The Outsiders Questions and Answers
by S. E. Hinton

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In The Outsiders, which advisor do you think Ponyboy will be inclined to follow and why?

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Your question does not specify which advisors you are referring to. Clearly, this excellent coming-of-age novel presents us with a protagonist, Ponyboy, who has a number of different influences in his life. The fact that he is part of a gang of Greasers, who are renowned for their violence and delinquency, indicates that this is a very big influence on his life. However, the actual reality of his situation is far more complicated, as Ponyboy's two brothers, whilst they let him fight in brawls, are desperate for him to have a better future than they themselves have been able to attain.

Consider how Ponyboy threatens a group of Socs who he is bothered by whilst he is with Two-Bit and Steve:

I started towards them, holding the bottle the way Tim Shepard holds a switch--out and away from myself, in a loose but firm hold. I guess they knew I meant business, because they got into their car and drove off.

This sight of Ponyboy threatening a group of Socs in a very convincing manner concerns Two-Bit deeply, as he says, "You're not like the rest of us and don't try to be..." However, as it quickly becomes clear, when Ponyboy picks up the broken glass because he doesn't want anyone to get a puncture, this is just an act that Ponyboy adopts out of necessity. Those members of his "family" who are involved in gang violence actually want Ponyboy to have a better future, and that is the prevailing influence that comes to bear on Ponyboy, in spite of appearances that might suggest he is sinking into the same cycle of petty crime and delinquency as his friends.

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