Ponyboy's crush on Cherry shows he is not only self-absorbed, but that is he is still very self-aware about his social position and his separation from the Socs. But eventually he comes to to see that he can be friends with Cherry, regardless of whether she shares his romantic feelings for her. When he asks her whether she can see the stars at night from her side of town, and reminds her that his side of town can see the same thing, this is a sign of maturity and perspective, showing he knows Cherry is another human being engaged in her own struggles and journey towards adulthood, as he is.
In the beginning of the novel "The Outsiders" Pony Boy is rebellious of his older brother's, Darry's, authority over him. He believes that Darry is picking on him.
"Me and Darry just didn't dig each other." (13)
Darry has had to step in the parental role since the death of the boy's parents. Pony Boy is resistive to Darry taking on his new role and thinks Darry doesn't care about him.
Pony Boy only identifies himself as a Greaser. He does not understand that there is another way of life than fighting and hating the Socs. When he meets Cherry he becomes aware that there are poeple on "the other side" who he can talk with and relate to. The lines between the Socs and the Greasers is beginning to thin.
After the incident with Bob's death, his running away, the fire, and Johnny's death , Pony Boy matures. He becomes aware that his Brother, Darry, is only trying to protect and take care of him. He also begins to realize that Johnny was right about fighting not being worthwhile. He also begins to realize that there is a possibility for change and that there is more to life than what he is experiencing in the neighborhood.