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Ponyboy actually runs away twice in the novel. The first time he runs away, his motivation is the fight that he has with his brother Darry. Ponyboy is with Johnny and they end up falling asleep so Ponyboy goes home extremely late, getting Darry so mad and worried that he yells at Ponyboy. In response to this, Ponyboy and Johnny “run away” to spend the night in the park.
The second time that he runs away follows this part. While in the park a group of Socs finds Pony and Johnny and one of the Socs tries to drown Ponyboy. Johnny saves him by killing the boy who is trying to drown him. They then run away to live in an old church in Windrixville because they are wanted by the police for the murder of a Soc.
I think that he sort of got fed up with the way that Darry had been treating him and he just kind of snapped because he couldn't take this way of life anymore.
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