The Outsiders: When Johnny Kills Bob

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  • 0:04 Something Bad Was…
  • 0:39 Bob and Johnny
  • 1:13 Bob's Death
  • 1:43 The Aftermath
  • 2:41 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we'll go over the events that surround the death of one of the Socs, Bob, at the hands of one of the Greasers, Johnny, in S.E. Hinton's famous novel, 'The Outsiders.'

Something Bad Was About to Happen

'Johnny, who was the most law-abiding of us, now carried in his back pocket a six-inch switchblade. He'd use it, too, if he ever got jumped again.'

In S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders, the tension between two rival gangs, the Socs and the Greasers, continued to grow with each chapter. So did the anxiety of Johnny Cade, one of the Greaser's young members. It's clear something terrible will inevitably happen between the two gangs. The death of Bob, a Soc, forces the characters on both sides of the city to examine the true consequences of continuing the destructive and violent way of life that they are living.

Bob and Johnny

Johnny was already nervous and scared after growing up in an abusive home, but when he's jumped by four Socs and beaten nearly to death, it changes him. One of the Socs who jumped him, Bob, wears three big rings that he used like brass knuckles. 'Johnny will carry scars with him for the rest of his life from that beating.'

Later, as Ponyboy, Two-Bit, and Johnny were walking with Cherry and Marcia after the drive-in, they run into Bob again. Bob is mortified to see his girlfriend, Cherry, walking with a bunch of Greasers. He's a mean drunk who came to the park later that night looking for revenge.

Bob's Death

'I killed him. I killed that boy.'

Five Socs catch Johnny and Ponyboy at the park alone at 2:30 A.M. Johnny and Ponyboy know they're outnumbered, and the Socs are too drunk to calm down and back off. After exchanging a few insults, one of the Socs grabs Ponyboy and holds his head under water in a fountain until he passes out. Ponyboy and Johnny both thought Ponyboy was going to drown that night. When Ponyboy regains consciousness, Bob is dead. Johnny stabbed him in self-defense.

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