Changes Of Ponyboy In The Outsiders By S.E. Hinton
Everyone changes constantly throughout their lives because of new life experiences. Some people change more than others, and a prime example of this is Ponyboy from The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Ponyboy starts out as an innocent kid, not being aware of what was going on around him because his brothers protected him. Towards the end, however, his innocence fades away.
Since the beginning of the book, Darry and Sodapop, Ponyboy’s brothers, try their best to shield Ponyboy from everything negative going on around them, making Ponyboy innocent and naïve. For instance, they both want Ponyboy to focus on his education instead of fighting. Ponyboy complains about the expectations set by Darry, stating that “he would have hollered at me for carrying a blade if I had carried one. If I brought home B’s, he wanted A’s, and if I got A’s, he wanted to make sure they stayed A’s.” Darry just wants Ponyboy to succeed and not end up like him; a greaser in a gang, working hard jobs to help his family survive. Both he and Sodapop protect Ponyboy from all the negatively so he can focus on his education, go to college, and one day, get a high-paying job. As a result of them protecting Ponyboy, he became unlike other greasers; he disliked fighting and stealing. Ponyboy states that “there isn’t any real good reason for fighting except self-defense.” Unlike other greasers, he enjoyed being alone and reading. Ponyboy states that “nobody in our gang digs movies and books the way I do.” Sometimes, however, Darry and Sodapop are not able to protect him, leading Ponyboy to experience negativity.
When Ponyboy decided to walk home from the movie theater, he overlooked the fact that greasers like him would get jumped if they went somewhere alone. This stems from the fact that he had never gotten jumped before, making him less cautious: He was naïve. This caused him to get jumped. From the negative experience, his innocence faded. It also lead to Ponyboy learning a valuable life lesson; he had to be more aware of the situation he was in and who he was: a greaser. This was the start of Ponyboy growing up and becoming mature. However, Darry and Sodapop became unable to help Ponyboy, exposing him to everything they were shielding him from, changing him even more as a person. Later on in the novel, Johnny died, causing Ponyboy’s innocence to completely fade away. Johnny was the one who had saved him when he was being drowned by the Socs. He was the one who risked his life to save the children in the burning church. He was Ponyboy’s best friend, and he had died right in front of him. This causes Ponyboy to begin to feel as if “nothing gold can stay.” It also causes Ponyboy to be more aware of the pain and suffering in the world around him. However, due to these events, he becomes more mature; He obtains a wider view of the world rather than being naïve like from the beginning of the novel. From reading the letter Johnny had written to him, Ponyboy learns that you don’t have to abide by what other people characterize you as. Although he is considered a greaser, he does not have to stop doing what he wants to do, even though he would not fit the stereotype.
He also learns that he could not dwell on the past and that he should move on. From spending time with Cherry, he learns that although nothing can stay gold, everyone, no matter where they come from, looks at the same sunset; Everyone’s the same. They all have problems of their own and must learn to overcome them or get over them. Ponyboy is a great example of the fact that people change as a result of the things that they experience. Due to gang life, he changed immensely. He went from an innocent and naïve boy to being mature with the cost of his innocence.
Even though Ponyboy faced many hardships, he learned a lot and grew a lot from those experiences. Just like us, Ponyboy took risks to overcome obstacles, learning life lessons along the way, which is a crucial part of growing up. Although the loss of innocence seems negative, Ponyboy becoming more mature allows him to have a better understanding of the world, making him more commiserate.
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