Why did the author include the conversation about sunsets at the end of Chapter 8? What is the conversation really about?

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At the end of Chapter 8, Ponyboy asks Cherry the question, "can you see the sunset real good from the West Side?" (Hinton 129) Cherry says that she can see it real good, and Pony says he can see it good too from the East Side. S.E. Hinton includes this comment about sunsets at the end of an intense conversation with Ponyboy and Cherry to create a connection between the two characters. Sunsets are more than just a symbol for seeing the natural world and time passing throughout the novel. When Ponyboy first meets Cherry they have a connection and both mention that they enjoy watching sunsets. In Chapter 8, Ponyboy criticizes Cherry for not wanting to see Johnny, and there is a rift between the two characters. After Ponyboy sees that Cherry is about to cry, he feels compassion and remembers that they are both similar. Even though Pony is a greaser and Cherry is a Soc they are both experiencing similar types of pain. Cherry reminds Ponyboy that she is only trying to help and tells him that he is a nice kid. Ponyboy remembers that despite their differences they share a lot of things in common, including sunsets. Hinton uses Ponyboy and Cherry's similar interests in sunsets to connect the two characters. Cherry and Ponyboy's ability to view the sunsets from either side of town creates a bond between the two and sends the message that "things are not so different after all."

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