What do Johnny and Ponyboy do when they know the children are in the church? Are they scared?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The chapter that you are asking about is chapter 6.  Ponyboy and Johnny see the church burning, and they think that one of their cigarettes must have started the fire.  The two boys quickly realize that there are kids all around the building, and they can hear kids screaming from within the church as well.  

Then we all froze. Faintly, just faintly, you could hear someone yelling. And it sounded like it was coming from inside the church.

Johnny and Ponyboy do not hesitate.  The fling themselves headlong at the church.  They break through a window and climb through in order to find and rescue any children inside the church.  The two boys quickly locate the children and begin hustling them out of the church.  

No, Ponyboy and Johnny are not scared.  Physiologically, their adrenaline is on overdrive.  They know that they have to act quickly, or the kids will die.  Johnny and Ponyboy simply do not have time to be scared.  What's interesting about the text is that Ponyboy recalls thinking about the danger he is in and wondering why he is not scared.  

I should be scared, I thought with an odd detached feeling, but I'm not. The cinders and embers began falling on us, stinging and smarting like ants. Suddenly, in the red glow and the haze, I remembered wondering what it was like in a burning ember, and I thought: Now I know, it's a red hell. Why aren't I scared?

Read the study guide:
The Outsiders

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