Discussion Topic

Ponyboy's premonition and its foreshadowing significance in The Outsiders

Summary:

Ponyboy's premonition in The Outsiders foreshadows the violent events that follow, including the rumble and Johnny's death. His uneasy feeling serves as a literary device to build tension and hint at the impending tragedy, emphasizing the novel's themes of loss and the harsh realities of life for the greasers.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In The Outsiders, what does Ponyboy's premonition about the rumble mean?

In chapter eight, Ponyboy experiences an ominous premonition regarding the upcoming rumble between the Socs and Greasers by having a sick feeling in his stomach. Pony mentions,

I was silent most of the way home. I was thinking about the rumble. I had a sick feeling in my stomach and it wasn't from being ill. It was the same kind of helplessness I'd felt that night Darry yelled at me for going to sleep in the lot. I had the same deathly fear that something was going to happen that none of us could stop. (Hinton, 108)

The sick feeling of helplessness foreshadows Johnny and Dally's tragic deaths as well as the fact that the outcome of the rumble will not solve any of the issues or animosity between the rival gangs. Shortly after defeating the Socs in the rumble, Dally tells Pony to come with him to visit Johnny in the hospital. When Dally and Pony finally arrive at Johnny's bedside, Dally informs him that they won the rumble, and Johnny responds by saying,

"Useless . . . fighting's no good . . ." (Hinton, 126)

Johnny is enlightened and realizes that defeating the Socs in the rumble will not solve anything between the rival gangs. Shortly after telling Pony to "Stay gold," Johnny tragically passes away. Immediately after Johnny passes away, Dally loses his mind and ends up committing suicide by police. Overall, Pony's ominous premonition foreshadows the futility of the rumble and the tragic deaths of Johnny and Dally.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In The Outsiders, what does Ponyboy's premonition about the rumble mean?

When Ponyboy is contemplating the upcoming rumble in Chapter 8 of The Outsiders, he thinks:

"I had a sick feeling in my stomach and it wasn't from being ill...I had the same deathly fear that something was going to happen that none of us could stop."

While Two-Bit is eager to rumble with the Socs, Ponyboy has the ominous feeling that something bad is going to happen--something that he and his friends have not predicted. The author hints that something unpredictable is going to happen--which turns out to be Johnny's and Dally's deaths. 

The rumble goes well, and the greasers kick the Socs out of their territory. However, when Ponyboy and Dally go to the hospital to tell Johnny about the greasers' victory, Johnny responds, "Useless... fighting's no good." This is the evidence that the author suggests that fighting in the rumble is not going to turn out well for Ponyboy and his friends. Johnny dies shortly afterward, and later Dally dies while robbing a store when he feels anguished by Johnny's death. Ponyboy thinks after his friends have died, "Nothing we can do... not for Dally or Johnny ... My stomach gave a violent start and turned into a hunk of ice." These are the unpredictable events that worried Ponyboy before the rumble. He knew that even if the rumble turned out well, other events would not. 

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What is Ponyboy's premonition in The Outsiders and how does it foreshadow another event?

In chapter four, Johnny stabs and kills Bob Sheldon in self-defense to prevent him from drowning Ponyboy in the local park's fountain. Following the traumatic incident, Pony and Johnny decide to seek Dally's help and travel to Buck Merril's place to find him. At Buck Merril's place, the boys explain their dire situation to Dally. He gives them a gun, some money, and a plan to skip town. Dally instructs the boys to hop a train and travel to Windrixville, where they can climb Jay Mountain and hide out in an abandoned church at the top of the hill. Pony and Johnny take Dally's advice and immediately skip town.

When they arrive at the abandoned church on Jay Mountain, Pony mentions that the old building gives him the creeps. At the end of the chapter, Pony says that he experiences a premonition, which is defined as an ominous feeling that something bad will happen in the near future. Pony says,

"But this church gave me a kind of creepy feeling. What do you call it? Premonition? I flopped down on the floor--- and immediately decided not to do any more flopping" (Hinton, 58).

The premonition Pony experiences foreshadows the impending church fire, which results in Johnny Cade's serious injury. Dally comes to visit the boys, and when they return from Dairy Queen they are astonished to find the abandoned church engulfed in flames. Pony and Johnny heroically enter the burning building and save the children trapped inside. Tragically, a massive beam falls on top of Johnny and breaks his back during his rescue effort. Johnny is placed in critical condition and eventually dies from his injuries, which confirms Pony's unsettling premonition.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on