The Outsiders Questions and Answers
by S. E. Hinton

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In S.E. Hinton's novel The Outsiders, why does Ponyboy remind Cherry that they both watch the same sunset?

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In Chapter Three of S.E. Hinton's novel The Outsiders, Ponyboy and Cherry discover that, despite their vastly different backgrounds, and the fact that they stand respectively on opposite sides of the war between the Socs and the Greasers, they are very much alike. Both are sensitive and perceptive, and both aspire to a more intellectually rewarding future, even though Ponyboy recognizes the futility in his dreams. During their encounter, Cherry asks Ponyboy about his interest in literature, leading to her reference to sunsets:

"You read a lot, don't you, Ponyboy?" Cherry asked.

I was startled. "Yeah. Why?"

She kind of shrugged. "I could just tell. I'll bet you watch sunsets, too."

This exchange is an early indication of the rare common bond that could exist among these disparate youths if prejudices could be overcome. This is why later, in Chapter Eight, Ponyboy reminds Cherry of their emotional bond, and of the superficial prejudices that separate their worlds. The following exchange from this chapter encapsulates Ponyboy's conclusion that the Greasers are not inferior to the Socs because of their less-fortunate position on the socioeconomic ladder:

"Hey," I said suddenly, "can you see the sunset real good from the West Side?"

She blinked, startled, then smiled. "Real good."

"You can see it good from the East Side, too," I said quietly.

Ponyboy is reminding Cherry that they both watch the same sunset because he is reminding her, and himself, that they are both human beings and that neither is better than the other.

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