Why were sunsets so important to Ponyboy and Johnny in "The Outsiders"?

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Sunsets symbolically represent the goodness, hope, and innocence that remain in the world and is something that both Pony and Johnny understand and appreciate. Pony and Johnny are depicted as sensitive, compassionate boys, who both enjoy and appreciate the natural environment. Pony references sunsets early in the novel during a conversation with Cherry Valance. Both characters are relatively innocent individuals, who connect over their love for watching beautiful sunsets. Later on, Johnny and Pony skip town and hide out in an abandoned church in Windrixville, where they share their love for nature by watching the sunrise. Pony and Johnny bond over their appreciation for nature and Pony recites a famous Robert Frost poem that explores the transience of the natural world and life in general. Towards the end of the novel, Pony discovers a letter that Johnny wrote before his death, where he encourages him to stay gold and tell Dally to look at sunsets. Johnny's descriptive words regarding sunsets underscore the symbolic significance of sunsets, which represent the goodness, innocence, and hope that remains in the world.

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Sunsets were very important because they symbolized the cowboy idealism that they would ride off into the sunset like heroes that have overcome. Pony loves to watch sunsets and was happy to find out that Cherry likes to watch them too. Also, in the church scene, when they watch the sunset, they make reference to the Frost poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay" that Pony is working on in English class. There are a lot of understated references to the sunset/rises in the story.

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