The Outsiders’ primary concern is to explore the effect of social class on young people.
The novel begins by detailing the differences between the poor greasers and the rich Socs and sketching the treacherous world in which they live.
Dally stalks off, and Cherry and her friend Marcia invite Ponyboy and Johnny to watch the movie with them.
Two-Bit, one of Ponyboy’s friends, comes to announce that Dally has slashed Tim Shepard’s tires and is going to have to fight him. Two-Bit explains the greasers’ two main rules: always stick together and never get caught.
For instance, she introduces Ponyboy not as a tough street youth but as a boy who likes to read and watch sunsets.
Ponyboy is something of an anthropologist, a natural role for a narrator, and he observes and records the group dynamics and individual traits of his fellow greasers.
The girl with red hair turns around and coolly tells him to stop, but Dally continues to make suggestive remarks.
He goes to buy Cokes, and Ponyboy talks to the red-haired girl, Cherry Valance.
They talk about the rodeo and about Sodapop, whom Cherry describes as a “doll.” She asks what became of Sodapop, and although the admission embarrasses him, Ponyboy says that Sodapop dropped out of school to work in a gas station.
Dally comes back and offers a Coke to Cherry, but she throws it in his face. When he will not listen to Cherry’s protests, the usually quiet Johnny stuns Dally by telling him not to bother the girls.