Ponyboy experienced a great deal of loss during the chapters of The Outsiders. His parents died in a tragic accident, and he didn't get along with his older brother, Darry, who was the head of the parentless household. He already had to be wary about being jumped by Socs, and when he was nearly drowned in the park fountain, he and Johnny had to hide out after his friend killed his attacker. He learned about living on his own during his time at the church, and when he found the church burning--because of his smoldering cigarette--and the children inside, his sense of honor forced him to risk his live to save them.
He lost two of his best friends when Johnny and Dally died on the same day, and he still faced the possibility of being taken by the courts from his family. But Pony found that he had made a few friends he hadn't expected: Cherry, the Soc cheerleader, and Randy, the dead Soc's best friend. When they supported his testimony in the death of Bob Sheldon, Pony found himself free to rejoin his brothers permanently. Although he floundered in school for a while, he also found a new friend in his English teacher, who gave him extra time to complete his final essay, which proved to be the story of The Outsiders. Although he had been beaten, had two friends killed, and had nearly been removed from his family, Pony realized that his slate was clean and things could hardly ever be as bad as they had been before.
(Pony would reappear again in the later S. E. Hinton novel, That Was Then, This Is Now).