What is the connection between Ponyboy and Gone with the Wind in The Outsiders?      

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ponyboy had always wanted to read Gone with the Wind, so Johnny brought him a copy when they were hiding out at the church.

Ponyboy is a good student and a voracious reader.  Not only does he love books, he loves movies.  He is thrilled when Johnny brings him a copy of Gone with the Wind.

"Wheee!" I sat down on a dusty chair and stared. "A paperback copy of Gone with the

Wind! How'd you know I always wanted one?" (Ch. 5)

Johnny tells Ponyboy that he remembers hearing him say he wanted to read the book, and he thinks it will help pass the time.  The two of them are on the run after Johnny killed a Soc in self-defense.  He asks Pony to read the book out loud.

This is a nice gesture, and it shows Johnny’s sensitive nature.  Although Johnny is not considered smart by many, it turns out that if you give him enough time he actually is quite intelligent.  He does not have Ponyboy’s knack for schoolbook learning, but he is definitely not dumb.

Johnny sure did like that book, although he didn't know anything about the Civil War and even less about plantations, and I had to explain a lot of it to him. It amazed me how Johnny could get more meaning out of some of the stuff in there than I could--- I was supposed to be the deep one. (Ch. 5)

Symbolically, the book helps the boys bond and represents something they have in common.  They are together in their situation, and it is a diversion that gives them something else to think about.  They appreciate the concept of Southern chivalry, because roles and codes of conduct are important in their life too.  A sweeping epic about war and tragedy, it is easy to see why the boys felt an affinity with the story in Gone with the Wind.