The Outsiders

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Cherry Valance Character Analysis

A Soc and Bob's girlfriend. Cherry is open-minded, sensitive, and courageous. She befriends Ponyboy early in the novel and helps him to see that Socs are people, too. After Bob dies, Cherry plays a minor role as a liaison between the two gangs. Ponyboy always keeps in mind her contention that, despite the superficial differences between them, the Socs and greasers see the same sunset.

Cherry Valance Quotes in The Outsiders

The The Outsiders quotes below are all either spoken by Cherry Valance or refer to Cherry Valance. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Divided Communities Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Speak edition of The Outsiders published in 2006.
Chapter 2 Quotes
"Things are rough all over."
Related Characters: Cherry Valance (speaker)
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

This one line reveals Cherry as a connector between the Socs and Greasers. After Ponyboy tells her the story of Johnny's brutal attack, she argues that not all Socs are like that. They may have nicer homes and fancier clothes, but money can't solve everything. Cherry humanizes the Socs for Ponyboy for the first time, and this moment begins a friendship between the two that will continue to develop. 

Cherry and Ponyboy are very similar characters. They are both sensitive people living in a rough and dangerous space, and both feel trapped by their surroundings and their personal ties to their own communities. Here we see a moment of empathy between Ponyboy and Cherry. By opening up to Ponyboy, Cherry helps him understand that regardless of class, gang allegiance, or anything at all, the Socs and the Greasers are all people. She will continue to encourage Ponyboy to be empathetic toward others throughout the book. 

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Chapter 3 Quotes
It seemed funny that the sunset [Cherry] saw from her patio and the one I saw from the back steps was the same one. Maybe the two worlds we lived in weren't so different. We saw the same sunset.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Cherry Valance
Related Symbols: Sunsets and Sunrises
Page Number: 40-41
Explanation and Analysis:

As Ponyboy and Two-Bit drive Cherry and Marcia home, Ponyboy sees that these women (Socs) aren't very different from him. They like the same music, they do the same things. Ponyboy resolves that maybe money is the only difference between the Greasers and the Socs. Cherry disagrees; She tells him that their differences lie in something deeper: feelings. She explains that the Socs are forced to wear a mask of sophistication and aloofness, hiding who they really are. The Greasers, on the other hand, are open with their emotions. They are honest and don't feel the need to perform. 

As they walk, Cherry asks Ponyboy if he likes watching the sunset at night. They realize that they share this love. The ever introspective and sensitive Ponyboy then realizes that while they may be on opposite sides of town, on different porches, in different gangs, they all watch the same sunset. In this moment, Cherry encourages Ponyboy once again to see his rivals as humans and to exercise empathy. Cherry is a window through which Ponyboy can understand the Socs. In addition, the sunset also becomes a unifying symbol, not just for the Greasers and Socs, but for people everywhere—when we step back, we're all just trying our best on the same earth.

Chapter 8 Quotes
"Hey," I said suddenly, "can you see the sunset real good from the West Side?"
She blinked, startled, then smiled. "Real good."
"You can see it good from the East Side, too," I said quietly.
"Thanks, Ponyboy." She smiled through her tears. "You dig okay."
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Cherry Valance (speaker)
Related Symbols: Sunsets and Sunrises
Page Number: 129-130
Explanation and Analysis:

After visiting Johnny in the hospital, Ponyboy and Two-Bit run into Cherry who has news about the rumble that evening. Ponyboy and Cherry talk. He asks her if she is going to visit Johnny and she says no. She is loyal to the Socs and she can't look at the man who killed someone she loved, even if he may have deserved it. This infuriates Ponyboy. He responds by telling Cherry that her spying and helping them out doesn't make up for the guilt she should be feeling. She doesn't have to worry about the same things as they do—she has everything and they have nothing. Cherry is hurt, and this quote is Ponyboy's own way of apologizing. He realizes that he was using her wealth as ammunition instead of learning from the lessons she taught him. Once again, the sunset becomes the symbol of unification. They all look at the same sunset at the end of the day, they are all human, and they all hurt. They find common ground in the sunsets they both see and for now, that has to be enough. 

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Cherry Valance Character Timeline in The Outsiders

The timeline below shows where the character Cherry Valance appears in The Outsiders. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
...in, while Johnny leaves to get a Coke. One of the girls, a redhead named Cherry Valance, calmly tells Dally to shut up. He doesn't listen. The girls refer to the... (full context)
Empathy Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
Soon Dally walks off to the concession booth, and Cherry and Ponyboy start talking. Cherry compliments Ponyboy's name, and as they talk about school Ponyboy... (full context)
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
When Johnny returns, Cherry smiles at him. But when Dally soon returns and offers Cherry a Coke, she throws... (full context)
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Self-Sacrifice and Honor Theme Icon
...being confronted by a Soc. Johnny is particularly shaken. Two-Bit sits down and banters with Cherry and Marcia. He's looking for Dally, who's slashed the tires of a car owned by... (full context)
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Ponyboy tells Cherry that the Socs attacked Johnny four months earlier: the greasers found Johnny lying motionless in... (full context)
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
Ponyboy's story shocks Cherry. She assures Ponyboy that all Socs are not like the ones who jumped Johnny. Ponyboy... (full context)
Chapter 3
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
Cherry and Marcia realize that they don't have a ride home from the drive-in. Two-Bit talks... (full context)
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
Cherry then asks Ponyboy about Darry. Ponyboy responds that Darry doesn't like him. Two-Bit and Johnny... (full context)
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
...stops beside the group. The boys in the car are Socs. One of them is Cherry's boyfriend, Bob, who pleads with the girls to forgive them for drinking. Johnny seems spooked,... (full context)
Chapter 5
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Self-Sacrifice and Honor Theme Icon
...gangs are planning to have a "rumble" on the following night. Finally, he reveals that Cherry has been acting as a "spy" for the greasers. (full context)
Chapter 6
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
As Johnny and Ponyboy devour a big meal at the Dairy Queen, Dally explains that Cherry felt responsible for a situation that resulted in Bob's stabbing, so she offered to watch... (full context)
Chapter 7
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Self-Sacrifice and Honor Theme Icon
...along. The article credits the boys with saving the children's lives. The report also quotes Cherry and Randy regarding the killing of Bob—both of them insist that Johnny acted only in... (full context)
Chapter 8
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
Cherry Valance is at the vacant lot in her Corvette when Two-Bit and Ponyboy arrive. She... (full context)
Chapter 11
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
...person. He puts the aspects of Bob that he saw together with the things that Cherry and Randy told him about their friend, and decides that Bob was cocky, quick to... (full context)
Chapter 12
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
...condition, the judge doesn't question him about anything other than his home life. Randy and Cherry testify that Johnny killed Bob in self-defense. The judge acquits Ponyboy and sends him home... (full context)