How does Ponyboy see himself in the novel The Outsiders?

Quick answer:

In the novel The Outsiders, Ponyboy perceives himself as intelligent, yet prone to poor decisions, and also sees himself as a competent athlete. He admits to being somewhat selfish, not fully appreciating the sacrifices made by his brother Darry. By the end of the novel, Ponyboy gains a deeper awareness of how his actions impact others, particularly his brothers, and starts to appreciate Darry's efforts more.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Chapter 1, Ponyboy comments that he believes he is intelligent but has a tendency to make bad decisions. When Pony decides to walk to the movies by himself, he says,

"It drives my brother Darry nuts when I do stuff like that, 'cause I'm supposed to be smart; I make good grades and have a high IQ and everything, but I don't use my head" (Hinton 4).

In addition to being intelligent, Ponyboy also sees himself as a good athlete. In Chapter 7, Ponyboy says,

"I'm on the A-squad track team, the youngest one. I'm a good runner" (Hinton 91).

Ponyboy also has a tendency to be selfish and not think about others. Throughout the novel, he does not appreciate Darry for the sacrifices that he makes on a daily basis. Ponyboy also does not listen to Sodapop's issues and is rather naive when it comes to understanding his brothers' feelings. At the end of the novel, Sodapop runs out of the house after hearing Darry and Ponyboy argue. Pony and Darry chase after him and when they finally catch up to Sodapop, Pony makes a startling realization. Ponyboy mentions,

"I suddenly realized that Darry was only twenty, that he wasn't so much older that he couldn't feel scared or hurt and as lost as the rest of us. I saw that I had expected Darry to do all the understanding without even trying to understand him" (Hinton 150).

At the end of the novel, Ponyboy is aware of how his behavior has been affecting Sodapop and starts to appreciate Darry. Throughout the novel, Ponyboy sees himself as an intelligent, athletic, and sympathetic individual.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial