Ponyboy wants to be in denial when Johnny dies. He looks at the body and thinks it does not look like Johnny. Then he wanders aimlessly around for hours, numb and barely thinking. He wants to think he will see Johnny again if he just keeps walking.
He isn't dead, I said to myself. He isn't dead. And this time my dreaming worked. I convinced myself that he wasn't dead. (ch 10, p. 151)
Ponyboy has been through a lot. He has a hard time getting over the death of his friend.
But it still hurt anyway. You know a guy a long time, and I mean really know him, you don't get used to the idea mat he's dead just overnight. (ch 12, p. 179)
As time goes on, he starts to do poorly in school and people treat him with kid gloves. Everyone knows what happened to him. This is the point where the English teacher suggests he write a theme on what happened, and the result is the book The Outsiders.
Describing what happens in detail, from the beginning, is Ponyboy’s way of coping with the grief at Johnny’s death, and coming to terms with what happened.