Explain how Darry and Ponyboy play tug of war with Soda in The Outsiders.

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dymatsuoka's profile pic

dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Soda is the middle child, and as the most amiable of the three, he often gets caught in-between Ponyboy and Darry when they clash.  Ponyboy and Darry often argue, and when they do, they both want Soda to be on their side, forgetting that he has his own problems too.  In Chapter 12, this is clearly illustrated when Darry confronts Ponyboy about his behavior since the deaths of their friends. Ponyboy retorts, "You'd like that, wouldn't you"  You'd like me just to get out.  Well, it's not that easy, is it, Soda?"  Soda responds by crying "Don't", and runs out of the house, shocking Darry and Ponyboy, who, in being so wrapped up in his own battles, have never considered that he had troubles of his own and needs their support sometimes too.  Soda tells them, "I can't stand to hear y'all fight.  Sometimes...it's like I'm the middleman in a tug o' war and I'm being split in half".

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sam523a's profile pic

sam523a | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

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Darry and Ponyboy fight over Soda similarly to typical siblings: they want a parent, friend, cousin, or someone-they-look-up-to on their side. In this case, that person is Soda. They want him on their side to prove the other wrong. The problem is that Soda sees things in both sides of the agreement.

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