The Outsiders

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The Outsiders Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Two-Bit and Ponyboy go to the hospital. First, they visit Johnny, who is very weak. Johnny asks for a copy of Gone with the Wind, and Two-Bit goes to the drugstore to get it for him. Alone with Ponyboy, Johnny says that he's not ready to die, that he hasn't had enough time or enough opportunities yet in his life. A nurse comes in to say that Johnny's mother has come to visit. Johnny, who never felt any real love from his mother, refuses to see her, then passes out.
Johnny's lament about his too short life mirrors the themes of the poem Nothing Gold Can Stay. Johnny was gold, and it was the gold in his nature that led him to save the children in the fire. But those actions also resulted in the injuries that will either kill or paralyze him.
Themes
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Self-Sacrifice and Honor Theme Icon
Ponyboy and Two-Bit next visit Dally. He is in good shape, but is unhappy that he'll have to miss the rumble that night. He asks about Johnny's condition, and is visibly upset when Two-Bit reluctantly tells him the truth. Dally asks for Two-Bit's prized switchblade, and Two-Bit gives it to him without asking any questions. Dally then says that it's essential that the greasers win the rumble, in honor of Johnny.
While Johnny is upset about the opportunities he will miss out on in life, Dally is upset about missing the rumble. Johnny, with his innocence still intact, had grand hopes for his life. Dally, hardened by life, thinks only about fighting Socs and protecting Johnny.
Themes
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Self-Sacrifice and Honor Theme Icon
As they wait for a bus home, Two-Bit observes that Ponyboy looks pretty sick. Ponyboy asks him not to mention it to Darry, and Two-Bit agrees. On the bus, Two-Bit observes that Darry is stricter with Ponyboy than his parents had been. The two agree that, but for his associations with the gang, Darry could be a soc.
The conversation about Darry highlights the power and superficiality of the social distinctions between Socs and greasers. Though Darry has many Soc qualities, because he's a greaser his life is defined by the opportunities available to greasers.
Themes
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Ponyboy then tells Two-Bit that he has a bad feeling about the rumble. Two-Bit mocks Ponyboy for being afraid, but Ponyboy responds that he's not afraid for himself, he's afraid that another tragedy will occur. Two-Bit shrugs off Ponyboy's concerns, and hopes the greasers win a big victory over the Socs.
Two-Bit sees the rumble solely as a greaser. But Ponyboy now recognizes that everyone in both groups is an individual. His fear is not for himself, but that any one of these individuals might get hurt or killed.
Themes
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
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Cherry Valance is at the vacant lot in her Corvette when Two-Bit and Ponyboy arrive. She tells them that the Socs plan to play by greaser rules during the rumble and not use weapons. Ponyboy asks her if she'll visit Johnny in the hospital. She responds that she can't because Johnny killed Bob. Incensed, Ponyboy accuses Cherry of being a traitor, but when she says how hard Bob's death has been on her and describes Bob's good qualities, Ponyboy asks for her forgiveness. He asks Cherry whether she can see the sunset well from the West Side. She says she can. He says that he can still see it from the East Side, too.
Ponyboy's conversation with Cherry details the complication of being an individual within a group. Ponyboy wants Cherry to be loyal solely to the greasers, but Cherry can't be because she is a Soc and Bob's girlfriend. She also further helps Ponyboy to see Bob as an individual. Their exchange about the sunset shows the common ground of the two groups, as well as the hope both characters have for a better future for themselves and their friends.
Themes
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon