In The Outsiders, Johnny reacts with calmness after the incident with Bob while Ponyboy becomes hysterical. Why do you think they react differently?

One reason Johnny and Ponyboy react so differently after the incident with Bob in The Outsiders is that Johnny has a traumatic background and naturally calm disposition. Johnny grew up in a dysfunctional household and is more accustomed to intense, stressful situations than Ponyboy. Ponyboy becomes hysterical because he has enormous potential and realizes that his future is in jeopardy. He also does not want to upset Darry, who genuinely cares about him.

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Following the incident, Johnny is able to compose himself and think rationally while Ponyboy becomes hysterical and begins to scream. Ponyboy is completely beside himself and immediately thinks they will be sent to the electric chair. Despite the magnitude of the situation, Johnny remains cool and collected.

Johnny grabs Pony and tells him to settle down while he thinks of a plan. Johnny's composure stems from his traumatic background. Johnny has a difficult, stressful home life and suffers emotional and physical abuse on an everyday basis. He is more accustomed to stressful, intense situations than Ponyboy and is therefore better able to control his emotions.

Johnny is also a naturally quiet person who is not easily excited. He only seems on edge when he is around Socs or feels threatened. At the moment, Johnny's life is not in danger and he is able to think clearly. Even though he is in serious trouble, Johnny is able to function and suggests they visit Dally for help.

Another explanation concerns Pony's future and enormous potential. Pony is an excellent student and excels in track and field. He has dreams of earning an athletic scholarship and has much more to lose than Johnny. Pony knows his future is in jeopardy and becomes hysterical when he thinks of the consequences. Pony also knows that Darry will be shocked when he finds out and does not want to upset his oldest brother. Sadly, Johnny's parents could care less about him, and he does not worry about how they will handle the news.

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