Ponyboy is confused about the different treatment his friends give girls. Explain what he means. Give an example of how this is true.

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corinnedolci eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Outsiders, Ponyboy is "confused" about his friends' behavior to girls. This is likely because he sees his friends exhibiting both respectful and disrespectful attitudes. In one case, his brother Soda wants to marry Sandy, despite the fact that Sandy is pregnant with a different partner's child. This suggests that Soda's appreciation for Sandy goes beyond the superficial; he respects her as a companion. Contrast this with the behavior Ponyboy witnesses toward Cherry and Marcia at the drive in. First, Dallas harasses them, diminishing them to their physical appearance. Then, the two girls seem to decide to spend the evening with the Greasers before being "claimed" by their Soc boyfriends, Bob and Randy. This incident suggests that girls are objects, or prizes to be passed around between their male counterparts for social status. Over the course of the novel, Ponyboy sees girls treated sometimes respectfully, sometimes as sexual objects, and sometimes as trophies—confusing indeed!