Ponyboy Curtis (yes, this is his real name) is 14-years-old. At the time the story takes place, it has been 8 months since Ponyboy's parents died in a car accident. As a result, he now lives in with his two older brothers, Darrell (20) and Sodapop (16). Ponyboy's relationships with his brothers are very different.
Sodapop and Ponyboy are very close. Most times, Ponyboy believes that Soda is the only one that truly understands him. Ponyboy admits that he loves soda more than he has ever loved anyone else. On the other hand, Ponyboy's relationship with Darry is very strained. He sees Darry as being very cold and distant. He tries hard to convince himself that Darry doesn't love him because he is so hard on him.
Ponyboy is a stark contrast to the typical "greaser" from the East side of town. He enjoys movies and reading books. He is an excellent student. He takes advanced level courses in school and was even pushed up a grade. He also runs track for his school.
Most of what defines a greaser is his hair; Long, oily, slick and unkempt. Ponyboy is most proud of his hair. He is brought to tears when he has to cut it while on the run in Windrixville.