper article, which is titled, “Juvenile Delinquents Turn Heroes,” he sees that a whole page has been dedicated to stories about “the fight, the murder, the church burning, the Socs being drunk, everything.” The reporting appears to be well balanced, with the reporter acknowledging, through an interview with Cherry Valance, that Bob had been drunk and that “the boys had been looking for a fight.” Cherry had also admitted to the reporter that Bob had threatened to “fix” the greasers “for picking up his girl.” Randy Adderson is also quoted as acknowledging that the fight had been the Socs’ fault, and that the greasers had only fought back in self defense.

The report hails Ponyboy and Johnny as heroes who risked their lives to save the children from the burning church building. One of the children’s parents is quoted as saying that all the children would have lost their lives had it not been for Ponyboy and Johnny’s intervention.

On the downside, the report reveals that Johnny is being charged with manslaughter in light of Bob’s death. Ponyboy also learns through reading this article that he and Johnny are expected to appear in juvenile court for running away. He notes with relief that “for once” there are no charges against Dally.

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In S. E. Hinton's novel The Outsiders, greasers Johnny and Ponyboy get into yet another confrontation with members of their rival group the Socs. Johnny ends up killing Bob, one of the Socs, and he and Ponyboy flee with the help of their friend Dally. Dally leaves them in an abandoned church where they hide for about a week.

When Dally comes back to check on his friends, Johnny tells them that he is going to turn himself in. But as the three are leaving, they notice that the church is on fire. What's more, there are children inside. Ponyboy and Johnny rush in to save the kids. They manage to get them all out, but the roof collapses. Johnny is badly injured.

The next morning, Ponyboy sees a newspaper headline: “Juvenile Delinquents Turn Heroes.” The article tells all about the fight, the killing, and the fire in the church as well as how the greasers risked their lives to save the children. The article also quotes Cherry Valance, who explains how Bob had been drunk and how the Socs had been the instigators of the fight. Johnny and Ponyboy were only defending themselves.

The article continues, however, that the authorities have decided to charge Johnny with manslaughter if he survives and that Ponyboy must appear in court as a runaway. Dally is facing no charges, and the article credits him with saving Johnny from the burning church.

Ponyboy is surprised to see yet another section of the article that tells about his life with his brothers and how they have worked so hard to stay together. The reporter states the opinion that the boys should not be separated.

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In chapter 7, Ponyboy reads the newspaper article entitled "JUVENILE DELINQUENTS TURN HEROES," which elaborates on the boys' lives and their heroics. Ponyboy mentions that the article begins with stories concerning the fight between the Socs, the murder, the church burning, the Socs getting drunk often, and practically everything that gives the reader a background into the lives of Greasers. The article then explains how Johnny and Pony entered the burning church to save the lives of innocent children trapped inside. The article elaborates on the fight between the Socs, and Cherry Valance's comments are recorded, where she mentions that Bob was drunk and looking for trouble when he confronted Pony and Johnny. It is stated that the authorities are charging Johnny with manslaughter and Pony discovers that he is supposed to appear in juvenile court for running away. The article also portrays Dally as a hero and elaborates on the Curtis boys' positive traits. At the end of the article, Pony is depicted as a track star and it mentions that the Curtis brothers should not be separated. 

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After the fight with the Socs, young Greasers Johnny and Ponyboy run away and hide in an old church which then catches fire while some children on a field trip are playing in it.  The boys learn how the public views these events afterward.

Steve tells Ponyboy that the headline in the paper read “JUVENILE DELINQUENTS TURN HEROES” on the front page of the second section. (p. 107).  Ponyboy finds the article interesting.

The article told how Johnny and I had risked our lives saving those little kids, and there was a comment from one of the parents, who said that they would all have burned to death if it hadn't been for us. (p. 108)

Ponyboy notes that the article describes the fight in a way that is sympathetic to the Greasers, and even calls Dally a hero even though Johnny knows he won’t like it because it did not include his police record, “which he was kind of proud of” (p. 108).

Ponyboy’s reaction to the newspaper article is typical to his selfless personality.  As the enotes character description for Ponyboy notes “the beauty of Ponyboy's character is that though he emerges strong and confident at the end of the book, it is not the result of becoming a tough hood but of remaining true to himself” (enotes character analysis, Ponyboy).  Ponyboy does not want to be a hero.  He just wants to be left alone to be himself.



Enotes. "The Outsiders." Web. 07 May 2012. 

Hinton, S. E. The Outsiders,. New York: Viking, 1967. Print.

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The newspaper, which normally portrays the Greasers as hooligans and criminals, has a change of heart after the fire.  Once Pony and Johnny save the kids from the fire, the teacher tells the media that the boys were, essentially heroes for their selfless acts.  Pony and Johnny are shocked when they read the paper, because they are portrayed in a positive light rather than they way they are used to be written about.  Even though the fire is probably started by one of the Greaser's cigarettes, there is no mention of this potential in the story.

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