What does Johnny mean when he says Ponyboy's family is funny?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To be more specific than the last post...

In Chapter 5 of Susan E. Hinton's teen novel, The Outsiders, while Johnny Cade and Ponyboy Curtis are hiding out at the old church on Jay Mountain, Pony reads the Robert Frost poem, "Nothing Gold Can Stay." Johnny has never heard it before, but it makes him think for a minute. Johnny suddenly tells Pony that "Your family sure is funny." Pony doesn't see the humor, but Johnny explains that

"Soda kinda looks like your mother did, but he acts just exactly like your father. And Darry is the spittin' image of your father... (but) He acts like your mother. And you don't act like either one."

Pony then tells Johnny that he's funny, too, because he's not like anyone else in the gang. Johnny shrugs and says, "I guess we're different." Pony responds that, no, "maybe they are."

nightenbelle | Student

          To answer this question, think about the difference between Ponyboy and Johnny. Remember, Ponyboy says that Johnny’s father often beats him. Johnny does not have siblings that he is close to. Ponyboy’s brothers stand up for him, protect him, take care of him. Ponyboy’s brother feels the need to protect his family so strongly that he gives up his own hopes and dreams to raise his younger brothers. Do you think Johnny’s father shows the same selflessness?             Ponyboy and his brothers care very deeply about eachother, they love each other. Johnny fears his father- as do many of their peers. It is odd, then, that Ponyboy does not fear his family, but instead trusts that they will protect him should the need arise. Although both boys are greasers, one has lived with violence, and the other has not.


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The Outsiders

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