In S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders, Ponyboy believes that he and Darry are both going to "get somewhere." What does he mean by that?

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kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In S.E. Hinton's novel The Outsiders, the Greasers are from lower-income, often dysfunctional or broken families.  Darry, Sodapop and Ponyboy are the three brothers at the center of Hinton's novel and, while definitely Greasers loyal to others of that ilk, they are not enamored of the notion of a future -- if it exists at all -- where they are seemingly condemned to that lifestyle and the limitations it entails.  Early in Chapter Nine, in fact, Ponyboy laments his categorization as a Greaser, noting that he does not enjoy being "marked lousy."  As the chapter continues, Hinton's young narrator draws a distinction between those from his side of the metaphorical tracks who enjoy their status and take pride in it, and those, like himself, who aspire to something better in life.  Of the former category is Tim Shepherd who, Ponyboy notes, ". . .was one of those who enjoy being a hood. The rest of his bunch were the same way."  

In contrast to Tim Shepherd and his group, the Curtis brothers hope for something more than the life they have known.  Darry and Ponyboy, the latter suggests, are not

"[y]oung hoods -- who would grow up to be old hoods. . . I looked at Darry. He wasn't going to be any hood when he got old. He was going to get somewhere. Living the way we do would only make him more determined to get somewhere. That's why he's better than the rest of us, I thought. He's going somewhere. And I was going to be like him. I wasn't going to live in a lousy neighborhood all my life."

What Ponyboy is stating is that he and his brothers have no intention and certainly no desire to remain Greasers their whole lives.  Ponyboy is proud of his older brother and the fact that Darry is better than his surroundings and is unlikely to be content with the fate life may have in store for him.  These boys don't know what the future holds for them, but they know they can do better than the lifestyle they have lived.