In The Outsiders, how does Ponyboy feel about  fighting?

In The Outsiders, Ponyboy does not like fighting. He is a pacifist by nature and will only resort to physical violence if it is required to protect himself or another greaser.

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In The Outsiders, Ponyboy is not naturally inclined to fight. This sets him apart from many of the other greasers in his crowd. Dally, for instances, has a tendency to be aggressive and sometimes even violent. He grew up seeing a lot of fights and knows how to protect himself, and he can be dangerous at times.

However, Ponyboy is different from his friends. He excels at school, is bright, and enjoys reading. He is sensitive. When he and Johnny are hiding in the church and he explains the Robert Frost poem to Johnny, the readers sees the sensitive side of both boys.

They share the sense of wistfulness about the poem and its message that “nothing gold can stay.” Nothing that is perfect and beautiful can stay that way forever.

There are a couple of scenes in the book where Ponyboy is attacked by the Socs. In one scene, he is by himself and his brothers find him. He is shaken up from the incident. In the other scene, he is with Johnny, who saves him when one of the Socs tries to drown him. It is clear from both these episodes that Ponyboy is not a natural fighter.

We also see that Ponyboy is different from the others and does not enjoy fighting by some of the things he says or that people say to him. For instance, Cherry asks Ponyboy why he hangs around with the other greasers, because he seems so different from them, particularly from the aggressive Dallas. Moreover, in describing Soda and Steve, Ponyboy says,

I can understand why Sodapop and Steve get into drag races and fights so much, though—both of them have too much energy, too much feeling, with no way to blow it off.

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Ponyboy, unlike many of those around him, is not a fan of fighting and would far rather steer clear of trouble than have to get into a fight. Make no mistake—he is no pushover and will protect himself when he needs to, but he lacks his brother Sodapop's view of fighting, which is that every fight is a contest to be won. For Ponyboy, physical violence is only ever a means to an end, and that end is to protect himself and those he cares about. As far as possible, Ponyboy is a pacifist.

Right in chapter 1, we can see that Ponyboy is not a fighter by nature. When he's walking home alone after a movie, having realized what a vulnerable position he has put himself in, he heads for home as quickly as possible, just hoping to avoid trouble. Even when he realizes that a car is following him, he speeds up to try and avoid a fight.

Despite some rough edges and big mistakes, Ponyboy is ultimately a nice guy, far more likely to play the hero than a fighter. This is showcased in chapter 6 when Ponyboy and Johnny fearlessly rush into the burning church to save the children trapped inside.

The only time Ponyboy seems to express a desire to fight is when he and Two-Bit run into the Socs in the blue Mustang in the aftermath of the fire.

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In chapter 9, Ponyboy begins asking his brothers why they enjoy fighting, and Sodapop tells him that he likes the action. Sodapop proceeds to tell Pony that he views fighting as a contest and enjoys the competition. When Ponyboy asks Darry what he likes about fighting, Sodapop intervenes by saying that Darry enjoys showing off his muscles during fights. After Ponyboy contemplates his brothers' answers, he mentions,

"I felt out of things. I'll fight anyone anytime, but I don't like to" (Hinton, 114).

Ponyboy is a sensitive, intelligent boy who does not enjoy fighting. He realizes that fighting solves nothing but proceeds to participate in the rumble because his fellow gang members need him. Even though Ponyboy does not like fighting, he is not afraid of physical altercations and is a decent fighter. Later on, Ponyboy participates in the rumble and suffers a concussion after he is violently kicked in the head. Despite his injury, Ponyboy and the Greasers defeat the Socs.

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Ponyboy doesn't seem to enjoy the violence that the other greasers indulge in, but then again he doesn't shy away from it. The violence in the novel, at least from Ponyboy's point of view, all seems to come for a point of necessity. he is either defending himself or his friends. He does not seem to take any amount of pride or joy in fighting. Indeed, after he threatens a particularly aggressive soc away with a broken bottle, he cleans up the glass shards so as not to hurt anyone.

So in that regard, "How does Ponyboy feel about  fighting?" I would have to say that he views it something that has to be done, but not something that he enjoys. To him, fighting is simply something to do. Self-defense is needed, naturally, but it is not something that he can enjoy.

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