It took a series of events before Ponyboy realized he needed to make some changes in his life. The deaths of Johnny and Dally were the most tragic, and their loss would continue to haunt Pony. While he recuperated from his concussion, Pony was visited by Randy, who tried to console him. The next day, Pony was exonerated by the judge, and the three brothers were allowed to remain together. However, Ponyboy was still confused.
I wish I could say that everything went back to normal, but it didn't.
His grades went down, but when his English teacher tried to help him, Pony didn't take his efforts seriously. It took another argument with Darry to make Pony see that everyone had been affected by the recent events, especially Soda, who had just received another unopened letter from his old girlfriend, Sandy. After a long talk with Soda, Pony returned home, where he found a letter from Johnny in his copy of Gone with the Wind. It was Johnny's words that inspired Pony--to stay gold.
You still have a lot of time to make yourself be what you want. There's still lots of good in the world.
Pony decided that Johnny's and Dally's stories needed to be told, and he immediately phoned his teacher before he
... picked up my pen and thought for a minute... I decided I could tell people...