How does Ponyboy's relationship with Darry and Sodapop differ in The Outsiders?
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Ponyboy's relationships with his two brothers are different because of the roles that Darry and Sodapop play in their brother's life.
Darry has taken on the role of acting as Ponyboy's father figure. Even though "Darry yells too much and tries too hard and takes everything too serious," he has Ponyboy's best interests at heart (174). Darry works hard to provide for his family, and because he is the oldest brother, he feels a responsibility toward making sure Ponyboy does well at school and makes good choices.
Easy-going Sodapop is Ponyboy's confidante. Ponyboy and Soda have a very close relationship, because Sodapop is a very good listener. He comforts Ponyboy through difficult times and often feels like the "middleman in a tug o'war" when Ponyboy and Darry have arguments (174).
In the end of the novel, Ponyboy comes to understand that he "had expected Darry to do all the understanding without even trying to understand him" (176). Part of the novel's resolution includes Ponyboy strengthening his relationship with his brothers, understanding that if "[they] don't have each other, [they] don't have anything" (176).
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