How did Ponyboy Change in the Outsiders: Transformative Changes

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Updated: Sep 02, 2023
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Have you or your friend ever had a near-death experience? Did that change you? In The Outsiders, a novel written by S.E Hinton, Ponyboy Curtis did, and this is how. His parents died in a car accident just before The Outsider’s story takes place. He lives with his oldest brother, Darry, who is 20 years old, and has custody of him and his other brother, Sodapop, who is 16.

The Catalyst: A Near-Death Experience and Loss

Ponyboy is smart, but Darry thinks Ponyboy lacks good decision-making skills.

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Pony agrees with this. He is smart in school, but out of school, he doesn’t think. These occasions get Pony into trouble that he could avoid. Ponyboy learns that his behavior impacts others, and his maturity leads to the telling of The Outsider’s story.

He and the brothers are greasers, a term that refers to the people on the poor side of town. They are known for their long, greased hair. Pony has long dark brown hair and green eyes but doesn’t carry a switchblade like his brothers. This tells us he doesn’t want to actually hurt anyone. The brothers also belong to a small, tightly-knit neighborhood gang. Pony explains, ‘There are just small bunches of friends who stick together, and the warfare is between the social classes.’ Pony is the youngest member of their gang, and the other gang members represent extended family members to him. He is able to find security in his friendships with them, and they help fill the void created by his parents’ deaths.

Ponyboy narrates the novel, and this narration is almost a coping method for him. The reader is able to see the changes in Pony’s viewpoints as he is dealing with many issues that are common in an adult’s life. The most powerful issue is that life is not fair. From the deaths of his parents to the economic conditions that cast them as greasers to the deaths of his friends, life is not fair to Ponyboy. This causes him to change quite a bit.


During this two-week period, Pony has to deal with three deaths — two greasers, Johnny, his friend Dally, a “hood” who treated him nice, and one from the rival gang, the Socs. The Socs, short for Socials, are the ‘West-side rich kids.’ By realizing that death at a young age is unfair for all of them, Pony is able to realize that life is not for granted.


  1. “Stay Gold” by Tobly McSmith 

  2. “The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success” by William N. Thorndike

  3. “Greasy Lake and Other Stories” by T.C. Boyle 

  4. “Taming the Star Runner” by S.E. Hinton

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How Did Ponyboy Change in the Outsiders: Transformative Changes. (2023, Sep 02). Retrieved from