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After Johnny's death, Ponyboy slid into a depression. Darry noticed he didn't have the same energy or zest for life like he had before. It wasn't some great observation on the part of Darry. Ponyboy, himself, admitted he wasn't acting like his usual self. For one, he allowed his grades to drop, which was uncharactertic because Ponyboy had always been a vigilant student. He also would forget things and bump into things because he wasn't paying attention to where he was going. Darry got on his case for this reason because, though he understands why Ponyboy is hurt over Johnny's death, he tells him he has to move on with his life.
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