Chapter 11 Summary
Ponyboy’s doctors say he has to stay in bed for a whole week. He is not the kind of person who usually sits still, so he has trouble following the doctors’ orders. He reads and draws pictures, but he is bored. One day he looks through Soda’s old yearbooks. He finds a picture he recognizes slightly, but he is not sure why. When he reads the name, he finds out it is Bob.
Ponyboy studies the picture for some time, trying to imagine what kind of person Bob was when he was not drinking and fighting. He knows that Cherry thought he was sweet and funny, a good friend, and a leader. Ponyboy wonders about Bob’s parents. Do they hate Ponyboy and Johnny? Ponyboy hopes so. He hopes that Bob’s parents do not pity the greasers as victims of their environment. He would rather be hated or understood than pitied.
Darry comes in and tells Ponyboy that Randy, Bob’s friend, is there for a visit. Darry does not seem to want to let Randy in, but Ponyboy gives his permission. Randy sits down, looking embarrassed, but Ponyboy cannot bring himself to be ashamed of his humble house and poor neighborhood. After a few conversational false starts, Randy brings up Ponyboy’s hearing, which he and Ponyboy are both required to attend. Ponyboy is trying not to think about the hearing but Randy insists on discussing it.
Randy is worried about his father, who is disappointed that Randy got himself mixed up in such a bad situation. Ponyboy cannot understand this. He knows Randy’s father can afford to pay any fine the judge levies. To Ponyboy it seems stupid for Randy to worry when he has nothing to lose. Ponyboy explains that his own parents are dead and that he and Soda may be placed in foster homes if the judge decides that Darry is not a good enough guardian. Randy did not know that Ponyboy’s parents were dead, and he is upset when he hears it. He tries to reassure Ponyboy, saying that only Johnny, Bob’s killer, could have gotten in real trouble.
Hearing this, Ponyboy protests: “I had the knife. I killed Bob.” When Randy tries to set him straight, Ponyboy gets upset. He insists that he killed Bob and that Johnny is not dead. Darry makes Randy leave. Darry explains that Ponyboy is confused about everything that has happened and that the doctor says he needs time to heal.