Chapter 6 Summary
Last Updated on March 31, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 642
Ponyboy and Johnny are shocked to hear that Cherry is helping the greasers. Bob, the boy Johnny killed, was her boyfriend. However, she knows how ruthless Bob sometimes was, and she believes Johnny acted in self-defense. Dallas mentions that Cherry seems to hate him, but Ponyboy knows that Cherry is afraid of falling in love with Dallas.
Johnny announces that he wants to go home and turn himself in. He says it is not fair for him to make the others take care of him or to keep Ponyboy away from his brothers. A bit fearfully, Johnny adds, “I don’t guess my parents are worried about me or anything?” They are not, and Johnny is devastated. This makes Dallas angry. He cannot understand why Johnny bothers caring about his parents when his parents do not care about him.
The boys get in the car and head back to the church. Dallas drives fast. After brooding a while, he says he does not want Johnny to go to prison. “You get hardened in jail,” he says. “I don’t want that to happen to you. Like it happened to me.” Ponyboy is shocked to hear Dallas reveal his feelings because he is normally cold and cruel. For the first time, Ponyboy feels some empathy for Dallas instead of just awe and fear.
As the car approaches the church, the boys realize it is on fire. Ponyboy jumps out of the car and runs to see. He finds a group of people, a few adults with a bunch of little kids, watching the flames. He knows he and Johnny probably started the fire by accident with their cigarette butts. When Ponyboy finds out some kids are missing, stuck inside the burning church, he sets off to rescue them.
Ponyboy cannot get through the church door, so he smashes a window and climbs inside. Johnny follows. They make their way through smoke and falling timbers to the back of the building, where they think the kids must be. Ponyboy realizes, to his surprise, that he does not feel scared. Johnny does not seem scared either. In fact, he looks happy.
The two boys find the kids and begin handing them out through the windows. Outside, Dallas shouts to leave the kids and get out, but Ponyboy and Johnny refuse to obey. By the time Ponyboy saves the last child and climbs out the window, the roof is caving in. Johnny, who is still inside, is hit by a falling beam. Ponyboy tries to go back and rescue Johnny, but Dallas hits him, and Ponyboy passes out.
Ponyboy awakens to the sound of sirens. At first he thinks the police have come for him. In fact, he is in an ambulance. A stranger is sitting with him, mopping his face with a cloth. The stranger, amazed at the boys’ bravery, suggests that they are angels. Ponyboy explains that they are greasers. He admits that Johnny is wanted for murder and that Dallas has a long police record. The man hardly seems to believe this.
At the hospital, doctors check Ponyboy and pronounce him okay except for a few burns and bruises. Dallas, who went into the church to rescue Johnny, is all right except for a bad burn on his arm. Johnny, however, is in bad shape, pale and unconscious.
Jerry Wood, the man from the ambulance, stays with Ponyboy in the hospital waiting room. Ponyboy tells the whole story about the murder. The man keeps thanking Ponyboy for saving the kids. He promises to help the boys fight Johnny’s murder charge.
Soda and Darry arrive at the hospital, and Ponyboy hugs Soda while Darry stands in the doorway crying. Darry admits that he was terrified he had lost Ponyboy just as they lost their parents. Ponyboy accepts that Darry loves him after all.