What are four character traits describing Ponyboy at the end of the book The Outsiders?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the end of the book, Pony is grieving over Johnny’s death, but he is more self-assured because he has found a purpose.  Therefore, he becomes studious, forward-thinking and grown-up. 

While it may not be true that Pony has figured out his entire life by the end of the book, the book’s events have been a real coming of age experience for him.  Pony is still grieving for Johnny’s death, but at the same time he is looking forward.  Johnny told him to stay gold.  Pony slowly figures out what that means. 

Pony is coming to terms with his reputation as a hero.  When his teacher suggests that he focus on his education and gives him a chance to raise his grade by writing about something important to him, Pony writes about his recent experience with Johnny, the Socs, and the church fire. 

Soda’s candid conversation with Pony about why each greaser is where he is helps demonstrate Pony’s realization about his future. 

Ponyboy, I'm telling you the truth. I dropped out because I'm dumb. I really did try in school, but you saw my grades. Look, I'm happy working in a gas station with cars. You'd never be happy doing something like that. (Ch. 12) 

Pony is just different.  He is made for better things. He has the intelligence, the sensitivity, and the desire to make something of himself that will allow him to move beyond being a greaser.  The other greasers do not hold this against him.  They want him to move on to better things. 

Pony’s forward-thinking nature begins when he accepts Johnny’s death and why Johnny wanted him to stay gold.  He is still in pain, but he is able to move on and focus on his studies. 

Remembering--- and this time it didn't hurt--- a quiet, defeated-looking sixteen-year-old whose hair needed cutting badly and who had black eyes with a frightened expression to them. One week had taken all three of them. And I decided I could tell people, beginning with my English teacher. (Ch. 12) 

The reader realizes that the story we have told is the one Pony wrote for his teacher.  It demonstrates his commitment to making something of his life without forgetting where he came from, and the people who matter and mattered to him.  Pony is growing up.

Read the study guide:
The Outsiders

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