The Outsiders

Ponyboy Curtis Character Analysis

At 14 years old, the youngest Curtis brother and greaser. Ponyboy is intelligent and sensitive and has certain un-greaserlike characteristics: he likes to go to movies by himself, does well in school, and appreciates sunsets. The events of the novel cause him to think about the kind of life he wants to lead and motivate him to work for change in his community. He learns to see the humanity in his enemies, and takes steps to help others see that humanity as well.

Ponyboy Curtis Quotes in The Outsiders

The The Outsiders quotes below are all either spoken by Ponyboy Curtis or refer to Ponyboy Curtis. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Divided Communities Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Speak edition of The Outsiders published in 2006.
Chapter 1 Quotes
When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker)
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

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Greasers can't walk alone too much or they'll get jumped, or someone will come by and scream "Greaser!" at them...We get jumped by the Socs. I'm not sure how you spell it, but it's the abbreviation for the Socials, the jet set, the West-side rich kids. It's like the term "greaser," which is used to class all us boys on the East Side.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker)
Related Symbols: Greaser Hair
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:

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I don't care, I lied to myself, I don't care about [Darry] either. Soda's enough, and I'd have him until I got out of school. I don't care about Darry. But I was still lying and I knew it. I lie to myself all the time. But I never believe me.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Darry Curtis, Sodapop Curtis
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 2 Quotes
Johnny never walked by himself after that. And Johnny...now carried in his back pocket a six-inch switchblade. He'd use it, too, if he ever got jumped again.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Johnny Cade
Related Symbols: The Blue Mustang
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 3 Quotes
It seemed funny that the sunset [Cherry] saw from her patio and the one I saw from the back steps was the same one. Maybe the two worlds we lived in weren't so different. We saw the same sunset.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Cherry Valance
Related Symbols: Sunsets and Sunrises
Page Number: 40-41
Explanation and Analysis:

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It wasn't fair for the Socs to have everything. We were as good as they were; it wasn't our fault we were greasers...I felt the tension growing inside of me and I knew something had to happen or I would explode.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Blue Mustang
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 4 Quotes
"You know what a greaser is" Bob asked. "White trash with long hair."…
"You know what a Soc is?" I said, my voice shaking with rage. "White trash with Mustangs and madras."
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Bob Sheldon (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Blue Mustang
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 5 Quotes
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis, Johnny Cade
Related Symbols: Sunsets and Sunrises
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 6 Quotes
That was [Darry's] silent fear then—of losing another person he loved. I remembered how close he and Dad had been, and I wondered how I could ever have thought him hard and unfeeling. I listened to his heart pounding through his T-shirt and I knew everything was going to be okay now. I had taken the long way around, but I was finally home. To stay.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Darry Curtis
Page Number: 98-99
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 7 Quotes
I stared at the newspaper. On the front page of the second section was the headline: JUVENILE DELINQUENTS TURN HEROES.
"What I like is the 'turn' bit," Two-Bit said. ... "Y'all were heroes from the beginning. You just didn't 'turn' all of a sudden."
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Johnny Cade, Two-Bit Mathews
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:

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"You would have saved those kids if you had been there," I said. "You'd have saved them the same as we did."
"Thanks, grease," he said, trying to grin. Then he stopped. "I didn't mean that. I meant, thanks, kid."
"My name's Ponyboy," I said. "Nice talking to you, Randy."
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Randy Adderson (speaker)
Page Number: 117
Explanation and Analysis:

