What are some ways to describe Ponyboy in metaphors from The Outsiders?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Since Ponyboy is the narrator, he doesn't speak of himself much in metaphor, although he uses a lot of metaphor for other characters, like comparing Johnny to "a little dark puppy."  I hope that these metaphors work for you.  They are not taken from the novel but made up by me to describe Ponyboy.  I think that is what you are asking for. 

"Ponyboy is a light in an ocean of darkness."  The metaphor works to describe Ponyboy because of how much he stands out against the other Greasers.  They even recognize it about him.  That's why Johnny wants him to "stay gold."  It's why the other Greasers worry about him turning hard.  They don't want him to do that.  Pony is immediately noticeable much like a light is very noticeable on dark water.  Cherry even notices it about Pony.  

"Cherry was looking at me. "What's a nice, smart kid like you running around with trash like that for?"

"Pony is the moral compass of the Greasers."  This metaphor ties in with the previous metaphor.  It's what makes Ponyboy stand out.  He might be in a Gang.  He might get into rumbles and fights, but he has a strong sense of right and wrong.  He doesn't treat Cherry like a piece of meat the way that Dally does.  He risks his own life to save the children in the church.  He's always influencing the gang to consider consequences.  He really is like gold.  He's constant and extremely valuable to those around him.  

Lynn Ramsson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Young children and babies are often compared to sponges because they absorb everything they observe, and these observations often influence their behaviors and experiences later in life. Ponyboy is a sponge as well; he is a good listener and he has an objectivity about him that inspires other people to confide in him, which means he is often in a position to learn the most about a situation and the people involved. Ponyboy's sponge-like nature also gives him the ability to learn from mistakes, both his own and the mistakes of others, and to retain that knowledge. Ponyboy's reputation amongst his group as a smart student and the fact that he is the narrator/writer of the novel also reinforces this metaphor; because Ponyboy has absorbed and retained so much information, he is able to reflect on it and write it down for posterity.

Ponyboy is also a reliable soldier and diplomat in the battlefield of his life. While he is loyal to his own and he fights only for his own, Ponyboy has the skills to engage and talk sensibly with the enemy. His interactions with Cherry are the best example of Ponyboy's diplomacy skills. He listens to her side of the issues that impact both sides of the battlefield, and he tries to bring this point of view to the others. Ponyboy's identity as a greaser might never change, and he might always be a soldier for his own gang, but he is open-minded enough to understand the perspective of the other side.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Metaphor: Ponyboy is the cool, gentle breeze that refreshes a person on a hot summer day.

Ponyboy is a sympathetic, sensitive individual throughout the novel, which makes him a unique member of the Greaser gang. Unlike the other rebellious, unruly gang members, Ponyboy is a relatively calm, composed person. Similar to how a gentle breeze comforts a person on a hot day, Pony offers support to Johnny during trying times. Pony's peaceful, benevolent nature is similar to a soothing breeze. The hot summer day metaphorically represents the tense, dangerous atmosphere throughout Pony's hometown.

Metaphor: Ponyboy is the Magellan of the group, navigating his way through the treacherous seas.

Throughout the novel, Pony encounters difficult obstacles and must rely upon his intuition and experiences in order to make the right decisions in his life. Similar to Magellan, the Portuguese explorer who was the first to circumnavigate the earth, Ponyboy undergoes a difficult life journey. Ponyboy's traumatic experiences compare to the treacherous seas in the aforementioned metaphor.