One moment in which Ponyboy acts responsibly in The Outsiders is when he stops to pick up the broken glass which had fallen from the smashed bottle in the confrontation with the Socs outside the neighborhood grocery store in Chapter 12. Ponyboy had threatened the Socs, telling them "You get back into your car or you'll get split," but only a moment later he stoops down and picks up the shards (171). Ponyboy's actions reveal that although he talked tough, he still has a good heart and conscience. He took responsibility for his action of breaking the bottle and then followed through by cleaning up the mess he made. Through narration, Ponyboy confesses that he "didn't want anyone to get a flat tire" (172).
This moment in The Outsiders is just another great example of how Ponyboy struggles to define his character between tough hood and responsible citizen.