Ponyboy realizes that Cherry and Marcia “weren’t alike.” What is the reasoning for this claim in The Outsiders?

Ponyboy realizes that Cherry and Marcia are not alike after witnessing how differently the two girls respond to Dally's untoward behavior. Cherry takes an active role and tells Dally off, while Marcia passively ignores him and does not react. Cherry refuses Dally's peace offering and throws it in his face, while Marcia is happy to accept hers. Cherry is passionate, true to her word, and has no tolerance for nonsense. Marcia is very laid-back and indifferent.

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In addition to the physical differences between the two girls—Marcia was “cute,” but Cherry was “a real looker"—Ponyboy first realizes that Cherry and Marcia “weren’t alike,” by the way each girl handles the Coke Dally gives them.

Dally sees Ponyboy and Johnny at the movies with the two Soc girls and joins them. Dally thinks Cherry is attractive and he starts smart-talking her and saying inappropriate things to her. When he offers to bring everyone a Coke from the concession stand, Cherry is angry at the way that he has behaved and menaced them. She wants him to leave and tells him,

"I wouldn't drink it if I was starving in the desert. Get lost, hood!"

When Dally comes “striding back with an armful of Cokes,” and arrogantly says, “This might cool you off.” he hands one to each girl and their reactions are completely different. Cherry throws her Coke in Dally’s face, telling him,

"That might cool you off, greaser…”

Ponyboy then notices that Marcia is drinking her Coke. This is what drives home his realization that the two girls are not alike. Cherry acted consistently. She asked Dally to leave them alone and told him that she would not accept the Coke from him. Marcia also wanted Dally to leave them alone, but “Marcia saw no reason to throw away a perfectly good, free Coke.”

The differences between the two girls become more apparent as Ponyboy gets to know Cherry a little bit better and forms a friendship with her. The two sit outside and stare at the moon while they have a meaningful conversation.

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In chapter 2 of The Outsiders, shortly after meeting Cherry and Marcia, Ponyboy comes to the realization that the two girls are different. This claim results from Ponyboy's observation of the different ways in which the two girls respond to the same situation. Dally harasses Cherry and Marcia while they are watching a movie. He talks loudly and makes inappropriate comments. While Marcia is passive and "pretend[s] not to hear Dally," Cherry actively responds to Dally: "Take your feet off my chair and shut your trap." When Dally continues to bother the girls, Cherry warns him that she will call the police if he does not stop.

As Cherry and Dally argue, Marcia sits quietly and does not participate in the conversation. Dally attempts to make peace by offering to get Cokes for the girls. Cherry responds to this offer by saying, "I wouldn't drink it if I was starving in the desert. Get lost, hood!" When Dally returns with the beverages, Cherry angrily throws hers in his face, while Marcia is happy to drink her own. Seeing the girls' contrasting responses to Dally's behavior makes Ponyboy realize that the two are not alike:

Cherry had said she wouldn't drink Dally's Coke if she was starving, and she meant it. It was the principle of the thing. But Marcia saw no reason to throw away a perfectly good, free Coke.

Cherry actively addresses Dally's behavior, unlike Marcia, who ignores him. Cherry is true to her word and does not accept Dally's offering on principle, while Marcia does not hold a grudge and is happy to enjoy her Coke, regardless of who gave it to her. Cherry is proud and values integrity, while Marcia is laid-back and passive.

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In chapter 2, Dally Winston gives Cherry and her friend a difficult time at the drive-in movies by acting rude and purposely interrupting the film. Cherry reveals her no-nonsense personality by challenging Dally and telling him to leave them alone. Dally responds in a sarcastic manner before offering to buy them Cokes. Cherry responds to Dally's offer by saying,

"I wouldn't drink it if I was starving in the desert. Get lost, hood!" (Hinton, 20).

Cherry and Marcia then befriend Pony and Johnny and enjoy a brief conversation before Dally returns with two Cokes. Cherry proceeds to throw the Coke back in Dally's face while Marcia graciously accepts the drink. After Dally leaves, Pony, Johnny, and Two-Bit get to know the Soc cheerleaders and Cherry asks him to accompany her to the concession stand. Pony then asks if anyone wants anything and notices that Marcia is finishing the Coke that Dally bought her. Pony then mentions,

"I realized then that Marcia and Cherry weren't alike. Cherry had said she wouldn't drink Dally's Coke if she was starving, and she meant it. It was the principle of the thing. But Marcia saw no reason to throw away a perfectly good, free Coke" (Hinton, 28).

Ponyboy believes that Cherry has more integrity and means what she says, which is why she refused to accept Dally's Coke. Her refusal to accept Dally's Coke also portrays her strong-minded, stubborn personality.

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In chapter 2 of The Outsiders, Ponyboy, Johnny, and Dallas go to a drive-in movie where they encounter two girls, Marcia and Cherry. The boys sit behind the girls where Dallas proceeds to talk inappropriately. Ponyboy recalls that he would not have been so embarrassed by Dallas's actions if the girls were "greasy girls." Cherry shows no tolerance for Dallas's behavior. When Dallas offers the girls a Coke, she replies, "I wouldn't drink it if I was starving in the desert." When Dallas leaves and returns with the drinks, Cherry throws her drink at Dallas. Ponyboy later notices that Marcia is almost finished with her drink. For this reason, he believes that Marcia and Cherry "weren't alike." Marcia sees no problem in drinking the Coke even though Dallas is the one to give it to her. With Cherry, however, it is "the principle of the thing." Cherry means what she says.

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