The Outsiders Chapter 12
The courtroom is nearly empty: just a few Socs, their parents, and friends of Ponyboy are there. Ponyboy is surprised to hear that all the Socs think that Johnny killed Bob, but he decides he will tell the judge that he, in fact, was the murderer as soon as he is called up. When he is called, however, the judge doesn't ask him very many questions. He just tells him he's free to go. Later, Ponyboy finds out that the doctor has talked to the judge, telling him that Ponyboy is too ill and upset to answer serious questions. Over the next few weeks, Ponyboy's entire life is affected by his sadness, confusion and anger. He stops eating. He can't even keep track of where his shoes are. He starts doing poorly at school. Finally, his English teacher tells him he will fail him unless he writes a good essay about something from his own life. Ponyboy thinks to himself sarcastically, "My first trip to the zoo. Oh boy, oh boy." Chapter 12, pg. 170 That afternoon at lunch time, Ponyboy is with a few friends when a car full of Socs pulls up. When they threaten Ponyboy, he breaks a bottle and makes it clear that he will cut them with one end of it if he has to. They get scared and drive away. Two-Bit and Steve are concerned--they don't want Ponyboy to be a thug like them. They know he is different and they want him to stay that way. When he starts cleaning up the glass from the bottle, though, they know he is still his old self.
That evening, Soda comes into Pony's room. Pony has been trying to write something for English class but he can't think of anything. It seems like something is wrong with Soda, but he won't talk, so Ponyboy just lets it go. After dinner, Pony and Darry get into a fight--they've been having them a lot lately. Suddenly, Soda gets upset and runs out of the house. He drops a letter. It is a letter he wrote to his girlfriend, returned unopened. Darry tells Pony that Soda was not the father of the girl's baby. Soda loved her and wanted to marry her anyway, but she clearly did not feel the same way about him. Ponyboy feels very guilty. He knows Soda probably tried to tell him about this, but he was too busy or daydreaming. Darry and Pony go after Soda, and when they catch him, he tells Pony that he feels caught in the middle of all their fighting. They agree not to fight anymore, and race home together. Ponyboy admits to himself that he always knew Johnny was dead, and that Johnny killed Bob. He had known it even when he had pretended he hadn't. He still isn't used to the fact that Johnny is dead, but he understands now. He picks up the copy of Gone with the Wind that Johnny wanted him to have. A note from Johnny is inside the book. It tells Ponyboy not to stop looking at sunsets, and to tell Dally to look at one sometime too. Johnny writes that his death is worthwhile, because he saved those children. He assures Pony that he doesn't have to be a greaser forever. He can be whatever he wants. Reading this, Ponyboy sees that the problems in his life aren't personal. There are boys all across the country who feel hopeless, scared, angry and violent. Ponyboy decides to write his essay for English class about what has happened to him and his friends over the past week. The story ends up as the book The Outsiders.