What are Ponyboy's weakness?

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One of Pony's flaws stems from his youth; because of his lack of life experience, he is unable to see the difficult position his brother Darry is in. The night that Darry hits him, he and Pony are at odds because Pony has come in much later than expected. Darry explains,

I reckon it never occurred to you that your brothers might be worrying their heads off and afraid to call the police because something like that could get you two thrown in a boys' home so quick it'd make your head spin. (Chapter 3)

Darry is more concerned than most brothers because he is also acting as a parent, a role he is unequipped to tackle but one he must do well in order to keep all the brothers together. Throughout the plot, Pony judges Darry harshly and can't see how hard Darry is working to maintain custody of him.

Darry isn't the only one who falls under Pony's scrutiny and comes up short. Though Pony is a detailed narrator, introducing readers to the world of Socs vs Greasers, he also finds fault with pretty much everyone in his own group. Although he understands why the Greasers act the way they do, he still doesn't have much tolerance for Steve or Dally. He is even critical of the girls that the Greases go for:

They were the only kind of girls that would look at us, I thought. Tough, loud girls who wore too much eye makeup and giggled and swore too much. (Chapter 1)

Pony judges his brother, the Socs, his teacher, the girls Greasers date, and members of his friend group. He has pretty tough criticism for nearly everyone.

He nearly fails to see his ticket to a better life: education. Pony is smart, and Darry reminds him of this numerous times, but Pony is so caught up in Greaser survival that he doesn't focus on school. When his English teacher tries to help him at the end of the year, Pony's first response is that he just "can't help it." Everyone around him sees his potential, but Pony almost lets his abilities flounder and produce nothing.

An unforgettable teenage narrator with much to say about the world he's been thrown into, Pony seems to redeem many of his flaws by the novel's end.

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One of Ponyboy's biggest weakness is his inability to empathize with those who don't have the same level of intelligence and articulation as he does. While the title The Outsiders certainly refers to the gang of the greasers as a whole, it also refers to Ponyboy's sense of isolation in regard to where he fits in among these outsiders. Where the rest of his gang is tough and rowdy, Ponyboy is shy, sensitive, and poetic.

This leads to many good qualities but also a failure to connect with people who don't see the world his way. Over the course of the novel he is incredibly hard on Darry, whom he judges for being harsh and uncaring. Because of Darry's external nature, Ponyboy completely disregards every obvious sacrifice that Darry has made for the sake of his younger brothers.

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Ponyboy is sometimes impractical and does not use his head. For example, at the beginning of the book, he is jumped by the Socs because he is walking home alone from a movie. Afterward, he realizes that he should have called one of his brothers to pick him up. He thinks:

"If I had thought about it, I could have called Darry and he would have come by on his way home and picked me up, or Two-Bit Mathews—one of our gang—would have come to get me in his car if I had asked him, but sometimes I just don't use my head. It drives my brother Darry nuts when I do stuff like that, 'cause I'm supposed to be smart; I make good grades and have a high IQ and everything, but I don't use my head. Besides, I like walking."

Though Ponyboy is academic, he doesn't always act in practical ways. He thinks more about his own preferences than about keeping himself safe. He is often impulsive, such as when he runs away from home, and his actions get him into trouble.

He is also somewhat immature and thinks that his brother Darry doesn't like him and is unfair. In reality, Darry is only trying to protect Ponyboy and keep the family together. Over the course of the book, Ponyboy matures and realizes that Darry acts out of love, not out of spite.

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Pony has several notable weaknesses in the novel, which are particularly depicted towards the beginning of the story when he lacks insight, perspective, and maturity. Towards the beginning of the novel, Pony is known for not having common sense. Darry continually criticizes Pony for not exercising common sense, and Pony even admits that sometimes he does not use his head, such as when he decides to walk alone to the movies and ends up getting jumped by a gang of Socs. Ponyboy also lacks perspective and is naive in some areas. Ponyboy initially believes that Socs do not have any struggles and feels like Darry doesn't want him around. Pony also fails to see Dally's positive attributes and struggles to comprehend meaning in Robert Frost's poem. One could also argue that Ponyboy makes rash decisions, like running away from home, entering the burning building, and refusing to not participate in the rumble.

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