In The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton is careful to show Ponyboy's loss of innocence through his change in attitude to fighting. Hinton presents two scenes that almost lead to fights, one before the confusing experiences that end in Johnny's and Dallas's deaths, and the other after. In chapter 3, Ponyboy and a few friends are coming home from a movie, and a group of Socs--rich kids--confront them and insult them. In chapter 12, again, Ponyboy faces a group of angry, threatening Socs. Go back to these two scenes and consider how Ponyboy thinks and talks during and after the confrontations. He does not physically hurt anyone in either scene, but his speech and actions show clearly that he is less gentle in the second instance. What do you think has changed? How is Ponyboy more aggressive the second time? Why?
There are some good effects of Ponyboy's loss of innocence as well. Note how he reacts to Socs as evil enemies at the beginning of the book, but as regular guys with real problems by the end. How do Ponyboy's experiences with Cherry, Bob, and Randy help to bring this change about?