The switchblade is a weapon that features prominently in The Outsiders. It consists of a sharp metal blade and a switch handle that unfolds the blade from the handle, allowing for a very compact and concealable knife.
Role in The Outsiders
The switchblade is carried by most greasers, as well as some Socs - the Soc who jumps Ponyboy in the beginning of The Outsiders cuts his neck with a switchblade before being chased away by Pony's gang. Darry says that, if he had to go alone, he should have carried a blade, but Sodapop argues that it would have been a good excuse for the Socs to kill him. Johnny uses a switchblade knife to kill Bob by stabbing him because the Socs were going to drown Pony and beat up Johnny the night the two went to see a drive-in with Dally, Two-Bit, Cherry, and Marcia. Two-Bit uses a black-handled switchblade he stole from a hardware store as a showpiece, flaunting and flashing it every chance he got, although Pony says that Two-Bit used a regular pocket knife when he needed a blade. However, he does use it to threaten Randy and Bob when the Socs arrive to stop Johnny, Pony and himself from taking their girlfriends, Cherry Valance and Marcia home from the movies. He later lends his switchblade to Dally when he is in the hospital - Dally uses it to threaten the doctor into letting him and Pony see a dying Johnny after the rumble. The model Johnny used is a hubertus shell puller, which is expensive in real life, so it is unkown how he got it.