With evidence from the text, explain how you would feel if you were Ponyboy and two of your friends, Johnny and Dally, had just died.

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melkoosmann eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Outsiders, Ponyboy's first reaction to the deaths of his friends is denial. When Ponyboy is sick, he tries to take the blame for Bob's murder and also insists that Johnny is not dead. As time passes, he grows tougher in order to protect himself in his rough environment. At one point, when three older boys threaten to beat him up, Ponyboy breaks a bottle and threatens them with it so fiercely that they run away.

By the end of the book, Ponyboy accepts that his friends are dead. He decides to focus on the good that is still left in the world, and he realizes that boys like Dally need somebody to speak for them. Ponyboy decides to write the greasers' side of the story in order to share the experiences he had with his friends who died.

That is how Ponyboy reacts. Your question, however, asks how I would react. I would not spend so much time in denial; I'm the kind of person who cannot help but face up to negatives. However, I am pretty sure I would become more afraid rather than tougher. The one thing I think I would do like Ponyboy is try to write a story about my friends.

How would you react? Are you the sort of person who tries to pretend that bad things have not happened, as Ponyboy tries to do? Would you react to tragedy by fighting back harder, or by avoiding fighting? How would you honor your friends after you accepted their deaths and began trying to move on with life? Would you write their story or do something else entirely?

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The Outsiders

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