The Outsiders Quotes

"Greasers are almost like hoods; we steal things and drive old souped-up cars and hold up gas stations and have a gang fight once in a while." (Ponyboy Curtis, Chapter 1, p. 3)

Ponyboy is explaining what life is like for the greasers living on the East side of town. They have a reputation of being juvenile delinquents, because they wear their hair greased up and long and they disregard the rule of law. Any person from the East side who acts and dresses a certain way is judged not by who they are, but by what they are, which is a greaser.

They do steal, fight, and are loud, because it is part of the culture of the East side. It is how the boys show they are men, who are not afraid of anything.

'"I killed him,' he said slowly. 'I killed that boy.'" (Johnny Cade, Chapter 4, p. 56)

Quiet fearful Johnny has just killed the young man responsible for beating him. Bob had beaten Johnny so badly that he lived his life in fear and now Johnny has silenced those fists forever. He not only killed Bob for himself, but to stop him from drowning Ponyboy. Bob had forced Ponyboy's head under the water of a fountain and he wasn't going to let him come up for air. Bob's temper couldn't be tamed, which made him so threatening to others.

Johnny knows his life will never be the same. If the police catch him, he will go to prison and if he runs he will spend his life fearful of being caught. It is a no win situation and he knows he has drawn Ponyboy into it with him.

"We're goin' back and turn ourselves in." (Johnny Cade, Chapter 6, p. 87)

After hiding out in an abandoned church for about five days, Johnny has made the decision to face the consequences of his actions. He knows living a life on the run is not living. He also feels this kind of life isn't right for Ponyboy. He thinks with the testimony of Cherry Valance and the fact that he doesn't have a record, he might not face a long prison term.

Dally is against Johnny turning himself in, because he knows what time spent in prison can do to a person. Dally has served some prison time and it made him a man who has a hard outlook on life. He doesn't want that for quiet sensitive Johnny.

"I'll get them, don't worry!" (Ponyboy Curtis, Chapter 6, p. 91)

The church the boys have been staying in has caught fire and some school children are trapped inside it. Ponyboy and Johnny feel responsible for the fire, because they had been smoking inside the church. The two of them run inside and find the children, then they manage to safely evacuate them from the church, but at a cost to themselves.

Ponyboy only suffers a few burns and bruises, but Johnny is more severely injured after a falling timber strikes his back. Dally, who ran inside the church to rescue his friends, is also injured as he tries to save Ponyboy and Johnny.

"That was his silent fear then-of losing another person he loved." (Ponyboy Curtis, Chapter 6, p. 98)

Ponyboy always feels his oldest brother, Darry, hates him. He feels this way because Darry is particularly tough on Ponyboy. He is constantly yelling at him for being forgetful, for not getting good enough grades, and not being the person Darry thinks he should be. Ponyboy prefers his brother Sodapop who doesn't care about those things, he only wants to have a good time.

What Ponyboy doesn't realize, until the night of the fire, is Darry is so tough on him because he is frightened. He is frightened Ponyboy won't make the grades he needs to go to college, he is frightened if Ponyboy gets in trouble, the authorities will take him away from Darry, and he is frightened Ponyboy might be killed in a fight or car accident. He fears comes from the loss of the brothers' parents some eight months before the fire. Darry is saddled with a lot more responsibility than most twenty-year-old men.

'"Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold...' The pillow seemed to sink a little, and Johnny died." (Ponyboy Curtis, Chapter 9, p. 148)

Johnny has died telling Ponyboy to not change from the boy he is now. "Stay gold" is from a poem Ponyboy told Johnny about, while they were hiding in the church. The poem says the new leaves start out gold then they change to green. This means nothing stays the same, but Johnny wants Ponyboy to stay the same sweet guy he is at fourteen. This is impossible because he has seen too much death in his young life.

Johnny wants to die knowing his actions have not changed Ponyboy, but they have and he will never be the same. Johnny's death has changed not only Ponyboy, but the rest of the boys in the gang. They are all deeply affected by the death of the quiet sweet boy.

"But I knew that was what he wanted, even as the lot echoed with the cracks of shots, even as I begged silently-Please, not him...not him and Johnny both- I knew he would be dead, because Dally Winston wanted to be dead and he always got what he wanted." (Ponyboy Curtis, Chapter 10, p. 154)

Dally died in a hail of bullets, as the police reacted to his brandishing an unloaded weapon. He knew this would be the result of his action and he wanted to die, because Johnny's death made his life unlivable. Dally's life was full of disappointment, failure, and rejection. His parents didn't care about him, even when he went to jail they showed no sign of support for their son. He failed in school and in life, becoming a criminal at the age of ten.

Dally had come through for Johnny and Ponyboy after the murder of Bob, he turned from someone Ponyboy feared to a friend. But, Ponyboy knew Dally always achieved his goals and on this night his goal is to die.

"You're living in a vacuum, Pony, and you're going to have to cut it out. Johnny and Dallas were our buddies, too, but you don't just stop living because you lose someone." (Darrel Curtis, Chapter 12, p. 173)

Darry is angry with Ponyboy, because he seems to have given up on life. His school grades are slipping to the point that he might fail, if he doesn't start applying himself. Darry correctly guesses the deaths of Johnny and Dally are taking a tremendous emotional toll on the young man. He wants his brother to realize he needs to keep on going and not give up on life.

"We're all we've got left. We ought to be able to stick together against everything. If we don't have each other, we don't have anything." (Sodapop Curtis, Chapter 12, p. 176)

Sodapop is at his breaking point, not only has he lost two friends, his girlfriend has broken up with him and his brothers are constantly fighting. He has had enough and tells his brothers to realize that instead of working against each other, they should be working together. He tells them, since they no longer have their parents, they need to rely on each other for support. It is the only way they are going to succeed in life.

"One week had taken all three of them. And I decided I could tell people, beginning with my English teacher." (Ponyboy Curtis, Chapter 12, p. 180)

Ponyboy has to write a semester theme paper for his English class. He hasn't been able to think of a topic to write about, but now he knows. He is going to write about Bob, Johnny, and Dally. He is going to tell their story so everyone can understand what it is to be a greaser. He is going to describe the relationship between the greasers and the Socs. He wants to explain that Johnny and Dally were more than just a pair of juvenile delinquents and Bob was more than just a rich kid.

He starts his paper with the same opening line of the book, "When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home". Ponyboy is going to make sure his friends and his way of life is understood by the world at large and he is going to start with his English teacher.

Related Links:

The Outsiders Summary
The Outsiders Quiz
The Outsiders Chapters 11 - 12 Summary
The Outsiders Chapters 1 - 2 Summary
The Outsiders Chapters 3 - 4 Summary
The Outsiders Important Characters
Literature Summaries

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