The Outsiders

Chapter 12

What circumstances do Ponyboy's teacher refer to? What circumstances does Ponyboy think his teacher is referring to?


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Ponyboy becomes extremely absent-minded after the hearing. He is disturbed, and his grades begin to drop. His English teacher approaches him and tells him he's failing class, but if he can write a good semester theme, he will get a C, "taking into consideration the circumstances." The English teacher says the theme should be on "anything you think is important enough to write about." Ponyboy reacts sarcastically, although he is polite to the teacher, and leaves. Ponyboy thinks the teacher is insinuating that his grades are falling because he's been in a lot of trouble, he didn't realize that Mr. Syme was giving him the gift of making people understand.