In the novel, The Outsiders, why was the court hearing important and what were the decisions of the court?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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As might be expected, the court hearing near the end of The Outsiders is primarily important from a legal point of view. It is meant to determine whether Ponyboy was in any way liable for the death of the Soc, and it will determine whether the Curtis family will get to stay together (or if Pony will be sent to a boy's home). The Socs' who are present, including Cherry, speak truthfully, although Pony is still confused about who actually did the killing. Pony, in his unstable state of mind, still believes it was he, and not Johnny, who pulled the knife. Pony is exonerated, and he is given the opportunity to resume his life.

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gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The court hearing that takes place towards the end of the novel is important to determine whether or not Ponyboy is in any way responsible for the death of Bob Sheldon, as well as if the Curtis brothers will remain together or be sent to different foster homes. During the court hearing, the Socs tell the truth by saying that Johnny acted in self-defense when he stabbed Bob. The judge also asks Darry and Sodapop whether they were friends with Dally. Darry responds by saying that Dally was indeed their close friend. When Ponyboy testifies, the judge only asks him questions regarding his living situation. The judge asks Ponyboy if he liked living with Darry and whether he enjoyed going to school. The doctor must have informed the judge that Ponyboy was mentally ill following the multiple traumatic experiences. Fortunately, Ponyboy is acquitted, and the Curtis brothers get to stay together.

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