What does Ponyboy mean when he says that he lies to himself all the time in The Outsiders? He did it twice... ...in Chapter 1, p. 18, and when Johnny died and he denied everything. Why do you...

What does Ponyboy mean when he says that he lies to himself all the time in The Outsiders? He did it twice... 

...in Chapter 1, p. 18, and when Johnny died and he denied everything. Why do you think he does it and why would anyone lie to himself? I would appreciate detailed answers and psychological reasons and explanations. :)

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The death of Ponyboy's parents was a traumatic experience for him, just as it would be for any 14 year old. Ponyboy has problems dealing with the new head of the household, his 20 year old brother, Darry. Darry works all the time, having given up his chance at a college football scholarship in order to support the family. Darry takes his responsibility seriously, since he knows his two younger brothers may be placed in a foster home if things go wrong. Consequently, Darry keeps a tight rein on Pony, who he knows has a bright future ahead of him (unlike Soda, who has already dropped out of school). Pony tries to convince himself that he hates Darry, and that Darry hates him. Soda tells him that it is not true, but Pony is never quite sure. Pony's guilt concerning this relationship hounds him throughout the novel.

Following Johnny's death, Pony tries to convince himself that it was he, and not Johnny, who had killed the Soc in the park. This comes in part because Pony has suffered a concussion and is not thinking clearly, but it is primarily because he blames himself for all of the problems--Johnny killing the Soc, the church fire, and for Johnny's critical injuries. Johnny was Pony's best friend, and Pony tries to keep Johnny's memory alive by trying to remember only the good things he had shared with him.

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