Why do Darry, Soda, and Pony clean up before a rumble?

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Ponyboy doesn't tell the reader specifically why he and his brothers get dressed up before the rumble in one of the climactic scenes of The Outsiders . Pony tells us that they "always got spruced up before a rumble," and we know that he rushed to shower and change his...

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Ponyboy doesn't tell the reader specifically why he and his brothers get dressed up before the rumble in one of the climactic scenes of The Outsiders. Pony tells us that they "always got spruced up before a rumble," and we know that he rushed to shower and change his clothes. His only reason for doing so is that

... we wanted to show those Socs we weren't trash, that we were just as good as they were.

It was the Curtis brothers' only way of appearing remotely equal to their wealthier, better-dressed enemies. Pony wishes that his T-shirt fit as tight as Darry's, which showed off his muscles. He chose not to wear a jacket because it might "interfere with your swinging ability."

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