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Socs were just guys after all. Things were rough all over, but it was better that way. That way you could tell the other guy was human, too.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker)
Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 8 Quotes
"Hey," I said suddenly, "can you see the sunset real good from the West Side?"
She blinked, startled, then smiled. "Real good."
"You can see it good from the East Side, too," I said quietly.
"Thanks, Ponyboy." She smiled through her tears. "You dig okay."
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Cherry Valance (speaker)
Related Symbols: Sunsets and Sunrises
Page Number: 129-130
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 9 Quotes
Soda fought for fun, Darry for pride, and Two-Bit for conformity. Why do I fight? I thought, and couldn't think of any real good reason. There isn't any real good reason for fighting except self-defense.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Darry Curtis, Sodapop Curtis, Two-Bit Mathews
Page Number: 137
Explanation and Analysis:
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They used to be buddies, I thought, they used to be friends, and now they hate each other because one has to work for a living and the other comes from the West Side. They shouldn't hate each other...I don't hate the Socs anymore...they shouldn't hate...
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Paul Holden
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:
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"Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold..." The pillow seemed to sink a little, and Johnny died.
Related Characters: Johnny Cade (speaker), Ponyboy Curtis
Page Number: 149
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 10 Quotes
And even as the policemen's guns spit fire into the night I knew that was what Dally wanted...Dally Winston wanted to be dead and he always got what he wanted...Two friends of mine had died that night: one a hero, the other a hoodlum. But I remembered Dally pulling Johnny through the window of the burning church; Dally giving us his gun, although it could mean jail for him; Dally risking his life for us, trying to keep Johnny out of trouble. And now he was a dead juvenile delinquent and there wouldn't be any editorials in his favor. Dally didn't die a hero. He died violent and young and desperate, just like we all knew he'd die someday...But Johnny was right. He died gallant.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Johnny Cade, Dallas Winston
Page Number: 154
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 11 Quotes
I had never given Bob much thought—I hadn't had time to think. But that day I wondered about him. What was he like? ... I looked at Bob's picture and I could begin to see the person we had killed. A reckless, hot-tempered boy, cocky and scared stiff at the same time.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Bob Sheldon
Page Number: 162
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 12 Quotes
"Ponyboy, listen, don't get tough. You're not like the rest of us and don't try to be."
Related Characters: Two-Bit Mathews (speaker), Ponyboy Curtis
Page Number: 171
Explanation and Analysis:

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"We're all we have left. We ought to be able to stick together against everything. If we don't have each other, we don't have anything. If you don't have anything, you end up like Dallas...and I don't mean dead, either. I mean like he was before. And that's worse than dead. Please"—he wiped his eyes on his arm—"don't fight anymore."
Related Characters: Sodapop Curtis (speaker), Ponyboy Curtis, Darry Curtis, Dallas Winston
Page Number: 176
Explanation and Analysis:

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I've been thinking about it, and that poem, that guy that wrote it, he meant you're gold when you're a kid, like green. When you're a kid everything's new, dawn. It's just when you get used to everything that it's day. Like the way you dig sunsets, Pony. That's gold. Keep that way, it's a good way to be...And don't be so bugged over being a greaser. You still have a lot of time to make yourself what you want. There's still lots of good in the world. Tell Dally. I don't think he knows. Your buddy, Johnny.
Related Characters: Johnny Cade (speaker), Ponyboy Curtis, Dallas Winston
Related Symbols: Sunsets and Sunrises
Page Number: 178-179
Explanation and Analysis:

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Suddenly it wasn't only a personal thing to me. I could picture hundreds of boys living on the wrong sides of cities, boys with black eyes who jumped at their own shadows. Hundreds of boys who maybe watched sunsets and looked at the stars and ached for something better. I could see boys going down under street lights because they were mean and tough and hated the world, and it was too late to tell them there was still good in it...There should be some help, someone to tell them before it was too late. Someone should tell their side of the story, and maybe people would understand then and wouldn't be so quick to judge a boy by the amount of hair oil he wore.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker)
Related Symbols: Sunsets and Sunrises, Greaser Hair
Page Number: 179
Explanation and Analysis:

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One week had taken all three of them. And I decided I could tell people, beginning with my English teacher. I wondered for a long time how to start that theme, how to start writing about something that was important to me. And I finally began like this: When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home...
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Johnny Cade, Dallas Winston, Bob Sheldon
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:

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Ponyboy Curtis Character Timeline in The Outsiders

