The Robert Frost poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay" plays a pivotal role in The Outsiders. How is this poem connected to the theme of the story?

Expert Answers
gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Robert Frost's poem, "Nothing Gold Can Stay," connects to the theme of the novel The Outsiders because it conveys the ephemeral lives of certain Greasers and their childhood innocence. The poem's theme depicts the impermanence of nature. Frost describes flowers changing color and their leaves falling as time passes to represent the transience of life. Johnny, one of the main characters throughout the novel, loses his life at a very young age. Johnny was a sympathetic, kind individual who had a bright future. One can say, Johnny was "gold." Similar to how nature was depicted in Frost's poem, Johnny's life last only a short time before he passes away. Johnny's last words to Ponyboy are, "Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold...." Johnny is referencing Frost's poem and is essentially telling Ponyboy to stay young and innocent. Ponyboy watches Johnny pass, and then witnesses Dally lose his life in a vacant lot. These traumatic experiences make Ponyboy callous for a time until he is able to express his emotions via writing. Writing is therapeutic for Ponyboy and helps him symbolically regain his "golden hue."