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The Three Life Lessons Learned by Ponyboy in The Outsiders, a Novel by S. E. Hinton

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E. Hinton’s The Outsiders is a coming-of-age novel for the protagonist and narrator Ponyboy Curtis. Ponyboy learns many life lessons throughout the novel, but there are three that stand out in particular.

In the beginning of the book Ponyboy he learns that everyone has their own set of problems even if they have money. Cherry Valance told Ponyboy, “I bet you think Socs have it made. The rich kids, the West-side Socs. I’ll tell you something, Ponyboy, and it may come as a surprise. We have troubles you never even heard of.” Then Ponyboy responds with, “I believe you.”

Cherry Valance was able to show that Socs do have problems no matter how much money they have. She told Ponyboy they everyone has it “rough.” Cherry Valance is a Soc herself, so she wanted Ponyboy to know that she does not have a perfect life like he used to believe. This life lesson was important for Ponyboy to learn especially because of the neighborhood that he lives in.

In the middle of the book Ponyboy learns another life lesson. He learns that he should not be fighting or he might end up as another future convict. Ponyboy thought to himself before the rumble against the Socs began,” He shouldn’t be here, I thought suddenly. I shouldn’t be here….

We’re greasers, but not hoods and we don’t belong with this bunch of future convicts. We could end up like them, I thought.” Ponyboy had this realization just seconds before the rumble began against the Socs began after Johnny’s death. He realizes that he does not want to be a future convict like some of the other boys at the rumble. What Ponyboy sees before the rumble is that the young hoods in that rumble would only become older hoods if they keep the same behavior. This is just one of the many life lessons that Ponyboy learns in The Outsiders.

Another life lesson that Pony learns toward the middle of the book is that you shouldn’t hate or dislike anyone based on how much money they have or their family has. Ponyboy had another thought before the rumble against the Socs began, “Even I could feel their hatred….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 Westside.

They shouldn’t hate each other… I don’t hate the Socs anymore…they shouldn’t hate…” Ponyboy sees the foolishness of the Socs and the Greasers everlasting hatred toward each other. He realizes that most of the problems between the Greasers and the Socs stem from money. Ponyboy will remember this life lesson for as long as he lives.

In conclusion, Ponyboy leams many life lessons throughout the book The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. Most of the life lessons that Ponyboy learns involve the social and economic situations of the people around him. He learns that everyone has problems, you do not want to be just another hood, and not to hate anyone because of how much money they have.

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The Three Life Lessons Learned by Ponyboy in The Outsiders, a Novel by S. E. Hinton. (2022, Dec 10). Retrieved from

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