Chapter 3 Summary

After the movie, the boys convince the girls to let Two-Bit drive them home. As they all walk to Two-Bit’s car, Cherry explains to Ponyboy that money is not the only difference between Socs and greasers. She says poor kids like Ponyboy are more emotional and real, whereas the richer Socs find it difficult to feel anything. She says the Socs have more than they want, so it is difficult to satisfy them.

Ponyboy is normally quiet, but he finds it easy to talk to Cherry. He tells her all about Soda, but when she asks about Darry, Ponyboy gets bitter and says Darry is cold and mean. He argues with Two-Bit and Johnny, who say that Darry loves Ponyboy. The whole conversation is overwhelming to Ponyboy, who gets frustrated thinking of the difficult lives his friends and brothers have to lead. “It ain’t fair that we have all the rough breaks!” he says.

A blue Mustang pulls up. The boys inside are Socs, the boyfriends of Cherry and the other girl. The Socs argue with the girls and call Ponyboy and the other greaser boys a bunch of bums. Two-Bit wants to fight over this. He pulls a switchblade and hands Ponyboy a broken bottle.

Cherry begs the boys not to fight. She takes Ponyboy aside and says she has to get into the car and go. Before she leaves, she surprises Ponyboy by saying she could easily fall in love with Dallas.

After the girls leave, Ponyboy and Johnny lie down in a vacant lot to look at the stars. Johnny says he cannot take much more of the anger and violence between greasers and Socs. He even threatens to kill himself. Alarmed, Ponyboy tries to soothe Johnny by talking about a fantasy life away in the country, where there would be space to think and no need to carry a blade. Both boys fall asleep.

At two o’clock in the morning, Johnny wakes Ponyboy and sends him home. Darry is furious. He has been waiting fearfully, too scared to call the police. The Curtis brothers are all afraid of the cops because if any one of them gets in trouble, Soda and Ponyboy could be taken out of Darry’s custody and placed in foster homes. In the argument that follows, Darry gets so angry he slaps Ponyboy hard.

Scared and hurt, Ponyboy runs away. Darry yells after him, “Ponyboy, I didn’t mean to!” but Ponyboy keeps running. He finds Johnny and declares they are running away. The two boys walk the streets for a while, but it gets colder and later, and eventually Ponyboy decides he needs to go home.