What is the climax of the book The Outsiders (by S. E. Hinton)?

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The climax of a book marks the crescendo of the action. After that point, the action falls and there is a resolution of the conflicts that the characters face. The climax of The Outsiders is the church fire that takes place while Johnny and Ponyboy are hiding out, having fled from home after Johnny kills Bob. During the fire, Johnny and Ponyboy, along with Dally, save children from the burning church, and Johnny sustains injuries that will go on to cause his death.

The action falls after this point. Johnny and Ponyboy, now regarded as heroes, return from their hideout, and sadly, Johnny dies. Ponyboy is reunited with his brothers, and a judge allows them to stay together. In the end, Ponyboy decides to give up violence and decides to write down the story of what happened to him as an English project.

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The climax is the moment in the plot in which the protagonist has the opportunity to resolve the conflict.  There are multiple major external conflicts in this novel, like the final confrontation with the Socs or Dally's police chase. The major iturning point in The Outsiders occurs in Chapter Nine, with Johnny's death; this moment has the most impact because it signals a change in the protagonist's outlook and development.

In the hospital, Johnny tells Pony, "Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold." Pony is confused by this, and Johnny dies before Pony can ask him to explain it. Johnny's death is one of the most tense moments of the book and signals the beginning of Pony's new perspective.  He begins to transform as a character after Johnny's death, going through a period of denial, anger, and then ultimately understanding and wisdom.

Later, Pony finds a letter from Johnny which refers to the Frost poem that Pony shared with Johnny at the church.  In the poem, "nothing gold can stay," but Johnny urges Pony to hold on to his goodness, knowing that Pony has what it takes to overcome his difficult youth.  Johnny's letter to Pony has a huge impact on the younger boy, reassuring him to look for the positive things in life, like sunsets.

 

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