Ponyboy represents the possibility that it is possible to escape one's surroundings. I think that SE Hinton wants us to see that through his writing and his track skills Ponyboy can achieve the dream that Darry has set him up for - to be able to live a life not confined to gang culture.
Ponyboy's ability to eventually empathise with the Soc's and to see that it is possible to see beyond a stereotype makes him an engaging character for young people.
I think Ponyboy is salvagable. This means, that he has the possibility of assimilating into society in a socially acceptable way. He has the brains, talent, and courage. Soda and Darry might have to sacrifice their hopes and dreams (and I think they gladly would).
I think that you would want to develop a forum where you analyze Ponyboy's actions, thoughts, motivations, and general intent. You would want to create as comprehensive a portrait as possible of him in developing your own opinion of him. Perhaps, you would offer personal comments on whether his actions or desires are traits you would embody or with which there can be empathy. I am fascinated by the fact that he is so much an adolescent: He seeks connection, but is equally drawn to his own identity away from others. This makes him very human and highly approachable.
Ponyboy curtis is one of my favorite fictional characters; he is up there with Atticus Finch!
Ponyboy has grown up in a rough home like me, and, I can relate to a-lot of what he is going through. You know? :) I love Pony's charcter. He isn't perfect, he thinks his brother Darry Curtis hates him when all he gives is some tough love which helps Pony in the end.