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This is a very good question, and one that I had never considered before. Ponyboy actually falls into unconsciousness twice during the novel, and both times he manages to avoid deadly scenes that would have otherwise scarred him even further. His first lapse into unconsciousness comes after he is nearly drowned by the Socs in the fountain at the park. When he awakes, he finds that Johnny has killed Bob Sheldon, the Soc with the rings who undoubtedly intended to drown Pony. Although Pony sees Bob's bloody body, he does not witness the killing. The second occurrence comes after Dally is killed by the police. This time Pony sees Dally shot, falling "dead before he hit the ground." It is all too much for Pony, who immediately passes out. In both cases, Pony was sick to his stomach at the sight of the dead bodies, and each time his unconsciousness allowed him to avoid a more troubling aftermath. By missing out on at least part of these two episodes--Johnny actually knifing Bob, and having to stand over Dally's body with the others--Pony manages to maintain a bit of the innocence that the rest of the greasers always wanted for him. They had always warned him: "don't get tough. You're not like the rest of us and don't try to be..." The two instances where Pony passed out saved him from the hardening that the images may have instilled.
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