What good could ever come out teenagers fighting each other in such a way to "prove" who they are? The violence that triggers (involving Pony and Johnny) guarantees nothing good come out of it. Even Johnny on his deathbed tells Pony that "fighting does no good." By now both realize the meaning of gold, and both realize too that such beauty cannot last--innocence transforms into experience, just as the sunset ends in darkness. But Johnny pleads with Pony to "stay gold" in spite of all of this violence. And even Pony and Soda promise not to fight again to be sure they do not end up like Dally. If he is to preserve anything "gold" in his life, Pony must give up violence as a way to solve problems. While it is true that he had to go through all of that suffering (and violence) to gain that knowledge, certainly the author would not suggest that violence, pain, and death is a worthwhile path to achieve it.