What are some lessons that Ponyboy learns throughout the novel and how do they impact his personality?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ponyboy learns several important lessons throughout the novel. He learns that Socs also have issues despite their affluent backgrounds and that he shares similar interests with some of them. Through his conversations and interactions with Cherry and Randy, Ponyboy realizes that some members of the Socs are sensitive, sympathetic individuals who are also sick of the ongoing violence. Ponyboy becomes increasingly tolerant following his interactions with Cherry and Randy. Ponyboy also learns to appreciate Darry and Dally. Initially, Ponyboy views Dally with contempt and is continually arguing with his brother. After surviving a life-threatening experience, Dally helps Pony and Johnny run away and also saves Johnny's life while the church is on fire. After thinking about Dally's actions, Pony realizes for the first time that Dally is "gallant" and selfless for helping him and Johnny out in times of need. At the end of the novel, Ponyboy finally recognizes the sacrifices Darry has made to keep the family together. He ends up appreciating Darry for giving up an athletic scholarship and working two jobs in order to provide for the family. Overall, Pony's experiences increase his perspective which allows him to become more tolerant and appreciative of others.