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Johnny knows that he is going to die from the severe burns and injuries received in the fire. In his final hours, he thinks about his best buddy, Ponyboy, and he worries about his friend's future. Johnny leaves Pony the copy of Gone With the Wind that the boys had never completed reading, hoping that Pony will finish it. When Pony opens the book, a note from Johnny falls out. It says that Johnny believed his death was "worth it," since the lives of the children he saved "are worth more than mine." He tells Pony to go on enjoying sunsets and to not be "so bugged about being a greaser." Johnny tells Pony that he can still be whatever kind of person he wants to be in life and that there is "still lots of good in the world." But most importantly, Johnny explains the poem, "Nothing Gold Can Stay," to Pony, reminding Pony that he is gold.
"... you're gold when you're a kid, like green. When you're a kid everything's new, dawn. It's just when you get used to everything that it's day. Like the way you dig sunsets, Pony. That's gold." (Chapter 12)
Johnny's message is full of hope for Pony's future--one which Johnny knows he will not be able to share.
Johnny leaves Ponyboy a note in the copy of Gone with the Wind that Johnny gives to Ponyboy. Johnny, who knows he is dying, tells Ponyboy that he doesn't mind dying now because he saved several children in the church fire. The saved children's parents have come by the hospital to thank Johnny. He writes about the poem that Ponyboy read to him--Robert Frost's "Nothing Gold Can Stay," and compares being young to being gold. He says that Ponyboy has many aspects of being gold, or appreciating the world. For example, Ponyboy loves sunsets. Johnny tells Ponyboy to keep this quality of innocence, and tells him to help Darry appreciate these forms of innocence as well. He also tells Ponyboy to help Darry see the good in the world (as Darry doesn't), and he tells Ponyboy that he doesn't have to be a greaser his whole life but can be anyone he wants to be.
A.note saying he was happy to die and asked him to show Dally a sunset.
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