What are some quotes that depict Ponyboy's strengths and weaknesses in the novel The Outsiders?

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"You know," Johnny said slowly, "I never noticed colors and clouds and stuff until you kept reminding me about them. It seems like they were never there before." He thought for a minute.

Pony keeps his friends grounded in things that matter. Johnny has a tough home life and no one loves him outside the group, yet Pony keeps reminding him of a better world. Johnny appreciates the efforts of his closest friend to remind him of the beauty in nature especially.

I really couldn't see what Socs would have to sweat about—good grades, good cars, good girls, madras and Mustangs and
Corvairs—Man, I thought, if I had worries like that I'd consider myself lucky.

I know better now.

Ponyboy also proves that he can reason with an open mind. He learns that "things are rough all over" and that Socs have their own sets of problems, too. He learns not to judge people so quickly based on their social group, which some members of his gang never learn.

"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."

Darry and others realize that Pony has been gifted with intelligence. Pony demonstrates this throughout the novel but doesn't see it in himself until the very end and only through the encouragement of his oldest brother and English teacher.


Darry thought I was just another mouth to feed and somebody to holler at. Darry love me? I thought of those hard, pale eyes. Soda was wrong for once, I thought. Darry doesn't love anyone or anything, except maybe Soda. I didn't hardly think of him as being human. I don't care, I lied to myself, I don't care about him either.

Pony judges his oldest brother harshly for most of the book. He fails to realize the enormous responsibility Darry carries in providing for him and in trying to keep the three brothers together. Darry is smart and could have gone to college, but now he has been thrust into parenthood because their parents have died, and he is figuring out how to best take care of Pony. It's a difficult and thankless job, and Pony doesn't allow him any grace in his mistakes.

"You know what a greaser is?" Bob asked. "White trash with long hair."

I felt the blood draining from my face. I've been cussed out and sworn at, but nothing ever hit me like that did. Johnnycake made a kind of gasp and his eyes were smoldering.

"You know what a Soc is?" I said, my voice shaking with rage. "White trash with Mustangs and madras." And then, because I couldn't think of anything bad enough to call them, I spit at them.

Pony's pride doesn't allow him to handle conflict with Socs well. He has to know that insulting Bob and his friends is going to cause even more trouble, especially considering what they'd done to Johnny. Pony's insults intensify the situation and set in motion all the events that will lead to Johnny's death.

Like any well-developed character, Ponyboy has his flaws. Still, he evolves through the tragedy he faces in the novel to show a new maturity by the plot's end.

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Ponyboy is an intelligent individual who loves to read. Much like his older brother, Darry, Ponyboy does well in school. When he tells Cherry that they go to the same school, Cherry comments that he doesn't look old enough to be in the high school. Pony says,

"I'm not. I got put up a year in grade school" (Hinton 21).

Pony is smarter than the kids his age and was moved up a grade to take more challenging courses.

Ponyboy also excels athletically. He is one of the school's top runners and mentions,

"(Oh, yeah, I forgot---I'm on the A-squad track team, the youngest one. I'm a good runner)" (Hinton 91).

Ponyboy is also a courageous individual. In Chapter 6, Ponyboy selflessly volunteers to save the children who are trapped inside the flaming church. When he finds out that there are kids inside of the building he says,

"I'll get them, don't worry!" (Hinton 78).

Ponyboy heroically runs into the flaming building and saves the children.


Ponyboy has several distinct weaknesses throughout the novel. Ponyboy is continually making bad decisions and neglects to think situations through. After getting jumped by a group of Socs because he was walking home alone, Darry criticizes his brother by saying,

"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?" (Hinton 12).

Ponyboy is also naive and lacks perspective at the beginning of the novel. He views Darry with contempt and says,

"Darry thought I was just another mouth to feed and somebody to holler at. Darry love me? I thought of those hard, pale eyes. Soda was wrong for once, I thought. Darry doesn't love anyone or anything, except maybe Soda" (Hinton 17).

Ponyboy believes that Darry doesn't love or care about him because Darry is hard on him, which is obviously not true. Darry does care about Ponyboy and is trying his best to raise Pony.

There are several scenes throughout the novel that depict Ponyboy's brash behavior. In Chapter 8, Ponyboy asks Cherry if she'll go up to see Johnny and she says that she can't bring herself to see him. Pony gets upset and says,

"I wouldn't want you to see him. You're a traitor to your own kind and not loyal to us" (Hinton 129).

However, Ponyboy instantly regrets his harsh words and apologizes for his actions.

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