How did Ponyboy react to the three Socs who bullied him about killing Bob in "Outsiders"?

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When the three Socs confront Ponyboy about killing Bob Sheldon, Ponyboy is not afraid.  He shatters the end of the Pepsi bottle from which he has been drinking and tosses away his cigarette, emotionlessly warning the Socs, "You get back into your car or you'll get split".  The Socs, surprised, hesitate, and when Ponyboy hops off the car where he has been sitting and slowly advances, holding the lethal bottle firmly before him, they get in their car and drive away.

Ponyboy's reaction is uncharacteristic.  He notes with an odd sense of detachment, "I didn't feel anything - scared, mad, or anything.  Just zero".  Two-Bit is concerned, and tells Ponyboy, "...listen, dont' get tough.  You're not like the rest of us and don't try to be...".  Ponyboy thinks vaguely, "What was the matter with Two-Bit?  I knew as well as he did that if you got tough you didn't get hurt.  Get smart and nothing can touch you".  Ironically, as Ponyboy is thinking about the benefits of letting himself become hardened, he is simultaneously crouching down on the ground picking up the glass he has broken, so no one will get a flat tire.  This small demonstration of sensitivity is evidence that, somewhere beneath the shell Ponyboy has erected to protect himself after the traumatic events of the past week, his unique spirit of depth and innocence still remains (Chapter 12).

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