How does the poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay" relate to the story told in The Outsiders?
2 Answers | Add Yours
Frost’s short poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay” addresses the fragility of nature, that its cycle is such that green leaves do not last forever: “leaf subsides to leaf” (he puns on the second “leaf,” so that it can be read as “leafs leave”) just as “Eden sank to grief,” meaning just as the pleasures of Eden eventually ended and humanity was thrust into the world where suffering exists. This is the fact of life that Pony learns: good things in life don’t last. In its discussion of the novel, Enotes points out that the poem speaks back to the images of sunsets in the story: “Sunsets are short….But it is possible, Pony proves, to remain true to one's self and thereby ‘stay gold.’”
Frost's poem celebrates the purity of life at its beginning ("nature's first green is gold"), and laments its impermanence ("nothing gold can stay"). When Johnny tells Ponyboy to "stay gold", he is referring to the innocence the greasers once had in common as children. As they grow into adulthood, they lose that guilelessness and become hardened and jaded under the relentless pressures of poverty, social pressure, family instability, and violence. Darry, whose dreams of attending college on a scholarship are dashed by the responsibility of caring for his brothers, and Dally, who has given up hope for a better life and descended into a cycle of violence and crime, are bitter examples of this, and the other greasers are not far behind. Ponyboy is different. He is sensitive and perceptive, and can still recognize and appreciate the beauty in a good book or a sunrise. Johnny hopes Ponyboy can keep this ability - that he can "stay gold".
Join to answer this question
Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.Join eNotes