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Pony and Sodapop are very close. Soda is a laid-back, good looking high school dropout who works at a gas station and gets along with virtually everyone (except Socs). However, Ponyboy and Darry's relationship for much of the novel is troubled. Darry, as the head of the family after the death of their parents, does not have the luxury of spending time building relationships with his brothers, although he and Soda get along fine. Darry works full time in construction and spends time at home making sure Ponyboy does his homework, paying bills and keeping the household running as best he can. When Ponyboy comes in after curfew one night, he faces the wrath of Darry, who was actually quite worried about his brother, although Pony doesn't realize that. He thinks this is just another indicator that Darry likes Soda better. They argue, and Darry ends up slapping Ponyboy, who runs out, even as Darry is apologizing. Pony heads back to the park where he had been hanging out with Johnnie, and this is where the two boys meet up with the Soc bullies and Johnny kills Bob, causing the two boys to think they must run away--which moves the plot forward quickly as they go into hiding. The relationship between Darry and Pony improves considerably after Pony and Johnnie are hospitalized due to injuries from the church fire. Darry breaks down and tells Pony he thought they were going to lose Pony just like they lost their parents.
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