At the beginning of the book, Darry tells Ponyboy to be more street smart and to carry a switch blade. Darry says,
You must think at school, with all those good grades you bring home, and you've always got your nose in a book, but do you ever use your head for common sense? No sirree, bub. And if you did have to go by yourself, you should have carried a blade.
Later, Sodapop tells Ponyboy, "Listen, kiddo, when Darry hollers at you. . . he don't mean nothin'. He's just got more worries than somebody his age ought to. Don't take him serious. . . you dig, Pony?" Soda is trying to tell Ponyboy that Darry's worried about his responsibilities and that Ponyboy should not take it personally when Darry acts angry towards Ponyboy.
Towards the end of the book, Darry changes course and tells Ponyboy to be careful in the upcoming rumble. Darry reluctantly agrees to let Ponyboy participate in the rumble and advises Ponyboy:
"Well"—Darry gave in—"I guess you can. But be careful, and if you get in a jam, holler and I'll get you out."
Darry realizes Ponyboy is not violent by nature and feels protective towards Ponyboy.
At the end of The Outsiders, Two-Bit tells Ponyboy, "Ponyboy, listen, don't get tough. You're not like the rest of us and don't try to be." The other members of the greasers realize Ponyboy is not meant to be violent, and that Ponyboy's future is to be a writer, not a fighter.
In Chapter 6, Dally comes to visit Ponyboy and Johnny on Jay Mountain. He then takes the boys out to eat at Dairy Queen. While they are eating, Johnny says,
"I said we're goin' back and turn ourselves in" (74).
Ponyboy would be wise to follow Johnny's suggestion and turn himself in. Ponyboy would not be responsible for the death of Bob Sheldon, and his brothers could finally stop worrying about his safety.
After Ponyboy witnesses Johnny and Dally's deaths, he becomes extremely depressed. These traumatic experiences leave him feeling apathetic and hopeless. Ponyboy begins to struggle in school and is failing several classes. In Chapter 12, Darry has a conversation with Ponyboy about the way he is living. Darry says,
You're not going to drop out. Listen, with your brains and grades you could get a scholarship, and we could put you through college. But schoolwork's not the point. You're living in a vacuum, Pony, and you're going to have to cut it out. Johnny and Dallas were our buddies, too, but you don't just stop living because you lose someone (148).
Ponyboy would be wise to follow Darry's advice. At this point in the novel, Ponyboy is so traumatized that he cannot enjoy his life. Darry is encouraging Ponyboy to stop feeling sorry for himself and start living his life again. Eventually, Ponyboy reads Johnny's letter, which inspires him to write The Outsiders.