Give examples of times Ponyboy Curtis is a good influence on other characters in The Outsiders.

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mrs-tolley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Perhaps the best example of Ponyboy being a positive influence on other characters is when he reads and recites poetry to Johnny. Most importantly, Ponyboy recites a poem, "Nothing Gold can Stay," while he and Johnny are holed up in the church. This poem helps Johnny to articulate his feelings about life. Johnny notices the beauty of the sunrise and wishes it could stay like that all the time. The poem helps him to realize that beauty and goodness are fleeting and that we must appreciate them while we can. Remembering the poem also gives Johnny hope when he is hurt and hospitalized. Johnny writes Ponyboy a letter and says he doesn't mind dying because trading his life for the lives of the children they saved is worth it. In the letter, he explains to Ponyboy that the poem helped him to appreciate the beauty and goodness of childhood: "'re gold when you're a kid, like green. When you're a kid everything's new, dawn. It's just when you get used to everything that it's day." Thinking about the poem and considering its meaning in turn gave Johnny's life meaning. He asks Ponyboy to "stay gold," and to encourage their friend Dally to look at a sunset. This shows that the poem Ponyboy recited for him really changed his outlook and helped him to accept his death.

Ponyboy also holds his family together. His brother Sodapop runs away because he is very sad over losing a girl who he really loved. Ponyboy realizes that his fighting with his eldest brother, Darry, was causing stress on Sodapop and he promises to stop putting Sodapop in the middle and even to stop fighting with Darry.

By befriending Cherry Valance, Ponyboy also influences her and through her, other socs. Ponyboy helps Cherry to see that the greasers and socs are not so different. Cherry testifies at Ponyboy's hearing, and her influence extends to another soc, Randy. This friendship between greasers and socs might even smooth over some of the bad feelings between the greasers and the socs overall. 

You can read more about Ponyboy and other characters here, and about The Outsiders here.