The Outsiders


Chapter 1 to Chapter 3

Chapter One

The narrative opens with Ponyboy Curtis, the protagonist, reminiscing about his life. He tells us that he is a greaser and has long hair. He explains that he has two brothers: Darrel, 20 years old, who works long and hard and by whom he is intimidated, and Soda, his 16-year-old brother, whom he adores. His gang, the greasers, live on the east side of town, while the "enemy," the Socs (short for Socialite)—the "jet set, rich kids"—occupy the west side. Poorer and more primitive than the Socs, the greasers are compelled to steal and fight in order to survive. He and his brothers, orphaned, keep out of gang trouble as their guarantee of staying together. Ponyboy also reminisces about Johnny being jumped by the Socs when he was 16. The incident indelibly traumatized Johnny.

Returning alone from the movies, Ponyboy is assaulted by five Socs and almost strangled until Darry and the gang save him. The gang includes Steve Randall, Soda's best friend; Two-Bit Mathews, quirky and the oldest; Dallas Winston (called Dally), toughest of all; and 14-year-old Johnny Cade—timid, the gang's pet, and abused by his parents but protected by the gang.

Ponyboy continues reminiscing about the contrast between the girlfriends of his gang and the girls of the Socs. With the exception of Soda's girl, Sandy, he considers the girls of the Socs to be more decent, though he knows they despise him. He compares himself to Pip of Great Expectations because of his social status that marked him as a misfit from the start. Much of his circumstances, and particularly the hard life that Darrell had to lead, was not fair.

Soda confides in him that he intends to marry Sandy one day and tells him not to take Darry's hollering too much to heart. Ponyboy falls asleep, upset that Darry doesn't love him.

Chapter Two

Loafing around town, the gang goes to the movies, where they see two Soc girls sitting up front. Dallas irks them with his dirty talk; the...

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