Chapter Summary:
The Outsiders
Chapter 2

Modified from CliffsNotes

Ponyboy and Johnny meet up with Dally (Dallas) and go to the Nightly Double drive-in theatre. They sneak into the drive-in, although the admission is only 25 cents if you're without a car. They enjoy the challenge of sneaking in because Dally hates to do anything the legal way. Once inside, they sit in the chairs by the concession stand, where they meet up with two good-looking female Socs. Cherry (Sherri) Valance and Marcia have left their boyfriends here at the drive-in because the boys want to drink and the two girls do not. The girls are the target of Dally's nasty and rude comments, but he buys them sodas to "cool them off." Cherry throws her soda into Dally's face and the situation is tense until Johnny steps in to defend her, which is surprising given that Johnny worships Dally and considers him his hero. Fortunately, Johnny is the gangs' pet, so Dally just stalks off without confrontation. Two-Bit joins Ponyboy and Johnny, and he and Marcia hit it off.

Cherry is impressed with Johnny's courage, but she senses something else in Johnny. She quizzes Ponyboy about Johnny. Cherry's accurate assessment that Johnny's "been hurt bad sometime" prompts Ponyboy to retell the story of Johnny's beating by the Socs. About four months ago, Johnny was out in a field hunting a football to practice a few kicks, and four Socs drove by in a blue Mustang. They stopped and jumped him, beating Johnny half to death. One of the Socs wore several rings and the rings badly cut Johnny. The beating wasn't what had changed Johnny, it was the fact that they had scared him. Johnny never walked alone anymore, and he vowed that he would kill the next person who jumped him.

The story of Johnny's beating visibly upsets Cherry. She tells Ponyboy that not all Socs are like that, just like all greasers are not like Dally. She tells him that Socs have their troubles, too, but Ponyboy cannot imagine what worries a Soc might have. The chapter concludes with the line, "I know better now."