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Cherry's motivations for supporting the Greasers in The Outsiders

Summary:

Cherry supports the Greasers because she recognizes the unfairness and prejudice they face. Despite being a Soc, she sees the humanity in the Greasers and understands that they are not fundamentally different from her own group. Her empathy and desire for fairness drive her to bridge the gap between the two groups.

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Why did Cherry become a spy for the greasers in The Outsiders?

Cherry abhors the violence that exists between the greasers and Socs; she is attracted to the dangerous side of Dally in much the same way that she was attracted to Bob; and she genuinely likes Ponyboy. I think above all, Cherry feels guilty about the way things have turned out for Pony and Johnny. Though she defends Bob and tells Pony about Bob's good-natured side, Cherry knows that it was Bob who savagely beat Johnny, and she must know that the greasers' side of the story about what happened in the park is true. She already knows that Bob was drunk that night and that he must have tried to hurt Johnny and Pony. She probably feels somewhat responsible for the boys having to hide out from the cops and for the injuries Johnny has received. With Bob dead, she has no true allegiances to the Socs, and she probably realizes that she might actually prevent more serious injuries by letting the greasers know that the Socs don't plan to use weapons. In the end, it is a way of Cherry to sever her ties with Bob's old friends; a way of showing her friendship for Pony; and a way to acknowledge that Pony would do the same thing for her.

"I wasn't trying to give you charity, Ponyboy. I only wanted to help. I liked you from the start... Do you realize how scarce nice kids are nowadays? Wouldn't you try to help me if you could?" (Chapter 8)

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Why did Cherry become a spy for the greasers in The Outsiders?

Cherry's reason for becoming a spy is two-fold.  First of all, through her very personal discussion with Ponyboy at the drive-in, she came to realize that Greasers had feelings and trouble just like the Socs.  She came to see Ponyboy as a person, not just a greaser and appreciated his "protecting" her at the drive-in and the walk home.  Also, Cherry felt some sense of guilt or obligation to the Ponyboy and Johnny as she knew if they had not befriended her and Marcia at the drive-in that Bob and Randy would not have been seeking revenge on them in the first place. 

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In The Outsiders, why does Cherry help the greasers?

Cherry Vallance is a Soc cheerleader who befriends Ponyboy and agrees to help the Greaser gang following the death of her boyfriend, Bob Sheldon. Despite being a member of the opposing gang, Cherry agrees to help the Greasers for several reasons. Cherry has already met Ponyboy and Johnny at the drive-in movies and had an enlightening conversation with Pony. She understands that there are sensitive Greasers and realizes that members of both gangs experience suffering. Cherry is also in love with Dally, who is the most notorious Greaser member. She does not want to see Dally hurt in the rumble, which is another reason she decides to help the Greasers out. Cherry has also lost her boyfriend to senseless violence and does not believe that the rumble will solve anything. Similar to Randy Adderson, Cherry is sick of violence and agrees to spy on her own gang in order to ensure that they will not bring weapons to the rumble.

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In The Outsiders, why does Cherry help the greasers?

Cherry helps the Greasers for a few reasons.  She doesn't think the fighting is right, and wants the fighting to stop. Secondly, she has a huge crush on Dally.  Her feelings for Dally motivate her to do what she can for the Greasers.  Additionally, she has met Pony, and through meeting Pony she realizes that not all Greasers are the same - not all Greasers fit the stereotype.  There is also an element of drama for Cherry in helping the Greasers - she may very well be taken by the danger and excitement involved in betraying her "own kind".

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What draws Cherry to the greasers in The Outsiders?

This is a great question! At first glance, it does seem odd that Cherry would empathize with and even help the Greasers when socially, they are the enemies of the Socs. In my opinion, the answer lies in Cherry's relationship with Ponyboy. She seems curious about the Greasers, but probably never had interactions with one of them prior to meeting Ponyboy. Early on in the conversation, she has with Ponyboy at the drive-in movie theater she asks Ponyboy about his brother.

"Your brother Sodapop, does he work at a gasoline station? A DX I think?"

"Yeah."

"Man, your brother is one doll. I might have guessed you were brothers—you look alike."

Cherry is a romantic and sensitive girl. She finds herself attracted to Dallas Winston, even though she thinks he's crude and even calls him "dirty." She says, "I kind of admire him." I believe she means that she admires his attitude and his freedom. He is free from fulfilling the expectations of others, whereas she is a slave to social pressure. He is also very confident in himself, whereas Cherry is subject to a complicated social order that probably invites doubts about oneself.

