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Toward the end of the novel (particularly chapter 11), Ponyboy has become extremely depressed. He is upset over everything that has taken place in the past few days, especially the death of his best friend, Johnny. Darry has begun to recognize this and tries to ease some of Pony’s pain. The reason that Darry’s reaching out to Ponyboy is so important is because Pony goes through the entire novel feeling that everything that he does upsets or disappoints his big brother. He is constantly fighting with Darry and by the end of the novel (chapter 12) Ponyboy feels a closeness to Darry that he never felt before. This closeness seems to heal Ponyboy’s pain and depression and helps him to see past all of the bad things that have happened recently and allows him to have a positive outlook on the future.
Throughout the novel, Darry is trying as hard as he can to keep his family together. It shouldn't be his responsibility. It should be his parents' job, but they are dead. Because of that, the head of household job falls on Darry as the oldest brother. Darry is hard on his little brothers, and Ponyboy thinks it is especially directed at him. Pony goes through most of the novel thinking that Darry doesn't love him or appreciate him. That starts to change after Darry shows up at the hospital worried sick about Ponyboy and Johnny. By the end of the novel, their relationship is getting better. It's not great, but it is getting better. The entire situation is important to Ponyboy, because he is now realizing and seeing that his oldest brother really does love him and care for him. They might not always get along, but they do all care for each other.
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