What are some similarities and differences betwen Johnny and Ponyboy in The Outsiders?

Similarities between Johnny and Ponyboy include their sensitivity, as Cherry and Marcia realize at the movies. Johnny and Ponyboy discuss the Frost poem. Johnny understands its meaning, telling Ponyboy in the hospital to stay gold. Johnny's saving the children when the church is ablaze also shows his sensitivity. A big difference between them is their relationship with their families. Johnny’s parents do not care about him, and his father beats him. Ponyboy’s brothers love him.

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Similarities between Johnny and Ponyboy in The Outsiders include that each boy is sensitive in his own way. When they meet Cherry and Marcia at the movies, Ponyboy and Cherry form an almost instant bond and she senses that he is not only bright, but also sensitive and insightful. She...

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Similarities between Johnny and Ponyboy in The Outsiders include that each boy is sensitive in his own way. When they meet Cherry and Marcia at the movies, Ponyboy and Cherry form an almost instant bond and she senses that he is not only bright, but also sensitive and insightful. She also senses that Johnny is more sensitive than he appears.

Johnny’s sensitivity is a theme that reemerges when he and Ponyboy hide out in the church and discuss the Robert Frost poem. Johnny understands what the poet is trying to say. When he is in the hospital and about to die, he tells Ponyboy to stay gold.

Moreover, Johnny wants to save the children at the church when the church is afire. In part, this is to achieve redemption for killing the Soc during the fight with the Socs, Johnny and Ponyboy. It is also because he recognizes the innocence of the children and wants to make sure that they stay safe and innocent.

A big difference between Johnny and Ponyboy is their relationship with their families. Ponyboy’s parents died in a car accident and he lives with his two older brothers. Even though they have their problems, they love Ponyboy and care about where he is and worry when he is out too late because they want to be safe. By comparison, Johnny’s parents seem not to care about Johnny at all. They do not question his whereabouts when he is out late and his father beats him. Ponyboy’s situation at home is not ideal, but the three brothers love one another, as they realize by the end of the book.

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I believe that Johnny and Ponyboy are much more similar than they are different. I think this is why they naturally gravitate toward hanging out together and being as good of friends as they are. Age probably has something to do with this, as well. Both of them are younger gang members, and of course, they are both Greasers. They both live on the poor end of town, and they both don't have great home lives.

Considering they are in a gang that rumbles with another gang, Ponyboy and Johnny are fairly gentle souls. They are not aggressive, brash, or rude. This is something that Cherry picks up on very quickly at the movies. It's why she allows them to stay and talk.

Both Pony and Johnny are fairly introspective characters. They don't do a lot of talking, and they don't have a problem with pondering the deeper mysteries of life. That's why reading Gone With the Wind and the Frost poem doesn't seem out of character for them. Finally, both boys have a strong sense of doing what is right. This is why they rescue the kids from the church, but it is also why Johnny stands up for Cherry and tells Dally to leave her alone.

While both of their home lives aren't great, the two are different. Ponyboy's parents aren't alive anymore, but he is surrounded by his brothers who love him deeply. Johnny, on the other hand, has parents that physically and emotionally abuse him. Ponyboy is also the smarter of the two characters. Finally, Johnny is a much more nervous individual. This is a result of his near death encounter with a group of Socs that jump him and beat him quite badly. The event has traumatized Johnny quite badly.

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Similarities:

  • Ponyboy and Johnny are both sensitive individuals, who do not enjoy violence.
  • Both boys are relatively quiet and do not speak much around the other gang members.
  • Pony and Johnny are both the youngest members of the Greaser gang.
  • Both boys are heroic and enter the burning church to save the children.
  • Pony and Johnny are both insightful boys and sympathize with others.
  • Both boys enjoy reading Gone With the Wind.
  • Both boys struggle in various areas of life and are considered lower-class citizens.

Differences:

  • Pony has a more structured home life and lives with two loving brothers while Johnny grows up in an abusive family and hates his mother.
  • Johnny struggles in school while Ponyboy takes advanced courses.
  • Ponyboy is a standout track athlete while Johnny does not participate in organized sports.
  • Johnny reveres Dally while Pony initially does not like him.
  • Johnny suffered a severe beating and is extremely nervous around Socs, while Pony has not experienced a traumatic beating.
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Similarities:

  • Social status: Johnny and Ponyboy are both Greasers and live on the East Side.
  • Shared experiences in the novel: Both boys befriend the Soc girls, Marcia and Cherry and get targeted by Bob and his friends in the park.  This leads them to run away together to the old church on Jay Mountain in Windrixville.
  • Both boys show themselves to be more quiet and thoughtful, like when they discuss sunsets and the Robert Frost poem at the church.
  • Age: Both boys are the younger members of the gang. 
  • Bullied: Both boys have been jumped by the Socs.  Johnny's beating by the Socs ended much more seriously than Ponyboy's, because the other members of the gang showed up in time to chase away the Socs from Ponyboy.

Differences:

  • Home life:  Johnny has a much worse situation than Ponyboy.  Johnny's dad is abusive and drunk and his mother, neglectful.  Ponyboy's parents may be dead, but he has two older brothers who care about him very much.
  • Plot:  Johnny dies from his injuries sustained in the church fire, while Ponyboy escapes relatively unscathed.
  • Personality: Johnny is much more withdrawn and nervous than Ponyboy. 
  • Intelligence: Ponyboy is bright and takes advanced classes at the high school, while Johnny struggles through his basic classes.  Despite his lack of school performance, however, Johnny impresses Ponyboy with his insight as they read Gone with the Wind together:

"Johnny could get more meaning out of some of the stuff in there than I could--I was supposed to be the deep one" (75).

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