Key Plot Points
While we recommend reading The Outsiders in its entirety, we understand that your classroom may have time constraints. The following Key Plot Points are meant to guide you and your students to the most relevant parts of the text so you can plan your lessons most efficiently.
The Socs Attack Ponyboy (Chapter 1): On his way home from the movies, Ponyboy Curtis, a long-haired “greaser” from the low-income section of town, gets jumped by the Socs, the gang of rich kids who bully the greasers. Ponyboy’s older brothers, Soda Pop and Darry, and the rest of the greasers respond to Ponyboy’s cries for help before the Socs can do more than scare him.
Ponyboy Befriends Cherry at the Movies (Chapter 2): Ponyboy and two other greasers, Darry and Johnny, go to a drive-in movie. While there, Darry starts harassing two Soc girls, Cherry and Marcia. Johnny and Ponyboy stand up to Darry, and Cherry throws a soda in his face. As a result, Ponyboy and Cherry become friends, surprised by how similar they are despite their being from different social groups.
Johnny Kills a Soc (Chapter 4): After a fight with his brother Darry, Ponyboy and Johnny go to a park to cool down. As Ponyboy and Johnny have a cigarette, a group of Socs attacks them, putting Ponyboy’s head in a nearby fountain. Traumatized and worried that Ponyboy will die, Johnny stabs Bob, a Soc who is Cherry’s boyfriend. With help from Dally, Ponyboy and Johnny flee to an abandoned church in a different town.
Fire in the Church (Chapter 6):After Johnny and Ponyboy spend five days waiting for Dally, he arrives at the church and takes the two boys to lunch. He explains that it’s safe for them to come home, because Cherry will testify in their defense. They return to the church to find that it is on fire and that children are trapped inside. Johnny goes in to save them, and both Ponyboy and Dally try to help. Ponyboy is knocked unconscious, and Johnny and Dally are both critically injured.
(The entire section is 538 words.)