The timeline below shows where the character Ponyboy Curtis appears in The Outsiders. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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Ponyboy Curtis, the narrator of The Outsiders, walks out of a movie theater in Tulsa, and... (full context)
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Ponyboy notices a red Corvair following him. He suspects it's a group of Socs, and thinks... (full context)
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After the other greasers return from chasing off the Socs, Ponyboy comments on each of their qualities. Steve Randle, Sodapop's best friend, loves cars but treats... (full context)
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Once it's clear the danger has passed, Darry scolds Ponyboy for walking alone without a weapon. Ponyboy bristles at Darry's words. Sodapop defends Ponyboy. (full context)
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Dally invites everyone to the double feature at the drive-in the next night. Ponyboy and Johnny agree to go. Dally reveals that he has broken up with his girlfriend,... (full context)
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Back at home, Ponyboy works on his homework and thinks about the sacrifices Darry has made: passing up a... (full context)
Chapter 2
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The next night, Johnny and Ponyboy meet Dally and head to the drive-in. On the way, they make a little bit... (full context)
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Soon Dally walks off to the concession booth, and Cherry and Ponyboy start talking. Cherry compliments Ponyboy's name, and as they talk about school Ponyboy reveals that... (full context)
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...to pester her until Johnny tells Dally to leave Cherry alone. Dally, shocked, storms off. Ponyboy thinks about the relationship between Johnny and Dally, commenting that Johnny is Dally's "pet," while... (full context)
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The Soc girls continue talking with Ponyboy and Johnny. Johnny eventually asks Cherry why she isn't afraid of them the way she... (full context)
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...Two-Bit comes up behind the boys and shouts, "Okay, greasers, you've had it." Johnny and Ponyboy jump, thinking that they're being confronted by a Soc. Johnny is particularly shaken. Two-Bit sits... (full context)
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Ponyboy tells Cherry that the Socs attacked Johnny four months earlier: the greasers found Johnny lying... (full context)
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Ponyboy's story shocks Cherry. She assures Ponyboy that all Socs are not like the ones who... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...two girls walk to Two-Bit's house to get his car. On the way, Cherry tells Ponyboy about what it's like to be a Soc, including the search for fulfillment from sources... (full context)
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Cherry then asks Ponyboy about Darry. Ponyboy responds that Darry doesn't like him. Two-Bit and Johnny are surprised. They... (full context)
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...Bob, who pleads with the girls to forgive them for drinking. Johnny seems spooked, and Ponyboy realizes that Bob was the one who attacked Johnny. Insults fly between the Socs and... (full context)
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After the Mustang drives off, Two-Bit leaves Johnny and Ponyboy in the vacant lot where the greasers hang out. As they smoke and watch the... (full context)
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When Ponyboy gets home, Darry is furious at him for losing track of time and arriving so... (full context)
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Ponyboy returns to the greaser lot, where he finds Johnny, tells him what happened, and adds... (full context)
Chapter 4
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The park is deserted. As Johnny and Ponyboy walk and talk, the blue Mustang suddenly appears. Bob, his friend Randy, and three other... (full context)
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The Socs attack. One forces Ponyboy's head underwater in a nearby fountain. Ponyboy blacks out. When he comes to, the Socs... (full context)
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Ponyboy panics, but Johnny is calm. He decides that they should go to Dally for help.... (full context)
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...why Dally gave it to him, saying he could never use it. For his part, Ponyboy, wearing the warm "hoodlum's jacket" that Dally gave him, can't believe that the two of... (full context)
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At the Windrixville station, Ponyboy realizes how his and Johnny's appearance make them look like hoods. He misses home, and... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Ponyboy awakens in the abandoned church. For a moment, he imagines he's at home spending a... (full context)
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Later, Ponyboy and Johnny talk about killing Bob, and both of them cry out of fear and... (full context)
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...the Southern gentlemen in the novel and says that they remind him of Dally. When Ponyboy doesn't understand, Johnny tells about a time when Dally took the blame for a petty... (full context)
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One morning, Ponyboy and Johnny watch the sunrise. As they lament that the sunrise's beauty doesn't last, Ponyboy... (full context)
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On the fifth day after Bob's death, Dally pays the boys a visit. He brings Ponyboy a letter from Sodapop, in which Sodapop writes that Darry is worried for Ponyboy and... (full context)
Chapter 6
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As Johnny and Ponyboy devour a big meal at the Dairy Queen, Dally explains that Cherry felt responsible for... (full context)
