In Chapter Four of The Outsiders, who do you think was “right” or wrong in this situation?

Expert Answers
Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter four includes one of the most important turning points in the novel which occurs at the park when Ponyboy and Johnny seek solitude after Ponyboy's fight with Darry.  As the boys lounge on the playground by the fountain, they are approached by Socs, who have clearly been looking for a fight ever since they ran into each other with Cherry and Marcia after the drive-in movie theater.   In this moment, the Socs are the clear aggressors, as they have had too much to drink, outnumber Johnny and Ponyboy, and are spoiling for a fight before they ever get out of the car.  In this way, in terms of motivation, the Socs are clearly wrong, because they want to fight mainly to teach the other boys a lesson about trying to fraternize with Soc girls.  At the same time, the fight ends horrifically, with Johnny murdering Bob with a switchblade; here, Johnny is in the wrong as well, because murder should never be a solution to any problem.  At the same time, however, the Soc boys were drowning Ponyboy, and Johnny acted in self-defense. 

Overall, the Socs are more in the wrong in this instance in chapter four, because they were the more obvious aggressors, looking for a fight.