How did Johnny's message affect Ponyboy in The Outsiders?   

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When he is dying in the hospital, Johnny tells Ponyboy to “stay gold.”  He is reminding him about a conversation they had about a Robert Frost poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.”  The poem is about how things start out young and fresh, but wither in time.  Metaphorically, it means that people cannot maintain their innocence as they age.  Johnny feels that Ponyboy is still innocent, and he wants him to remain so.  He does not want him to follow the other greasers into gang life.

Pony doesn’t understand that Johnny means at first.  Johnny left a copy of Gone with the Wind for Pony, because they were reading it while hiding out.  It takes him awhile to finally take a look at it, because he doesn’t want...

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