There are several scenes throughout the novel that depict Johnny Cade displaying his intelligence. In Chapter 4, immediately after Johnny saves Ponyboy's life by stabbing a Soc, Ponyboy realizes their predicament and begins to panic. Johnny calms Ponyboy down and says, "We'll need money. And maybe a gun. And a plan" (Hinton 50). When Ponyboy asks Johnny where in the world they would be able to get such things, Johnny answers by telling him that they need to go find Dally. Johnny then informs Pony that Dally is at a party at Buck Merrill's home. Johnny's ability think of a plausible way to get out of town by consulting Dally displays his intelligence. He does not panic and thinks clearly in a stressful situation.
Another scene throughout the novel that depicts Johnny's intelligence takes place in Chapter 5. Ponyboy and Johnny read Gone With the Wind while they are hiding out and Pony mentions,
"It amazed me how Johnny could get more meaning out of some of the stuff in there than I could--- I was supposed to be the deep one" (Hinton 65).
Although Johnny struggled in the school, his ability to understand and analyze the text portrays his intelligence.