Why does Randy visit Ponyboy in chapter 11 of The Outsiders?

According to Randy, he visits Pony to see how he is doing and to make sure he is okay. However, Randy proceeds to express his personal issues with his father and reveals his guilt regarding the complex situation. Randy then brings up the upcoming trial concerning Bob Sheldon's death and assures Pony that he is innocent. Randy's ulterior motive for visiting Pony is to vent his guilty feelings and gain insight into Pony's mindset before they testify.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In chapter 11, Randy visits Pony and tells him that he simply wanted to check in on him. Randy claims that he is concerned about Pony's well-being and sympathizes with his situation. He is aware that Pony has lost two of his friends and wants to see how he is holding up. As their conversation continues, Randy admits that he feels guilty about the entire situation and is upset that he let his father down. When Randy begins to lament about his relationship with his father, Pony starts to view him with contempt because he realizes that Randy's situation is significantly less serious than his. Randy then shifts the conversation to their upcoming trial and Pony insists that he killed Bob. Whenever Randy brings up Johnny's name, Darry intervenes and tells him to leave.

An astute reader can infer that Randy felt the need to express his feelings of guilt regarding his involvement in Bob's death, which reveals that Socs do have feelings and Randy has experienced a change of heart. Simply by visiting Pony and admitting his feelings of guilt and remorse, Randy shows his maturation and enhanced perspective. Randy may have also been worried that Pony would testify that he was directly involved in the altercation and was responsible for starting the fight that led to Bob's death. This would explain Randy's motivation for listening to Pony's explanation: to get an understanding of what he would say on the witness stand. It is difficult to determine Randy's true intentions, but one could argue that Randy visited Pony to vent his feelings of guilt and understand Pony's mindset before the trial begins.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

At the beginning of chapter eleven, Randy Adderson visits Ponyboy, who is still physically trying to recover from the rumble and struggling psychologically with the tragic deaths of his two close friends. When Randy arrives, he tells Ponyboy that he is simply visiting to see if he is doing okay. However, Randy immediately begins talking about their upcoming court hearing. After Randy mentions that his father is extremely upset by the entire ordeal, he attempts to set the record straight by telling Pony that Bob Sheldon stabbed Johnny in the park. However, Pony insists that he had the knife and was responsible for killing Bob. When Randy tells Pony that he is wrong, Pony begins to scream that Johnny is not dead, which prompts Darry to ask Randy to leave.

One can surmise that Randy not only wanted to see if Pony was okay but also was interested in corroborating their stories before the trial. Randy doesn't want the judge to think he or Pony is lying, which is why he wanted to make sure Pony was thinking clearly. However, Randy discovers that Pony is suffering psychologically from his traumatic experience and cannot recall the past accurately.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Randy is one of Bob’s friends and a Soc. He comes to visit Ponyboy in chapter 11 after Johnny has died. Ponyboy is experiencing the loss and going through the stages of grief. Randy visits Ponyboy to check in on him and let him know that he is going to testify that Pony is innocent. He tells Pony,

My dad says for me to tell the truth and nobody can get hurt. He's kind of upset about all this. I mean, my dad's a good guy and everything, better than most, and I kind of let him down, being mixed up in all this. (chapter 11)

Randy wants to make sure that Pony is doing alright, but he wants to put his mind at ease. With everything that has happened—Bob dying, the church fire, and Pony having a mental breakdown—I think Randy wanted to help put Pony at ease by telling him that it was all going to be alright.

When Pony starts taking the blame for Bob’s death, Randy is confused. However, he learns that in coming to talk to Pony he has brought up Johnny, and the mention of him makes Pony confused. Pony doesn’t accept Johnny’s death, and he doesn’t believe Johnny would have stabbed Bob. Ponyboy has begun to idealize Johnny in his mind after the death of his friend, and Randy can see the extent of Pony’s sickness in his warped memory of the event.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

If a reader goes by exactly what Randy says his reason for visiting Ponyboy is, then Randy comes to see Ponyboy in chapter 11 simply to check in on him and see how Ponyboy is doing after the recent rumble and everything else:

"No, thanks. Uh, Ponyboy, one reason I came here was to see if you were okay. . ."

Savvy readers will be able to infer that there is much more to Randy's visit. He's there because he is feeling guilty about everything that has recently transpired between the Greasers and the Socs. This is actually a big deal that Randy is feeling anything:

"And it's the first time I've felt anything in a long time."

If you remember all the way back to chapter 3, Cherry told Ponyboy that the problem with Socs is that they don't feel anything. Now, Randy is feeling guilty about his actions, the gang's actions, and the consequences that all of it has caused for his friends and family members.

"I wouldn't mind getting fined," Randy said, "but I feel lousy about the old man."

Before their conversation is over, Randy makes it clear that he is going to tell the judge the truth tomorrow.

"My dad says to tell the truth and nobody can get hurt. He's kind of upset about all this."

[...]

"Listen to me, Pony. You didn't do anything. It was your friend Johnny that had the knife..."

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, the Greasers is a gang "from the east side of town." Their only real rivals, the Socs, "jump Greasers and wreck houses" but remain "an asset to society" as Ponyboy comments. Ponyboy has a volatile relationship with his older brother Darryl who looks after Ponyboy since their parents were killed in a car crash. One day, Ponyboy is upset because Darryl has been shouting at him again and he decides to run away. Ponyboy decides not to run away but unfortunately, he and his best friend Johnny, get into a fight with the Socs; Randy, Bob and three others. Matters go completely out of control to the point that Johnny ends up killing Bob while trying to save Ponyboy. The boys know they have to go into hiding, and Dallas Winston, "the real character" of the Greasers and probably the most dangerous, leads them to a church where they can stay for now. Tragically things do not work out for the boys and Johnny dies from his injuries after he and Ponyboy try to save some children from being burnt to death in a fire in the church. 

After everything that happened Randy comes to see Ponyboy. He has to appear in Court the following day to give his account of what happened and he wants to talk to Ponyboy. Ponyboy is still in denial about the fact that Johnny is dead and he strongly disagrees with Randy when Randy talks about Johnny having killed Bob. Even though Randy tells Ponyboy that he saw what happened and that he understands, and even that Bob provoked Johnny, Ponyboy will not hear of it, claiming that he was the one who killed Bob. Randy leaves maintaining that he will tell the truth. He is sorry to hear that Ponyboy even risks being taken away from the care of his brother and placed into foster care. 

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on