Pelléas et Mélisande


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Maurice Maeterlinck

Chapter Ten

Wandering the streets, Ponyboy is offered a ride by a man who informs him that his head is bleeding. Arriving home and in a semi-state of concussion, Ponyboy informs the gang that Johnny is dead. Dallas calls, telling them he has robbed a grocery store and that the cops are pursuing him. The gang, with a tottering Ponyboy among them, rushes out to hide him. As they reach Dallas, the police drive up. Dally pulls out his unloaded revolver. The police shoot him dead. Reflects Ponyboy:

I knew that was what he wanted, even as the lot echoed with the cracks of the shots, even as I begged silently—Please, not him… not him and Johnny both—I knew he would be dead, because Dally Winston wanted to be dead and he always got what he wanted… Dally didn't die a hero, He died violent and young and desperate, just like we all knew he'd die someday." (162).

Ponyboy faints. Later, he finds out that he'd been unconscious in the hospital for five days with a fever. Johnny had left him his copy of "Gone with the Wind." The chapter ends with Soda consoling him that he had requested for Darry during his delirium, and with Sodapop crawling in next to Ponyboy, falling asleep.

Chapter Eleven

One day, while Ponyboy was recuperating, Randy comes to visit. He wanted to please his father, who had told him to tell the truth at the hearing the next day, and he is upset to hear that the hearing will also involve a decision regarding whether or not the Curtis brothers would be separated.

Ponyboy keeps insisting that he, Ponyboy, was the one with the knife who killed Bob and that Johnny is not dead. Darry tells Randy that the doctor had urged them to go easy on Ponyboy; Ponyboy would recover his memory someday and get over his trauma.

Chapter Twelve

Randy and his parents, Cherry and her parents, other kids who were involved in the incident, and the doctor are present at the Curtis hearing. The Socs reiterate what has already been said: Johnny had killed Bob in self-defense. Ponyboy thinks that they are lying, that it was he who had killed Bob, and that he would straighten the matter out when his turn came. However, the judge—likely due to the fact that he had been informed about Ponyboy's condition by the doctor—merely interrogated Ponyboy on his school and home experiences.

The aftereffects of Ponyboy's concussion linger: He bumps and trips into things, becomes absentminded, quits eating, and gets poor grades in school. One day, his English teacher tells him that if he writes an original essay of at least five pages, he can pass the semester.

Ponyboy is sitting outside of a neighborhood grocery store with Two-Bit and smoking. Three Socs drove up and, for the first time in this narrative, Ponyboy is not afraid of them. He merely looks at them when they threaten him, and tells them that if they do not leave, he will "bust" them. Two-Bit later tells him not to get tough or be like the rest of the gang, and is relieved when Ponyboy picks up the glass of his shattered bottle in order that others not get a flat tire. The implication is that Two-Bit, along with Darrel and Johnny, are concerned about Ponyboy losing his fresh personality and becoming a hardened convict. He is relieved to see that Ponyboy retains his sensitive, gentle nature.

Darry and Ponyboy have been yelling lately, and this evening they get into one of their fits, with Darry urging Ponyboy not to drop out, telling him that he could get a scholarship and go on to college, and that he has to continue with his life and stop living in the past.

Soda flees while the brothers argue. They pick up the letter that Soda had dropped. It was his letter to Sandy, returned unopened. Sandy had spurned him. The brothers chase Sodapop to the park, where Soda tells them that he hates their fighting and that he often feels caught in the middle. A startled Darry and Ponyboy promise not to fight anymore. They race home.

At home, reminiscing about Johnny's death and pondering that Johnny had barely seen the world, Ponyboy opens his Gone with the Wind and reads the last few words that Johnny had left him:

Listen, I don't mind dying now. It's worth it. It's worth saving those kids… I've been thinking about it and that poem that guy that wrote it, he meant you're gold when you're a kid, like green. When you're a kid, every thing's new, dawn. It's just when you get used to everything that it's day. Like the way you dig sunsets, pony… Keep that way, it's a good way to be… And don't be so bugged over being a greaser. You still have a lot of time to make yourself be what you want to be. There's till lots of good in the world… (187).

Johnny had wanted him to transmit that message to Dally. But Dally was gone; dead. Ponyboy now had this urge to transmit Johnny's message to the hundreds and thousands of others like Dallas and him "who maybe watched sunsets and looked at stars and ached for something better" (187).

Sitting down, Ponyboy reflects upon the three boys who had been killed that week—Bob, Johnny, and Dally—and begins writing. His first sentence is the opening sentence of this book:

When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home…. (188).

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