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Johnny announces that he thinks he and Ponyboy should turn themselves in to the police. Dally tries to convince him otherwise, saying that... (full context)
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...missing inside the church. Suspecting that their discarded cigarette butts may have started the fire, Ponyboy and Johnny dash into the burning building. They find the children and lift them one-by-one... (full context)
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Ponyboy wakes up in an ambulance with Jerry Wood, a teacher and the bystander whom Ponyboy... (full context)
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Ponyboy suffered only minor burns, and is soon discharged from the hospital. He sits in the... (full context)
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Soon Sodapop and Darry arrive. Ponyboy and Soda hug. Darry stands apart, and Ponyboy sees that Darry is crying. Suddenly Ponyboy... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Ponyboy, Darry, and Sodapop wait in the hospital waiting room for news about Johnny and Dally.... (full context)
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The next morning, Ponyboy wakes up before his brothers and starts making breakfast. As he does, Two-Bit and Steve... (full context)
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With Sodapop and Darry now in the kitchen too, Ponyboy shares the news that on the previous night he had one of his recurring nightmares,... (full context)
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Ponyboy and Two-Bit go down to the Tasty Freeze to buy sodas. While there, the blue... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Two-Bit and Ponyboy go to the hospital. First, they visit Johnny, who is very weak. Johnny asks for... (full context)
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Ponyboy and Two-Bit next visit Dally. He is in good shape, but is unhappy that he'll... (full context)
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As they wait for a bus home, Two-Bit observes that Ponyboy looks pretty sick. Ponyboy asks him not to mention it to Darry, and Two-Bit agrees.... (full context)
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Ponyboy then tells Two-Bit that he has a bad feeling about the rumble. Two-Bit mocks Ponyboy... (full context)
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Cherry Valance is at the vacant lot in her Corvette when Two-Bit and Ponyboy arrive. She tells them that the Socs plan to play by greaser rules during the... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...Curtis brothers prepare for the rumble by putting on nice clothes and slicking their hair. Ponyboy, still feeling ill and out of it, takes five aspirin while no one's looking. (full context)
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Joined by Steve and Two-Bit, the Curtis brothers head to the rumble. Ponyboy still has a bad feeling about the rumble, and as they walk he thinks about... (full context)
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...find Tim Shepard's gang already there, along with another group from a suburb called Brumly. Ponyboy studies the boys from the other greaser gangs, and realizes that these boys are all... (full context)
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22 Socs arrive to fight the 20 greasers already there. As Ponyboy observes the Socs' preppy clothes, he reflects that their clean-cut looks mask some of the... (full context)
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The fight is brutal. Ponyboy suffers numerous injuries, and is about to pass out when he hears a voice yelling... (full context)
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Dally grabs Ponyboy and insists that they rush to the hospital to tell the news to Johnny, whose... (full context)
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As he drives, Dally says that if Ponyboy and Johnny just got tough like him, nothing could hurt them anymore. They would not... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Ponyboy wanders the hospital and then the streets. Eventually, a concerned stranger offers to drive him... (full context)
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...fights. But the police don't know the gun isn't loaded. They shoot Dally, killing him. Ponyboy realizes that Dally wanted to die. (full context)
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Ponyboy remembers all of the good things that Dally did to protect and help his fellow... (full context)
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Ponyboy wakes up at home. He learns from Darry and Sodapop that he suffered a concussion... (full context)
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Ponyboy also learns that Johnny left him his copy of Gone with the Wind, but the... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Ponyboy stays in bed for a week. Flipping through one of Sodapop's old yearbooks one day,... (full context)
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One day, Randy comes to visit Ponyboy. He says that he feels like he let down his father by his involvement with... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Ponyboy, however, suffers aftereffects from his concussion that give him balance and memory problems. In addition,... (full context)
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Ponyboy's English teacher offers him a deal: though his work for the semester merits a failing... (full context)
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At lunch that day, Ponyboy, Two-Bit, and Steve go to a neighborhood store for candy and soda. While there, three... (full context)
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That night, Ponyboy and Darry get into a shouting match over Ponyboy's unwritten essay and his recent lack... (full context)
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Ponyboy and Darry catch up with Sodapop in the park. Soda tells them that their fighting... (full context)
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Back at home, Ponyboy picks up Johnny's copy of Gone with the Wind while trying to write his essay.... (full context)