The Outsiders Questions and Answers
by S. E. Hinton

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Ponyboy Character Traits

What are three personality traits of Ponyboy Curtis?


Ponyboy is intelligent and gets good grades in school. He is empathetic toward his friends—as well as selfless and brave, as is demonstrated in his reaction to the church fire.

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Ponyboy Curtis is incredibly intelligent, which runs really counter to the standard Greaser stereotype.  Ponyboy gets good grades in school, and his teachers recognize his natural talents in writing.  It's why Mr. Smye encourages Pony to write.  He recognizes Ponyboy's talent, and he understands that writing might be a form of catharsis for Pony as well.  

Anything you think is important enough to write about. And this isn't a reference theme; I want your own ideas and your own experiences."

Ponyboy is also a selfless individual.  He cares for other people.  He for sure cares for the other members of the Greaser gang, but he also shows a large concern for people that he doesn't even know.  Ponyboy knows that the church fire likely started because of his actions, and instead of running away to hide, Ponyboy rushes back into the church to save children he doesn't even know.  The act also shows a lot of bravery. 

"I'll get them, don't worry!" I started at a dead run for the church, and the man caught my arm. "I'll get them. You kids stay out!"

Ponyboy is also an empathetic character.  He is able to relate to a wide variety of emotions from a lot of different people.  The best example that I can think of regarding this personality trait is Pony's interactions with Cherry.  Pony is a Greaser and she is a Soc. Ponyboy really shouldn't give her the time of day let alone spend entire evenings conversing with her.  Yet, he does.  In addition to that, he is able to listen to what Cherry has to say and not toss it aside and play it off useless drivel from a Soc.  He understands that her problems are every bit as real and painful as his problems.  

"Things are rough all over."

"I believe you," I said. "We'd better get back out there with the popcorn or TwoBit'll think I ran off with his money."

And then later in the story, Pony's empathy even extends to Randy.  

"Thanks, grease," he said, trying to grin. Then he stopped. "I didn't mean that. I meant, thanks, kid."

"My name's Ponyboy," I said. "Nice talkin' to you, Randy."

I walked over to Two-Bit, and Randy honked for his friends to come and get into the car.

"What'd he want?" Two-Bit asked. "What'd Mr. Super-Soc have to say?"

"He ain't a Soc," I said, "he's just a guy. He just wanted to talk."

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Ponyboy Curtis is intelligent, moody, and confused at times. Because he finds that writing is a good outlet for him, he tells his story. He explains that he is different:

And nobody in our gang digs movies and books the way I do. For a while there, I thought I was the only person in the world that did. So I loned it.

Ponyboy reads much more that the others with whom he associates. He is also a good student, whereas his brother Soda has dropped out of school. 
But, Pony explains that he is confused about his two older brothers:  Soda, who makes every effort to understand him although he does not care about other things such as school, and his oldest brother, who yells at him all the time. Pony thinks that Darry does not love him because he yells so at him, but after he and Johnny are burned from rescuing children from the old church where they have hidden when it catches fire, Pony realizes how much his brother really loves him. He becomes aware, too, of how he has been confused about Darry's feelings toward him,

Darry didn't like me... he had driven me away that night... he had hit me... Darry hollered at me all the time... he didn't give a hang about me.... Suddenly I realized, horrified, that Darry was crying. He didn't make a sound, but tears were running down his cheeks.

In the end, Ponyboy and Soda and Darry unite in their brotherhood.

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Ponyboy is probably the least Greaseresque character in Susan Hinton's novel The Outsiders. He is the most literate and academically conscious character in the novel, a good student, an avid reader and an aspiring writer. He is probably the most passive of the Greasers, preferring to talk about life and dreams instead of fighting and showing off. Where most of his friends love a good rumble, Ponyboy prefers to fight only in self-defense. He also proves to be a young man of great courage, as he displays when he rushes into the burning church to save the young children trapped inside.

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john-loves-2-teach | Student

In S.E. Hinton's novel, “The Outsiders”, the main character (and narrator) of the novel is Ponyboy Curtis. He is the brother of Darrel and Sodapop, who live together after the death of their parents. Ponyboy is a complicated figure and three of his most important character traits are that he is highly intelligent but also emotional and hypersensitive. These are the qualities that most directly affect his actions as the story progresses.

Ponyboy's intelligence is noticed by everyone around him, his family and friends who comment about how much he reads and most importantly by his teacher, Mr. Smye, who encourages him to write. It is this recognition that completes the story; it leads Ponyboy at the end of the novel to write the story that we the readers have been enjoying. It also allows him to process and understand the events that have occurred and how they have affected him. Although he tries hard to be a greaser, his intelligence and passion for books and movies have made him an outsider within his own group. It has also left him feeling disconnected and alone, and realizing that writing is how he will connect to others.

Ponyboy's intelligence is his strongest characteristic and his source of strength, but he is hindered by his feelings and his sensitivity. He is able to see qualities in the people around him that others might not notice, but not in his older brother Darrel. All three of the brothers have been traumatized by their parents' deaths but Darrel has channelled his feelings into a desire to assume the parent role, a position he isn't ready for. The situation leaves Darrel feeling conflicted and angry for everything he has lost (not only his parents but his social status as well), but Ponyboy assumes that he is the source of Darrel's anger. Ponyboy is unable to understand Darrel's anger because he is also traumatized and too close to the situation to see it clearly.

suraj98 | Student

Darrel's three character traits are:Fatherly-like,Overprotective and Sacrificial