What is the central idea of the poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay" in The Outsiders?

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"Nothing Gold Can Stay" was written by Robert Frost. The text is as follows:

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

The early lines of this poem are set in spring. The speaker notes that the "first green" that appears is "gold," meaning that it is valuable and precious. Spring is linked with new life and innocence. However, as beautiful as that time is, nature cannot hold on to it for long. The first signs that leaves are emerging often appear as "a flower." In my area, we have dogwood trees that capture this imagery well. When they bloom, the woods around my house turn a fluffy white. But this beauty only lasts for "an hour."

This period of innocence is then linked through allusion to the Garden of Eden, when all innocence was lost when humans disobeyed God's instruction. The speaker concludes with the titular line: Nothing gold can stay. In other words, innocence and beauty cannot last forever.

Johnny believes that Pony is "gold," as evidenced by his letter:
I've been thinking about it, and that poem, that guy that wrote it, he meant you’re gold when you’re a kid, like green. When you're a kid everything's new, dawn. It's just when you get used to everything that it's day. Like the way you dig sunsets, Pony. That's gold. Keep that way, it’s a good way to be.

But Johnny is gold as well. He overcomes parents who don't seem to care much about him and doesn't let this harden his perspective. He always remains a steadfast friend to Pony. He also proves himself a hero by rescuing the children from the burning church. Just like the poem, Johnny's life only lasts an "hour," as he dies as a result of his heroic efforts, but while he lives, Johnny proves to be one of the golden humans who grace the planet.
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The main message of Robert Frost's poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay" is that every living thing is finite and will eventually come to an end. In the poem, Frost depicts how elements of the natural environment only hold their golden hue for a short period of time before the plants and leaves eventually die. Frost then relates the elements of the natural environment to human existence in order to emphasize the transience of life. In the novel, Ponyboy recalls the poem while viewing the sunset in Windrixville and shares it with Johnny, who interprets the poem to Pony later on. In a letter to Pony, Johnny explains the meaning of the poem by equating nature's golden hue to Pony's childlike innocence and enthusiasm, which he encourages Pony to hold onto. The poem also helps Pony gain perspective on life and death and helps console him when he reminisces about his lost friends.

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Nothing Gold Can Stay

by Robert Frost Nature's first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf's a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay.

According to the poem by Robert Frost, the first line describes living things. They are perfect when they are born or first bloom. In the second line Frost implies that nothing stays young forever. Things grow, change, develop, and mature. The leaf turns into a flower, but "only so an hour" meaning it doesn't stay that way forever. 

This poem reflects the characters way of dealing with death. It is a reassurance to the characters that death is a part of life-"nothing gold can stay". Fate decides what happens. Some things are beyond their control.

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