What is the role of Sodapops in The Outsiders?

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Sodapops is the older brother of Ponyboy. In the novel he is sixteen but nearly seventeen and a clear dropout from high school. His function in the novel seems to be that he makes peace between the Curtis brothers and looks after them. His name seems to be derived from his personality, for we are told that he is "bubbly" like his name and has a relaxed and lively character. He is also described as being handsome, and rather amusingly we are told that he doesn't drink alcohol because he enjoys life so much that he can inebriate himself on life itself. He is a great listener in the novel, and shows great empathy with others and their situation. In particular, an important role he plays is as Ponyboy's trusted friend. Soda also is the only person who is able to gently mock Darry and enjoys doing this, but clearly likes Darry as he gives Darry backrubs when he has carried too much at work. Although he is presented as a very relaxed character, it is clear that to a certain extent he feels "caught" between Pony and Darry, and this is draining for him. Interestingly, he is shown to suffer silently when his girlfriend Sandy is taken to Florida. So, Sodapops is the kind of character that allows us to see more about other characters, in particular Darry and Pony, though he clearly is a character in his own right.