What are three conflicts of the main character Ponyboy Curtis in the book The Outsiders? Provide one direct quote for each conflict.

Three conflicts of the main character Ponyboy Curtis in The Outsiders could be his general separation from the greasers, his contentious relationship with Darry, and his presence at the scene of Bob’s death.

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Most notably, Ponyboy finds himself in conflict with his society. The class conflicts drive the other plot conflicts. Pony is a greaser, characterized by a lower socioeconomic status and a generally tougher background. The group is known for stealing things and holding up gas stations once in a while; however, Pony stays out of this kind of trouble, because "Darry would kill [him] if [he] got into trouble with the police." They are often harassed by the Socs, who have substantial wealth and drive nice cars. The transgressions of the Socs are generally overlooked by authorities. Pony notes,

The Socs get editorials in the paper for being a public disgrace one day and an asset to society the next.

The Socs typically come out on top, and they use this advantage to jump the greasers and initiate conflict with them. Thus, Pony and Johnny directly confront Bob; after Johnny kills him, it establishes the context for the rest of the plot.

Ponyboy also finds himself in conflict with another person—specifically, his oldest brother, Darry. Darry had a bright future of his own; he passed up an opportunity to go to college because he needed to take care of his younger brothers after their parents died. Because Pony is so young, he doesn't realize the sacrifice that Darry has made, nor does he understand that his oldest brother has been thrust into a parenting role with no experience.

Darry makes some mistakes, but Pony interprets it without allowing Darry much grace because of their situation. Pony and Darry often find themselves in conflict, but they reach a relative peace after Johnny's death and the trial's outcome. In chapter 6, Pony vocalizes a new perspective about Darry's own struggles:

That was [Darry's] silent fear then—of losing another person he loved. I remembered how close he and Dad had been, and I wondered how I could ever have thought him hard and unfeeling. I listened to his heart pounding through his T-shirt and I knew everything was going to be okay now. I had taken the long way around, but I was finally home. To stay.

Finally, Pony faces an inner conflict as he tries to reach a more mature understanding of the world around him. He feels rejected by society, alienated after his parents' deaths, and grief-stricken after losing his best friend. Pony navigates these inner conflicts with halting progress and eventually realizes that he has a role in building healthy relationships, both in his own family and with others in his society who come from backgrounds different than his own. Pony grows to understand that "things are rough all over," just as Cherry told him.

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One central conflict that appears throughout the novel The Outsiders is Ponyboy’s outsider status within the greasers. Ponyboy can be thought of as a loner. The opening scene shows him taking in a Paul Newman film by himself. His appreciation for cinema and reading singles him out. “[N]obody in our gang digs movies and books the way I do,” says Ponyboy.

Ponyboy’s separateness from the greasers leads to quarrels within the greasers and with their rivals, the Socs. In the first chapter, Ponyboy, by himself, gets into a physical conflict with the Socs.

A second conflict to focus on might be the one between Ponyboy and a specific greaser, Darry. Darry is Ponyboy’s eldest brother, and the two don’t get along. Ponyboy claims that Darry is “always rough” with him. He doesn’t “understand anything that is not plain hard fact.” Their different temperaments, as well as the pressure on Darry to act like Ponyboy’s dad, puts significant strain on their relationship.

For a third conflict, there’s several options. One could talk about the conflict that arises after Ponyboy sees Johnny kill Bob. It’s also possible to talk about how Ponyboy’s relationship with Cherry Valance induces conflict due to her connection with the Socs.

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Ponyboy is faced with a number of conflicts throughout the novel. The most obvious conflict is the one between him and his older brother Darry, who after their parents’ death, took over as the family’s breadwinner and guardian to Ponyboy and Soda. Darry always reprimands Ponyboy whenever he is on the wrong but Ponyboy thinks that Darry is too harsh on him and does not love him like he does Sodapop. Ponyboy writes, “…Me and Darry just didn’t dig each other. I never could please him. He would have hollered at me for carrying a blade if I had carried one. If I brought home B’s, he wanted A’s, and if I got A’s, he wanted to make sure they stayed A’s. ..He never hollered at Sodapop, not even when Sodapop dropped out of school or got tickets for speeding. He just hollered at me.”

Ponyboy is also faced with conflict after Johnny’s death. For a while, he refuses to acknowledge that Johnny is dead and is so disoriented that he believes he is the one that killed Bob. When Randy visits Ponyboy’s home, he upsets Ponyboy by mentioning that Johnny, Bob’s killer, would have been in trouble with the law were he alive. Ponyboy objects and says, “I had the knife. I killed Bob.” The turmoil he undergoes is his way of coping with the grief.

The third conflict Ponyboy faces is the society’s perception of the greasers. Everybody thinks that they are juvenile and that no good can come out of them. The greasers are judged harshly simply because of their social economic status and face prejudice from all directions. Nobody cares to understand the hardships they undergo on a daily basis. Ponyboy discovers that there is no difference between them and the Socs and he wants to tell the greasers side of the story and hopes that they would be understood better. In the last paragraph of the book, Ponyboy writes, “…And I decided I could tell people, beginning with my English teacher…”

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Pony has many problems dealing with his older brother Darry, who is forced to work two jobs to support his younger brothers after the death of their parents. Pony believes that Darry is too strict and that he doesn't really care about him.

Me and Darry just didn't dig each other. I never could please him... He never hollered at Sodapop, even when Soda dropped out of school or got tickets for speeding. He just hollered at me.

Like the other greasers, Pony has problems with the Socs. Although he eventually becomes friends with Randy and Cherry, the others are hated enemies.

"You know what a Soc is?... White trash with Mustangs and madras."

Following the deaths of Johnny and Dally, Ponyboy loses interest in school. His grades dropp and he is in danger of failing at least one class.

"What's the sweat about my schoolwork?" I finally shouted. "I'll have to get a job as soon as I get out of school anyway. Look at Soda. He's doing okay, and he dropped out. You can just lay off!"

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