The Outsiders Chapter 3 Summary

Instructor: Dori Starnes

Dori has taught college and high school English courses, and has Masters degrees in both literature and education.

Ponyboy, Johnny, and Two-Bit walk Cherry and Marcia home, but end up in a bunch of trouble when their boyfriends show up. Then, Pony ends up in more trouble at home. This lesson will focus on the summary of Chapter 3 of ''The Outsiders''.


Ponyboy Curtis and his brothers live on the poor East Side of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Their town is a dangerous place with constant strife between the rich Soc kids on the West Side and the Greasers on the East Side. Ponyboy, after getting jumped and beaten up by some Soc boys, goes to the movies with his friends Johnny Cade, Two-Bit Mathews, and Dally Winston. While they are at the drive in, they meet two Soc girls, Cherry and Marcia, who have walked away from their drunk Soc dates. Cherry and Ponyboy have a deep conversation and she tells him that things are tough on the rich side of town, too.

Greasers and Socs

Two-Bit offers to drive the girls home, so Two-Bit, Johnny, Cherry, Marcia, and Ponyboy head to his house to get his car. Cherry says more than money separates the Greasers and the Socs. She says the Socs don't feel anything, and the Greasers feel too much. Pony finds that he can talk more honestly to Cherry than to anyone else in his life except his brother Sodapop.

He finds himself telling Cherry about Soda's horse. Soda loved horses and befriended a horse named Mickey Mouse, who wouldn't let anyone but Soda near him. The poor Curtis family could barely make ends meet, so the horse wasn't really Soda's, but he liked to visit him. On one visit, Soda learned that Mickey Mouse had been sold. Soda had cried but understood that his family could never afford a horse.

Pony and Cherry are a lot alike. He admits to Cherry that he likes to read and watch the sunset. She does, too, and he says at least they see 'the same sunset'.

Just then, a blue Mustang pulled up.
Just then, a blue Mustang pulled up.

A Run-In with Cherry's Boyfriend

Just then, the group sees a blue Mustang. Cherry tells them that the boys in the car are Randy and Bob, their boyfriends. Cherry tells the Greasers to ignore them, and the car drives away.

They continue walking. Cherry asks Pony why he's said so much about Soda but almost nothing about his oldest brother, Darry. Pony replies that it is because Darry is mean and doesn't really like Pony all that much. Two-Bit tells Pony that Darry loves him and Johnny is also surprised.

Though Pony has a much better home than Johnny, he's embarrassed and lashes out at his best friend. He says they all know Johnny isn't wanted at home. Johnny is upset and Two-Bit slaps Pony. Pony immediately tells Johnny that he's sorry, and Two-Bit tells him he's needed in the gang.

Ponyboy cries out about the unfairness of life, where the Socs have everything and the Greasers have nothing.

Then the blue Mustang comes to a stop beside them. Two boys in nice clothing get out. One wears rings and Pony notices that Johnny is watching that boy's hands. Pony remembers that Johnny got beaten up badly by a boy wearing rings in a blue Mustang. The boy with the rings, Bob, is Cherry's boyfriend. Cherry tells Bob she won't be with him when he is drunk.

Bob calls Pony, Johnny, and Two-Bit 'bums', and tells them there are four more guys in the car. Two-Bit smashes a bottle and hands Pony his switchblade. Cherry begs them not to fight and says she and Marcia will go with them.

Pony tells Cherry he wouldn't have used the knife. Cherry tells him he is a great kid but they can't be seen together. Then she tells Pony that she could fall in love with Dally Winston's charm and danger and she hopes to never see him again. The girls get in the car and leave.

The boy who beat up Johnny was wearing rings.
The boy who beat up Johnny was wearing rings.

Things Have to Get Better Soon!

Two-Bit heads home, so Pony and Johnny go to the vacant lot to smoke. Johnny tells Pony that he is thinking about killing himself, that the life they lead is so awful. He just wants to be away from the constant fighting in the streets and at home.

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