Referencing Chapter Three of S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders, why can't Cherry and Ponyboy socialize at school? 

Expert Answers
kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As Chapter Three of S.E. Hinton's novel The Outsiders begins, Cherry and Marcia are stranded at the theater after the movie has ended, and Two-Bit offers to drive the girls home. The connection between Cherry and Ponyboy, given full measure during the movie when the latter is able to see up-close the humanity of the former, enables Ponyboy to appreciate the superficial distinctions that separate the two perpetually-warring parties. The Socs and the Greasers, he realizes, are actually very similar, noting how both like the Beatles and view Elvis Presley as yesterday's phenomenon. There was, he came to believe, "a basic sameness" between the two groups, with money constituting the sole factor in the division that separated them. Cherry, the older and slightly wiser of the two, however, rebuts Ponyboy's suggestion:

"It's not just money. Part of it is, but not all. You greasers have a different set of values. You're more emotional. We're sophisticated--- cool to the point of not feeling anything. Nothing is real with us. You know, sometimes I'll catch myself talking to a girl-friend, and realize I don't mean half of what I'm saying."

Cherry is revealing for Ponyboy's benefit the entirely superficial nature of the Socs -- a shallowness she does not see in the less-educated, less-sophisticated Greasers. The two, she notes, are separated by more than just money, but it is the money, one can surmise, that is the root cause of the very shallowness among the Socs she decries. In her comments to Ponyboy, though, she is revealing her respect for the more emotionally-honest nature of the boys from the other side of the tracks and, in Ponyboy, she is meeting the personification of the humanity that resides among these poorer denizens of the society in which she lives. 

Read the study guide:
The Outsiders

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question