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How does Ponyboy's character change from the beginning to the end of The Outsiders?

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scerveira | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 16, 2011 at 11:14 AM via web

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How does Ponyboy's character change from the beginning to the end of The Outsiders?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 25, 2011 at 12:28 AM (Answer #1)

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Ponyboy Curtis probably changes more throughout the course of The Outsiders than any other character. His loss of innocence is a major theme of the novel. Pony is a good student at the start of the story, and he is a member of the track team. Aside from the death of his parents, Pony has suffered less than most of the characters. His older brother, Darry, tries to protect him from the gang violence that erupts with the Socs, and he chastizes Pony after he is jumped by a Soc gang while walking alone. Darry rarely allows Pony to go out on school days, for he knows that Pony has a bright future ahead of him--unlike most of the other greasers.

However, the attack by the Socs in the park leaves Bob Sheldon dead, and Pony and Johnny decide to leave town and hide out in an abandoned church outside Windrixville. Pony endures the fear of the unknown and worries about what will happen to them when they are finally caught. When the church catches fire (because of Pony's burning cigarette), he and Johnny scramble inside the burning building to save the children inside. Pony's life changes forever following his heroic act. Johnny is severely burned, and finally dies from his injuries, costing Pony his best friend. His health has been compromised, and he receives a concussion in the rumble. Following Johnny's death, Pony seem to give up hope of resuming his old life. His friends worry that he has grown hard, like Dally, and they hope that he will return to his old ways. In the end, when it appears that he may have to repeat a year of high school, his English teacher allows him extra time to complete an essay. Pony decides to tell his story, that of The Outsiders. 

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gamingbeast14 | Salutatorian

Posted August 16, 2011 at 12:40 PM (Answer #2)

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Ponyboy's character changes from the beginning to the end a lot.  He endures a lot of drama which makes him a little crazy.  At the beginning he is the shy little kid of the group and he ends up being really brave.  His character also changes because of his attitude.  In the beginning of the story his attitude was that life is good, but by the ends his attitude is that things are rough all over.  The last way his character changes is because he watched 2 good friends die right in front of him.  This made him become meaner, angrier, sader and more confused about life.

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ik9744 | TA , Grade 9 | Valedictorian

Posted June 20, 2014 at 2:50 AM (Answer #3)

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Ponyboy changed due to the bleaching of his hair so was Johnny's but he died. He cut his, 'tough' hair. Also the bonds between Dally, Soda, and Ponyboy [Curtis brother] changed a lot due to the fact of running away.

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