Chapters 5–6

In the 1960s, tensions between two rival gangs separated along economic lines reach a violent breaking point.
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Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. stricken
    affected by something overwhelming
    I looked around wildly, almost panic-stricken, but then caught sight of some crooked lettering written in the dust of the floor.
  2. disguise
    make unrecognizable
    “I guess,” he said weakly, “I guess we’re disguised.”
  3. gallant
    unflinching in battle or action
    “I bet they were cool ol’ guys,” he said, his eyes glowing, after I had read the part about them riding into sure death because they were gallant.
    "Gallant" also means "having or displaying great dignity or nobility" and "being attentive to women like an ideal knight"--all three definitions fit. In this example sentence, the focus is on bravery. But Johnny was also impressed with the Southern gentlemen's manners and charms.
  4. elude
    escape, either physically or mentally
    I was trying to find the meaning the poet had in mind, but it eluded me.
  5. transplant
    transfer from one place or period to another
    It seemed to me that I had always lived in the church, or maybe lived during the Civil War and had somehow got transplanted.
  6. indignant
    angered at something unjust or wrong
    Johnny was so indignant he nearly squeaked.
  7. notion
    a vague idea in which some confidence is placed
    Darry hasn’t got the slightest notion where you’re at and it is nearly killing him.
  8. testify
    give a solemn statement in a court of law
    “She said she felt that the whole mess was her fault, which it is, and that she’d keep up with what was comin’ off with the Socs in the rumble and would testify that the Socs were drunk and looking for a fight and that you fought back in self-defense.”
  9. survey
    look over carefully or inspect
    “Man, this place is out of it. What do they do for kicks around here, play checkers?” Dally surveyed the scene without interest.
  10. apparently
    unmistakably
    I had thought about turning ourselves in lots of times, but apparently the whole idea was a jolt to Dallas.
  11. doggedly
    with obstinate determination
    “My parents,” Johnny repeated doggedly, “did they ask about me?”
    A dogged attitude is one that's stubborn and unwilling to let go. Here, Johnny doggedly asks about his parents, even though Dally tries not to answer him. But once Dally snaps an answer at him, Johnny is too hurt to say anything more. Johnny can be dogged in helping others, but for himself, he acts more like a lost and scared puppy.
  12. conviction
    an unshakable belief in something without need for proof
    “I was scared,” Johnny said with conviction.
    A conviction is also "a final judgment of guilty in a criminal case." That is not how the word is used in the example sentence, but the meaning is suggested by the situation, since Johnny had run away because he was scared of being convicted for murder.
  13. ember
    a hot, smoldering fragment of wood left from a fire
    The cinders and embers began falling on us, stinging and smarting like ants.
    "Ember" and "cinder" are synonyms; so are "stinging" and "smarting." Ponyboy's earlier creepy feeling about the church now seems like a premonition. The earlier descriptions of Johnny's eyes as "glowing" and "smoldering" could also be seen as foreshadowing this scene.
  14. promptly
    at once (usually modifies an undesirable occurrence)
    I picked up a kid, and he promptly bit me, but I leaned out the window and dropped him as gently as I could, being in a hurry like that.
  15. soothing
    freeing from fear and anxiety
    I guess that guy knew how close to hysterics I really was, for he talked to me in a low soothing voice all the way to the hospital.
Created on June 9, 2014 (updated April 9, 2019)

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