Chapters 3–4

In the 1960s, tensions between two rival gangs separated along economic lines reach a violent breaking point.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. sophisticated
    having worldly knowledge and refinement
    You greasers have a different set of values. You’re more emotional. We’re sophisticated—cool to the point of not feeling anything.
    "Sophisticated" is used here by Cherry to mean the opposite of "emotional." As the definition shows, the two adjectives are not actually antonyms. Cherry connects sophistication with money, which allows her to experience more of the world, which makes her feel less emotional about it. A better adjective to describe this attitude is "jaded"--but this has too much of a negative tone for Cherry to use on herself.
  2. aloofness
    a disposition to be distant and unsympathetic in manner
    Socs were always behind a wall of aloofness, careful not to let their real selves show through.
  3. elite
    a group or class of persons enjoying superior status
    “And,” Two-Bit added grimly, “a few other of the socially elite checkered-shirt set.”
    The definition is for a noun, but "elite" is used as an adjective along with "checkered-shirt" to describe the noun "set." Partly because he is not a member of the socially elite set, but mostly because the Socs are always reminding him that he's just a bum not worth hanging around with, Two-Bit uses "elite" in a negative tone.
  4. reputation
    the state of being held in high esteem and honor
    “We could have hurt her reputation.”
  5. tension
    a state of mental or emotional strain or suspense
    I felt the tension growing inside of me and I knew something had to happen or I would explode.
  6. reckon
    expect, believe, or suppose
    I reckon it never occurred to you that your brothers might be worrying their heads off and afraid to call the police because something like that could get you two thrown in a boys’ home so quick it’d make your head spin.
  7. frustration
    a feeling of annoyance at being hindered or criticized
    I felt hot tears of anger and frustration rising.
  8. stagger
    walk as if unable to control one's movements
    Five Socs were coming straight at us, and from the way they were staggering I figured they were reeling pickled.
    "Stagger" and "reel" are synonyms that describe the Socs' drunken or "pickled" movements. "Reeling" sounds like it is used as a pun for "really." "Pickled" could also be a pun, since a pickle is a troublesome or difficult situation--the pickled state of the Socs makes them more eager to put Ponyboy and Johnny into a pickle.
  9. smoldering
    showing scarcely suppressed anger
    Johnnycake made a kind of gasp and his eyes were smoldering.
  10. clutch
    hold firmly, usually with one's hands
    He was clutching his switchblade, and it was dark to the hilt.
  11. apprehensive
    in fear or dread of possible evil or harm
    He was pretty well crocked, which made me apprehensive.
  12. defiance
    a hostile challenge
    Yet in his hard face there was character, pride, and a savage defiance of the world.
  13. gingerly
    with extreme care or delicacy
    “The first stop’ll be Windrixville,” Johnny said, laying the gun down gingerly.
  14. sheepish
    marked by docility or stupidity or meekness or timidity
    “Yessir.” I managed to look sheepish. “We’re playing army and I’m supposed to report to headquarters there.”
  15. premonition
    a feeling of evil to come
    But this church gave me a kind of creepy feeling. What do you call it? Premonition?
Created on June 9, 2014 (updated July 16, 2018)

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