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In her novel, S.E. Hinton addressed the topic of violence from multiple angles. Johnny Cade is the the victim of violence when he is assaulted by the Socs and beaten by his father (plus his mother's verbal and mental abuse); Ponyboy refers to Johnny as "a little dark puppy that has been kicked too many times and is lost in a crowd of strangers..." Ponyboy is also attacked by the Socs. The Curtis boys and their friends participate in a "rumble," and Dally experiences violence during his childhood and adolescence spent in the streets. Eventually, Johnny dies as in indirect result of the Socs attacking him; Dally dies a violent death because he cannot handle losing Johnny. Overall, the novel delves deeply into the idea of violence and sends a message that it solves nothing and only damages those involved.
Near the end of Chapter 7, Ponyboy has a conversation with Randy, Bob's friend and one of the Socs who attacked Ponyboy and Johnny. After Bob's death, Randy seems to realize the futility of fighting a battle that no one can really win. He decides that he will not participate in the rumble scheduled for that night because it is pointless.
"...people get hurt in rumbles, maybe killed. I'm sick of it because it doesn't do any good. You can't win, you know that, don't you?...You can't win, even if you whip us. You'll still be where you were before--at the bottom. And we'll still be the lucky ones with all the breaks. So it doesn't do any good, the fighting and killing. It doesn't prove anything. We'll forget it if you win, or if you don't. Greasers will still be greasers and Socs will still be Socs...So I'd fight if I thought it'd do any good..."
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