Ponyboy is the narrator of The Outsiders and describes life as he sees it. He is a fourteen year old boy who is being brought up by his older brothers, and particularly his twenty year old brother Darryl (Darry) since their parents were killed in a car accident. The boys are all members of the Greasers gang but Ponyboy does his best to stay out of trouble and is different from the average gang member, even making the A-Grade in school and having a high IQ. He likes to read and his influence is felt mostly by Johnny, Ponyboy's best friend who comes to appreciate Ponyboy's love of poetry and even Gone with the Wind.
Ponyboy describes the gang members and is very aware of their similarities and differences where they exist. When he talks about Two-Bit Matthews, Ponyboy mentions that Two-Bit is the oldest of the gang and people have even forgotten that his real name is Keith because he always talks and "gets his two-bit's worth." His name is therefore a metaphor for a description of him and his mannerisms. A "bit" (or two bits) is a coin long out of use in the twenty-first century and the term now suggests something of little value.
Two-Bit does not take life seriously and is almost proud of his talent for shoplifting. Strangely he loves school although, as Ponyboy observes "he never learned anything." Two-Bit is very likable and makes the boys laugh at themselves. Ponyboy calls him "the wisecracker of the bunch." This means that Two-Bit is full of confidence to the point of being arrogant and always making jokes.