What is the relationship between Darry and Ponyboy Curtis in The Outsiders?
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The two Curtis brothers struggle with their feelings about one another for most of the novel. Pony believes that Darry picks on him all the time and that he favors Sodapop, since Darry rarely yells at Soda. Pony realizes that most of Darry's stress comes from him working "too long and hard," and that he's "grown up too fast. Because Darry is the oldest brother and de facto head of the household, he takes his position seriously, and he wants to make sure that Pony stays in school and graduates--unlike Soda. When Darry hits Pony for coming home late, Pony begins to wonder about his older brother.
"I don't know... sometimes we get along okay, then all of a sudden he blows up on me or else is naggin' at me all the time. He didn't used to be like that... we used to get along okay... before Mom and Dad died. Now he just can't stand me."
But Pony misinterprets Darry's anger for hatred. Darry loves his little brother, and the decisions he makes are for Pony's own good. Pony finally recognizes this by the end of the story, when Soda tells them that he can't deal with the arguing all the time. When Darry and Pony both realize the pain they have caused Soda, they both agree not to argue anymore.
"No more fights. Okay, Ponyboy?" Darry said.
"Okay," I said. And I meant it. Darry and I would probably still have misunderstandings--we were too different not to--but no more fights.
The one thing I would add to this is in reference to the quotation' "we were too different not to". Ponyboy still does not recognize how alike he and Darry are. The prime reason Darry has so many high hopes for Ponyboy is that he recognizes much of himself in Ponyboy. Ponyboy will be granted the opportunities Darry had to give up to raise his younger brother. While it was stated that "the only thing that keeps Darry from being a Soc is us" the same could almost be true for Ponyboy. Ponyboy was in all the advanced classes with the Socs. He valued knowledge in (including aesthetic knowledge) which alone set him apart from the Greasers. Darry pushes Ponyboy so hard because he loves Ponyboy, yes, but also because Ponyboy is representative of Darry's lost dreams.
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