What did Darry mean when he said Ponyboy was "living in a vacuum?"

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cdives | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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Despite growing up without parents, Ponyboy was actually quite sheltered. His older brother, Darry, protected him from many of the harsh realities of life. Because of this, Ponyboy was given opportunity to be the dreamer he was. Ponyboy did not recognize many of the outside factors that caused his situation. For example, Darry could have gone to college on a scholarship but instead chose to stay home, working a job he hated, to raise his younger brothers. So Darry was making sacrifices for Ponyboy, but all Ponyboy was only able to see was that he didn't live up to Darry's expectations. It was stated that Darry was always a Soc, but Ponyboy did not realize the true implication of this. Darry had a different mindset than the Greasers. Darry recognized that Ponyboy had a chance to escape the life of poverty and possible crime that so many other Greasers endured. This is why Darry thought Ponyboy seemed to be "living in a vacuum." 

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