What is Ponyboy comparing Two-Bit to when he calls him a "chessy cat" in The Outsiders?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Ponyboy refers to Two-Bit Mathews "grinning like a Chessy cat" in Chapter 2 of The Outsiders, he is no doubt using an allusion referring to the mythical Cheshire cat made famous by Lewis Carroll in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The Cheshire cat in Alice was famous for its mischievous grin but, nearly as important, it could appear and disappear at will. In this scene of The Outsiders, Two-Bit surprised Pony when he came out of nowhere and snarled, "Okay, greasers, you've had it." Pony "almost jumped out of his skin" until he "fearfully" looked back to find it was only Two-Bit. Two-Bit was also similar to the Cheshire cat in another way: The cat in Alice often cheered her up when she was down, just as Two-Bit does with Ponyboy.

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The Outsiders

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