Nothing is real with us. You know, sometimes I'll catch myself talking to a girl-friend and realize I don't mean half of what I'm saying. I don't really think a beer blast on the river bottom is super-cool, but I'll rave about one to a girl-friend just to be saying something.

Cherry says this to Ponyboy when she is analyzing the difference between their social groups with him. It's clear that this kind of social interaction is against her nature, and she finds in Ponyboy someone she can truly connect with on an emotional level, something she can't do with her own friends.

She finds in Ponyboy a human connection to the Greasers. Ponyboy is sensitive and romantic just like she is. As the novel progresses, she realizes the part her boyfriend played in the incident that caused his death. She wants to do the right thing, so she helps the greasers in several ways, while still being restrained by the social expectations she lives with. For Cherry, looking into the world of the Greasers is a lot like a highly trained horse looking over the fence to where the wild horses roam, thinking the grass looks greener there.

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What draws Cherry to the greasers in The Outsiders?

Though Cherry Valance seems sweet and friendly--and she is--she obviously prefers boys with a dangerous side. Her boyfriend, Bob, is the cruelest and most ruthless of the Socs in the story: He wears a hand full of rings and has previously beaten Johnny severely even before he attacks Ponyboy and tries to drown him in the park. She claims he has a "sweet" side, but it is probably his tough side that attracts her most. She is attracted to Pony and Johnny because Pony is handsome and because Johnny defends her against Dally's unchivalrous behavior. Though Pony and Johnny are young and small, they are greasers and she knows they are tougher than they look. Yet Cherry is still attracted to Dally because she has heard of his reputation, and she tells Pony that she could fall in love with him if she allowed herself to do so.

"I kind of admire him," Cherry said softly...

An attractive cheerleader, Cherry could have her choice of any boy at the high school, but it is the dangerous ones--be they Soc or greaser--that she likes the most.

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Why did Cherry become a spy for the greasers in The Outsiders?

It is in Chapter 6 that Dally tells Ponyboy and Johnny that Cherry is acting as a "spy" for the greasers, and he goes on to explain to them why it is that Cherry feels she needs to help them in this particular way:

She said she felt that the whole mess was her fault, which it is, and that she'd keep up with what was coming off with the Socs in the rumble and would testify that the Socs were drunk and looking for a fight and that you fought back in self-defence.

However, as Ponyboy realises when he thinks about it for a little while, it was not "Cherry the Soc" who was helping them. In fact, Cherry is clearly so frustrated with the way in which you either have to be a Soc or a greaser and the way in which this is so damaging that she is moving beyond this particular identity. Cherry is acting as "Cherry the dreamer who watched sunsets and couldn't stand fights." Cherry is acting in a way to try and limit the violence and also do her bit to make amends for past violent acts that the Socs had committed against the greasers. Cherry is managing to do what Ponyboy eventually does, which is move beyond the distinctions of which particular group she is a part of and act in a way that shows her character rather than merely her tribal loyalties. This shows that she is a character to be admired and esteemed.

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Why does Cherry decide to testify for the Greasers in The Outsiders?

Ultimately, Cherry does what she does for Johnny, Ponyboy, and the rest of the Greasers because she's a good person, and she believes in doing what is right. Additionally, she feels guilty and partly responsible for what happened to Johnny and Ponyboy.

She said she felt the whole mess was her fault . . . and would testify that the Socs were drunk and looking for a fight and you fought back in self-defense.

Cherry is sick of the violence between the Socs and the Greasers, and she knows that her boyfriend is a part of it. Additionally, she knows that her boyfriend is at fault and that Johnny was acting in self-defense. Her overall aversion to the gang violence is nothing new either. Readers already see her head off and end a brewing fight by getting into the Soc car at the movies.

"No!" Cherry cried. "Stop it!" She looked at Bob. "We'll ride home with you. Just wait a minute."

Finally, Cherry wants to testify on the Greaser's behalf because she has developed a relationship with Ponyboy. It's not a romantic relationship. It's a relationship of mutual respect. She understands that Ponyboy is a dreamer that watches sunsets like her. Cherry understands that the Socs and Greasers aren't all that different, and she wants to stand up for the people she knows to be in the right this time.

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