Why is Cherry able to "get through" to Ponyboy in The Outsiders? How does he feel about her?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It's no wonder that Ponyboy becomes enamored with Cherry Valance: She is the beautiful daughter of wealthy parents, drives a Corvette and is a cheerleader at Pony's high school. Unlike the other Soc girls, who want nothing to do with greasers, Cherry is friendly--even flirtatious--to Pony and Johnny, and they feel special sitting with the Soc cheerleader and her friend, Marcia, at the drive-in. The boys are not outcasts during the time they spend with the two Soc girls, and the girls boost their confidence when the boys are told they can "protect us."

Would we ever have something to tell the boys! We had picked up two girls, and classy ones at that.

Cherry is easy to talk to, and she and Pony hit it off when they find out that both of them "dig sunsets." She enjoys the company of the "sweet" boys, who are sober, unlike her boyfriend, Bob. Cherry's flattery about Sodapop--"your brother is one doll"--doesn't hurt, nor does Cherry's remark that

"I might have guessed you were brothers--you look alike."

Her explanation that the Socs have it hard--"Things are rough all over"--just like the greasers, makes sense to Pony. He loves the short time they spend during the movie.

I ... thought how nice it was to sit with a girl without having to listen to her swear or to beat her off with a club.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Cherry is able to connect with Ponyboy because she shares a similar perspective and approach to life with him. Unlike the other Soc girls, Cherry is down-to-earth and approachable. She is also understanding and sympathetic toward Ponyboy's situation. The two characters also share the same interests and are unique individuals in their respective social groups. Cherry's sensitive nature allows Ponyboy to feel comfortable enough about himself to communicate his feelings. Cherry also expresses her true emotions concerning her social group and values, which demonstrates her open, accepting personality. Ponyboy does not feel like he is being judged, and says,

"I don't know why I could talk to her; maybe for the same reason she could talk to me" (Hinton, 34).

Cherry's welcoming, genuine personality encourages Ponyboy to share his personal stories and feelings. Ponyboy feels privileged to have such an honest conversation with a Soc cheerleader and appreciates Cherry's friendship. He views Cherry as a sympathetic, insightful individual that he can talk to about his complicated feelings.