Why isn't Ponyboy scared when threatening the Socs with a broken bottle?

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Ponyboy isn't scared when threatening the Socs with a broken bottle because he is numb from depression after Johnny's death. This emotional numbness leads him to act tough and violent, a significant change from his previous non-violent nature. Despite this momentary change, his true character shows when he picks up the broken glass to prevent harm, indicating he still values kindness and is not truly hardened.

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In Chapter 12, Ponyboy says that "I didn't feel anything--- scared, mad, or anything. Just zero." After Johnny dies, he's in a state of numbness that is a result of guilt and depression. When the Socs jump him, Ponyboy breaks his bottle of Pepsi and holds the neck towards the Socs. The Socs immediately drive away, and Two-Bit is surprised by Ponyboy's actions. Previously, Ponyboy would never have threatened a Soc with a bottle. For example, in Chapter 3, he tells Cherry, referring to a broken bottle, "I couldn't use this...I couldn't ever cut anyone...."

However, depression has changed Ponyboy, who thinks to himself in Chapter 12, "I knew as well as he did that if you got tough you didn't get hurt. Get smart and nothing can touch you..." Ponyboy is trying to act tough as a way to protect himself from the loss and hurt he has experienced, but his friends know that Ponyboy isn't really violent. After this incident, for example, he begins to gather up the pieces of glass so no one gets a flat tire. This is the real Ponyboy--one who isn't violent. He is acting this way because he is depressed.

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I think that at the moment that he threatened them with the bottle, he was turning hard inside.  He was becoming more like the rest of the gang -- liking violence more than he used to.

To me, this is an important point in the story.  Pony has been the one who tries to "stay gold," who is not so violent as most of the Greasers.  But at this point he seems to be changing.

But then Two-bit says something to him about not getting tough like the rest of them.  Then Pony starts to pick up the broken glass.  To me, this is a sign that he really is going to "stay gold" and not get all calloused like most of the Greasers.

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This is a great book, I use it every year with my students.  Ponyboy is a gentle loving and sensitive character.  He doesn't like conflict and he tries to be polite and nice to people.  In chapter twelve we observe a change in his personality.  Pony and Two-Bit are approached by the Socs.  Instead of reacting like he used to, he grabs a bottle and breaks it to prepare for a fight. He doesn't feel scared anymore because he has matured and grown though what he and Johnny went though. 

This incident bothers Two-Bit because he don't want him to turn "hard" like the rest of the "greasers."  Ponyboy is still angry at losing Johnny and he is tired of being pushed around by the Socs.  He shrugs off the incident by saying he "didn't do anything anyone else wouldn't have done."

The radical change in Ponyboy is from a scared and frightened kid to a stronger, more confident young man.

Information on all of the characters from the novel can be found at the following link.

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Why doesn't Ponyboy feel scared when the Socs approach him and he threatens them with a broken bottle in The Outsiders?

Following the deaths of Johnny and Dally, Pony has been going through life in a daze. His grades have suffered and he is in danger of failing at least one class. He has stopped eating ("Everything tasted like baloney"), and Two-Bit is worried that Pony will try to adapt Dally's motto to "Get tough"--nothing can touch you then. When Pony joins Two-Bit and Steve in the school's back parking lot, they are approached by a carload of Socs. Three of them get out, and they recognize Pony as "the guy that killed Bob Sheldon." But Pony feels no fear or anxiety when he faces the three boys by himself.

I wasn't scared. It was the oddest feeling in the world. I didn't feel anything--scared, mad or anything. Just zero.

Pony discarded his cigarette and broke off the end of a nearby pop bottle. When he hopped off the car on which he had been sitting and threatened the Socs, "they got into their car and drove off."

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