Which character is most mature in The Outsiders?

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Of all the characters in S. E. Hinton's novel The Outsiders, Darry Curtis is arguably the most mature. He has, after all, had to grow up very quickly after his parents die in a car accident, and he must step up to take care of his younger brothers, Sodapop and Ponyboy.

Darry is only twenty years old, and he had big dreams of going to college, but instead he has taken a job as a laborer to provide for himself and his brothers. He works hard, and he tries to be as responsible as he possibly can. He puts his own desires and feelings aside and tries to be a father to Sodapop and Ponyboy.

Even so, Ponyboy is positive that Darry doesn't love him. He sees Darry as always scolding and upset, always trying to boss him around, always pushing him. Darry does do these things, but he does so only to try to get Ponyboy to accept his own responsibilities. The issue of grades comes up, for instance. Ponyboy is intelligent, and Darry knows it, yet Ponyboy is also lazy and would rather run than study sometimes. Darry actually gets on Ponyboy's case so much because he loves his brother and wants him to succeed.

Darry, of course, has his own struggles throughout the novel. He is, after all, a very young man assuming the role of a much older person, and he does make mistakes. Yet he learns from those mistakes, and by the end of the story, Darry and his brothers have learned how to communicate with each other and have set themselves up for a better relationship.

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