What does Pony mean when he says ''I was supposed to be the deep one'' in Chapter 5 of The Outsiders (p.75)?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 5, Ponyboy and Johnny are hiding out at the abandoned church in Windrixville and begin to read Gone with the Wind. Ponyboy mentions that Johnny enjoys the novel but hardly knows anything about the Civil War or plantations. Despite Johnny's lack of formal knowledge, Pony is amazed that Johnny can understand the deeper meanings of certain parts of the story. Pony says,

"It amazed me how Johnny could get more meaning out of some of the stuff in there than I could—I was supposed to be the deep one" (Hinton, 65).

Ponyboy earns the best grades out of his group of friends and is considered the most intelligent Greaser. In contrast, Johnny receives poor grades in school and cannot seem to grasp concepts quickly in class. While they are reading the novel Gone with the Wind, Pony is surprised that Johnny reveals that he is more intelligent when it comes to identifying deeper meanings throughout the story. Pony then mentions that Johnny is initially slow at understanding things, but after he comprehends something, he enjoys exploring it further.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ponyboy is supposed to be the brightest and most insightful of all the greasers in The Outsiders. He makes good grades in school, while Johnny had failed one grade and makes bad grades. But during their stay at the church, Pony sees that Johnny is much more intelligent than he ever realized. While they took turns reading their copy of Gone with the Wind,

It amazed me how Johnny could get more meaning out of some of the stuff in there than I could--

In this way, Johnny was "deeper" than Pony. Johnny was enthralled with the Southern gentlemen in the novel--"impressed with their manners and charm"--and he saw comparisons with them and Dallas Winston. Johnny considered Dally chivalrous, particularly when he took the rap for Two-Bit one day, going to jail for a crime he did not commit in order to keep his pal out of trouble.

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The Outsiders

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