At the beginning of the story, Ponyboy is kind of selfish and self absorbed. He only thinks about himself and the things he wants. He has had a hard childhood. His parents were killed in an automobile accident, and he lives with his older brothers. His oldest brother, Darry, is concerned about the choices he is making. We can all see that Ponyboy has a big heart, but the circumstances of his life have made him hard. Ponyboy and Johnny are really close and by the middle of the story, we begin to see Ponyboy change dramatically.
Ponyboy begins to think about others. He sees that fighting is not the answer and that it is not the way to live his life. When he and Johnny save the children in the church fire, we see Ponyboy as the hero he really is. When Johnny is injured, we see that Ponyboy is truly worried for his friend. Ponyboy is moving away from being selfish and self absorbed to being a caring young man. He is concerned about his future, he begins to realize why Darry is so hard on him. He sees that his brothers really do love him and only want what's best for him. After the death of Johnny, Ponyboy realizes just how blessed he is to have the family he has.
Ponyboy is such a young boy, but has to deal with so much loss in his life. His parents were killed, two of his friends are killed and one of the rival gang members has been killed. Ponyboy comes full circle by the middle of the story. He realizes what he has lost, but he doesn't let that rule his life. He goes on living, if not just for Johnny's sake, but for the sake of all that he has lost.