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I need help analyzing the phrase "Nothing gold can stay." What does it mean?From the...

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teressa | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 18, 2007 at 4:34 AM via web

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I need help analyzing the phrase "Nothing gold can stay." What does it mean?

From the novel "The Outsiders"

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alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted February 19, 2007 at 5:23 AM (Answer #1)

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It refers to Robert Frost's poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay" and has a profound impact on Johnny, who relates it to his own imperiled youth. Later, as he is on his deathbed, Johnny's last words are, "Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold...."

Here is the text of the poem:

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Basically the meaning of the poem is that innocence is something very hard to hold on to.


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matsuimoto | Salutatorian

Posted January 26, 2009 at 8:12 AM (Answer #2)

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When Johnny tells Ponyboy to "stay gold", he is talking about the fun or friendliness the greasers once had in common as kids. As they grow older, they lose that playfulness and become hardened and cruel and loose their happy-go-luckiness’  under the circumstances of their life. For example the socs, being poor, and family issues. Darry, whose dreams of attending college on a scholarship are taken away by the responsibility of caring for his brothers, and Dally, who has given up hope for a better life and became a true hood or JD. These are examples of this.  Ponyboy is different.  He is sensitive and caring, and can still see and appreciate the beauty in a good book or a sunset. Johnny hopes Pony can keep this ability to stay a child on the inside, that he can "stay gold"

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