Chapters 7–8

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. severe
    very bad in degree or extent
    He was in severe shock and suffering from third-degree burns.
  2. bleak
    offering little or no hope
    Soda was awake by then, and although he looked stony-faced, as if he hadn’t heard a word the doctor had said, his eyes were bleak and stunned.
  3. mourn
    feel sadness
    After my shower, I put on some clean clothes and spent five minutes or so hunting for a hint of beard on my face and mourning over my hair.
  4. delinquent
    a young offender
    On the front page of the second section was the headline: JUVENILE DELINQUENTS TURN HEROES.
  5. recurring
    coming back
    Soda began sleeping with me, and it stopped recurring so often, but it happened often enough for Darry to take me to a doctor.
  6. exploit
    a notable achievement
    “. . . anyway, I was walking around downtown and started to take this short cut through an alley”—Two-Bit was telling me about one of his many exploits while we did the dishes.
    "Exploit" is used here to describe more of an adventure than a notable achievement. It also has a humorous tone, since Two-Bit's story is notable for what didn't happen rather than for anything he did.
  7. outcast
    a person who is rejected (from society or home)
    Moral: What’s the safest thing to be when one is met by a gang of social outcasts in an alley?
  8. sob
    weep convulsively
    “Oh, hell, I know it,” Randy half-sobbed, “but what can I do? I’m marked chicken if I punk out at the rumble, and I’d hate myself if I didn’t. I don’t know what to do.”
  9. critical
    being in or verging on a state of crisis or emergency
    The nurses wouldn't let us see Johnny. He was in critical condition.
  10. falter
    speak haltingly
    “I won’t be able to walk again,” Johnny started, then faltered. “Not even on crutches. Busted my back.”
  11. ornery
    having a difficult and contrary disposition
    Dally was his usual mean, ornery self.
  12. casual
    marked by a lack of concern
    "Uh ..."—he sounded very casual—“how’s the kid?”
    "Casual" and "blithe" can be synonyms, but "blithe" also means "cheerful and carefree." This is not how Dally actually feels, but he is trying to keep the mood happy to show that he's not hurt, and he's also trying not to show how worried he is about Johnny.
  13. debate
    think about carefully; weigh
    “We just left him,” Two-Bit said, and I could tell that he was debating whether to tell Dally the truth or not.
    A debate usually takes place between two or more people who discuss the reasons for or against something. But here, Two-Bit is debating with himself. The Old French root is "battre" which means "to fight"--although this is not the case here, some debates can sound more like fights than discussions.
  14. deny
    declare untrue; contradict
    Two-Bit couldn’t deny this, so I went on: “I mean, I got an awful feeling something’s gonna happen.”
  15. scarce
    deficient in quantity or number compared with the demand
    You’re a nice kid, Ponyboy. Do you realize how scarce nice kids are nowadays?
Created on June 9, 2014 (updated July 16, 2018)

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