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At the beginning of the book, Ponyboy is in intelligent, young teen, but he lacks the perspective to understand the environment around him. He can only see his side of the story and fails to understand why others act the way they do. The first example of this is his oldest brother Darry. He thinks Darry hates him because he is always giving Ponyboy a hard time about his lack of common sense, his grades, or any other thing Darry feels is unfit about him. Therefore, he bears a bitter resentment towards Darry and feels Darry holds the same hostility for him, assuming he is a nuisance that Darry would rather not deal with.
By the end, through many life changing experiences and with the help of friends, Ponyboy is able to see Darry treats him the way he does out of love and conern. When they reunite at the hospital after the fire, Pony boy sees Darry's concern for him and realizes he loved him this whole time. He realizes Darry feels resonsible for Ponyboy's well being and wants to avoid at all costs the separation of his already fractured family. He can also see Darry's other concern is he wants to make sure Ponyboy is safe and that's the reason Darry gets upset with him when he acts irresponsibly in potentially dangerous situations.
At first, Ponyboy's view of the Socs is a stereotypical one. He placed them all in one category of being spoiled, stuck up, and hateful. He came to this conclusion from the limited encounters he experienced with the Socs. However, once Randy got to know some Socs on a more personal level, he found they are more varied and not nearly as one dimensional and he thought. Cherrry Valance taught him about how some Socs do care about things and others by expressing her concern for Johnny, her interest in him, and her love of the sunsets. She also explained to him that just because someone is rich, doesn't mean he/she doesn't have problems. Randy Adderson also showed Ponyboy a more sensitive side of the Socs, when he went from a heartless bully that participated in jumping Ponyboy and Johnny, to a scared and lost boy grieving over his best friend's death and the endless violence stemming from being a Soc. Randy showed Ponyboy that there is no such thing as Greasers or Socs; they are all just people.
Ponyboy's personality evolved into one that is much more understanding of others, and because of that, he is now able to make friends with people who are different than he is.
He got tough seening his friend die making him a little tougher.
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