What are some quotes that describe Ponyboy's traits in The Outsiders?
Ponyboy is an insightful individual. While he is having a conversation with Cherry, he begins to analyze how the Socs act and behave. He realizes that the Socs are insincere and superficial. Ponyboy understands that there is much more that separates them than pecuniary differences. After Cherry explains to him the issues with her social group, Pony says,
"That was the truth. Socs were always behind a wall of aloofness, careful not to let their real selves show through. I had seen a social-club rumble once. The Socs even fought coldly and practically and impersonally" (Hinton 34).
Ponyboy is also imaginative and is continually daydreaming. Pony wishes to escape his current environment and often thinks of peaceful places he would rather be. While he is lying on his back next to Johnny looking at stars, Pony says,
"I wanted to be out of towns and away from excitement. I only wanted to lie on my back under a tree and read a book or draw a picture, and not worry about being jumped or carrying a blade or ending up married to some scatterbrained broad with no sense. The country would be like that, I thought dreamily" (Hinton 42).
Ponyboy is an empathetic individual who is concerned about the well-being of others. He not only risks his life to save the children in the burning building but decides to write The Outsiders as a way to help other troubled youths in similar situations. At the end of the novel, Ponyboy decides to begin writing the story and says,
"It was too vast a problem to be just a personal thing. There should be some help, someone should tell them before it was too late. Someone should tell their side of the story, and maybe people would understand then and wouldn't be so quick to judge a boy by the amount of hair oil he wore. It was important to me. I picked up the phone book and called my English teacher" (Hinton 152).
Oh I MUST add a very important quote by both Ponyboy and Robert Frost here! In my opinion, Ponyboy reciting "Nothing Gold Can Stay" to Johnny and, of course, discussing the poem with Cherry Valence, shows Ponyboy to also be a sensitive, thoughtful, intelligent, and introspective young man.
Let's look at the poem Ponyboy recites and how it shows the above qualities:
Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Probably one of Robert Frost's most famous (and most memorized poems), Ponyboy recites this to Johnny as they share their thoughts while running from the law. Sunset and sunrise are such brief times of day. Brief, but beautiful. Ponyboy proves himself THOUGHTFUL as he reflects on this brief beauty in nature. The fact that this exact beauty and thought remain with him for a lifetime (and that he would share them with a special girl) prove him SENSITIVE. The fact that Ponyboy can simply memorize this poem and recite it again and again, with emphasis (and analysis!), proves him INTELLIGENT. And, finally, the fact that he can compare the gold of a sunrise or sunset to his own life, and even the lives of his buddies such as Johnny and Dally, prove him to be INTROSPECTIVE.
As Johnny is dying, these are the reasons why he tells Ponyboy to "stay gold." It is a beautiful sentiment from one friend to another unifying them in character, especially in regards to the traits mentioned above.
“…sometime 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.”
This shows Ponyboy is book smart, but he lacks the common sense to survive on the mean streets. This shortage of street smarts and awareness of his environment gets him in a lot of trouble.
“I kept saving my money for a year, thinking that someday I could buy Mickey Mouse back for Soda. You’re not so smart at ten.”
Though naïve, Ponyboy is a caring and generous teenager. There is nobody in the world he loves more than his brother Soda.
“Why do I fight? I thought, and couldn’t think of any real good reason. There isn’t any real good reason for fighting except self-defense.”
Ponyboy is different than the rest of his gang. He is a non violent kid who would prefer to stay away from fighting, while the rest thrive off the adrenaline they get from fighting or need it to let their anger out.