What's an example of belittling jokes in the book "The Outsiders" by S. E. Hinton

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Two-Bit in particular used humor to diffuse difficult situations, but often his jokes and comments could be perceived as being belittling or 'put downs.'  He enjoyed teasing the other boys in the gang, and those who knew him best appreciated the fact that his teasing was good-natured, not mean-spirited.  For example, when Ponyboy returns home from the hospital, Two Bit does not know how to deal with his emotions--worry from when Ponyboy, a kid he loves like a brother, went missing, or the relief he felt when Ponyboy returned.  Of course, Two Bit does not know how to communicate all of this to Ponyboy, so instead he teases him about his hair:

"Man, dig baldy here! [...] I wouldn't have believed it.  I thought all the wild Indians in Oklahoma had been tamed.  What squaw's got that tuff-lookin' mop of yours, Ponyboy?" (106-107)

Two-Bit accompanies his comment with a wink at Steve, and Ponyboy knows that he is not really serious.  Still, the comment probably does wound Ponyboy's feelings a little bit, because he really did miss his 'tuff' looking hair.