In S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders, what realization does Ponyboy make about Darry? Does this realization tie into a coming of age theme?

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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At the end of chapter 6, Ponyboy is picked up after saving the kids from the fire by Darry and Soda. Ponyboy hugs Soda first, of course, and remembers how Darry had hit him the night that he ran away. But then he looks up at Darry and notices that he's crying. As the narrator, Pony says,

"In that second what Soda and Dally and Two-Bit had been trying to tell me came through. Darry did care about me, maybe as much as he cared about Soda, and because he cared he was trying too hard to make something of me" (98).

This is the point at which Ponyboy realizes Darry does love him. It is certainly characteristic of a bildungsroman, or a coming of age story. However, one might argue that the points at which Pony saves the children from the fire or where he decides to go back to society are also major points of him growing from a boy to a man. The fact that he comes to understand brotherly love is also important to his growth, but it would be difficult to argue that this is the pivitol point in Pony's maturation. Ponyboy goes through many moments of growth throughout the whole story. Facing death, prejudice, and physical harm also top the list of life-growing experiences.


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