How does Johnny from "The Outsiders" mature into an adult?

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ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "The Outsiders" Johnny has developed maturity while hiding in the church.  When Dally comes to see them Johnny informs him that he and Ponyboy are going back to turn themselves in.  This is the act of a maturing young man.  Another example of his maturing is when he runs into the burning church to save the small children rather than run away.  Dally tells him to forget the kids but Johnny doesn't listen and goes into the building with Ponyboy and they save the children from the fire at the risk of their own safety.

Finally, Johnny demonstrates his fulfillment as a mature young man when, just before his death,  he tells the boys that fighting doesn't accomplish anythingg.  He tells Ponyboy to "stay gold" which is in reference to the poem he and Pony had discussed while hiding out on Jay Mountain.