The Outsiders Chapter 7 Summary

Instructor: Dori Starnes

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

Though Pony and Johnny are thought of as heroes for saving the children from the fire, the consequences of their actions could be devastating and even fatal. This lesson will focus on the summary of Chapter 7 of ''The Outsiders.''


Life in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1965 is dangerous. Two gangs of teenagers, the poor East Side Greasers and the rich Socs from the west side, fight for dominance; sometimes with fists and sometimes with weapons. The streets are a tough place, especially when you don't have enough of anything…time, money, support, family. This is the situation Ponyboy Curtis and his group of friends live in.

Pony and his best friend Johnny Cade killed a Soc named Bob. To escape their consequences --a boys' home for the orphaned Pony, who has been raised by his two older brothers since their parents died, and jail for Johnny-- they run away to Windrixville and hide out in an abandoned church. But a dropped cigarette turned these hoods into heroes as they and their friend, the tough sometimes-criminal Dally Winston, rescued little kids from the burning building. The three boys end up at the hospital, where there are people waiting for them: police, and Pony's brothers Darry and Sodapop.

Maybe This is All a Dream

The Curtis brothers wait to hear about their friends. Soon, the police and the press show up. Pony is feeling ill and doesn't want to talk to anyone. Darry makes them leave Pony alone, but Soda clowns around. The reporters love him. In fact, the teacher Jerry Wood, who is also in the hospital waiting room, tells Pony that the reporters like Darry and Soda so much because they are so good looking. Jerry calls them 'movie stars'.

Soda falls asleep, and Pony feels like he's dreaming, too. A doctor comes out to talk to them about Dally and Johnny. Dally is going to be fine. His arm is burned and he has to stay in the hospital for a day or two. Johnny is not fine. The doctor tells the Curtis brothers that Johnny has a broken back, 'third-degree' burns and is in critical condition. He might die from his injuries.

Pony, again, tries to convince himself that this is all a dream. They leave the hospital, and Pony falls asleep on the car ride home. Darry carries him in, and Pony momentarily regains consciousness and thinks how about soft his bed is.

The Consequences of Heroism

The next morning, Pony is the first one awake. Two-Bit Mathews and Steve Randal, members of the gang, come over to see him. They bring the day's paper, with an article called ''Juvenile Delinquents Turn Heroes''.

Pony reads the article, which tells everything….the death of Bob, the church fire, even Johnny's condition. The paper claims he ''might die.'' The article quotes Cherry Valance and Randy Adderson, Bob's friends, who both say Johnny acted in self-defense. But the paper says Johnny will be charged with manslaughter and both Pony and Johnny will have to appear in juvenile court for running away. The article leaves out Dally and his long criminal record, which Pony knows will irritate Dally.

Then Pony reads that the court might split up the Curtis brothers. When Darry wakes up, Pony shows him. Darry says he already knew about that; the cops told him at the hospital. Pony tells his brother that he had a nightmare the night before, one that he's had in the past but that he can't remember. Pony's had these dreams since his parents' funeral, and has been to the doctor for them.

Soda tells Pony that he and the gang are planning a party. After the party, there will be a big rumble or gang fight between the Greasers and the Socs. Pony asks Soda if he will take his girlfriend Sandy to the party. Soda is quiet, and Pony learns that Sandy's parents have sent her to live with her grandmother to get her away from Soda.

He Ain't a Soc, He's Just a Guy

Darry and Soda have to go to work, so Two-Bit offers to 'baby-sit' Pony. Pony cleans up the house in case a social worker shows up, and then he and Two-Bit head to the hospital to see Dally and Johnny. As they walk, they see a blue Mustang trailing them.

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