What can we infer about Ponyboy's character in The Outsiders?

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jking22 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ponyboy Curtis is the main focus and narrator of the book The Outsiders. He is the youngest of the three Curtis brothers, and also the youngest of the greaser gang. Very early in the novel Ponyboy describes himself by saying, "I make good grades and have a high IQ and everything, but I don't use my head" (Hinton 4). This tells the reader that while Ponyboy may lack common sense in some situations, he is very intelligent, something not common to the other greasers.

At the beginning of chapter 3, Ponyboy shares the story of his brother, Sodapop, losing his horse, Mickey Mouse, with a Soc girl he meets at the movies, Cherry Valance. During this dialogue, Cherry also shares her secrets about disliking Soc society, and says to Ponyboy, "You're the first person I've ever really gotten through to" (Hinton 38). Later, the pair discuss how they both like viewing the sunset from their respective sides of town. From this interaction, the reader can infer that Ponyboy is both sensitive and understanding, traits which he sometimes tries to hide from society. Later in the chapter, we also see Ponyboy has a dreamy side when he's hanging out in the lot with Johnny. While lying there, he talks about his ideal life in the country, which in Johnny's words has "just people. Plain ordinary people" (Hinton 48). In this vision, Sodapop gets Micky Mouse, his horse, back; Darry, his oldest brother, loses his hard edge so he can "be like he used to" (Hinton 48); and the boys' parents are alive again.

From all of this, the reader can infer that Ponyboy is sensitive and dreamy, while aspiring to be more than simply a greaser and hood his entire life.