Ponyboy''s Journey, K. Johnson
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Conflict: Socs Vs. Greasers
Character: Johnny and Ponyboy
Setting: Environment Influencing Ponyboy's Life
The conflict between the Socs and the Greasers leads Ponyboy's views on the Socs to change. The conflict (Bob dying, and the Socs always jumping the Greasers) causes both sides to face difficulties. For example, Ponyboy sees that Bob's death affected everyone, he realized that the hoods aren't the only people with problems. On page 116, Randy explains to Pony that by being a Soc they got bored, never felt a sense of self-responsibility, "'If his old man had just belted him- just once, he might still be alive.'" Through this conflict, the different groups also showed compassion for each other (Cherry). Ponyboy saw that not all Socs were cold-hearted monsters, that they could want to do good, "...and would testify that the Socs were drunk and looking for a fight and that you fought back in self-defense." (86). As you can see, the conflict lead characters to act a certain way that influenced Ponyboy's perspective on the Socs.
In Johnny's efforts to save Ponyboy from the police, he ends up hurting him in the end. Take Windrixville for an example, if Johnny and Ponyboy had never fled town, they wouldn't have been at the church in the first place. Although Johnny thought he was protecting Pony from life in jail, fleeing town without anyone watching over them put Ponyboy in grave danger. The boys were severely burned in the fire, but aside from the heroic act, living in the church caused the boys to lose weight, and become starved. A time in the novel when we see this is on page 134, "' You've lost weight and you don't look so good, kid.'". They were malnourished, and all because Johnny was trying to protect his best friend. Another example of when Johnny hurt Ponyboy was after he died. Johnny meant so much to Pony, so the loss of Johnny weighed tremendously on him. He was so broken and distracted that he began to flunk school, "'You're failing this class right now,..'"( 169). By Johnny protecting Pony, he hurt him in the long run.
The environment in which Ponyboy grew up in affected his daily life and personality. He grew up having the "whole" world hate him, always having to watch his back, ready to fight at any time. He was influenced by the violence, having a short temper and having this idea in his head that he can just run away when things get rough. He never got the chance to be a normal kid, he always had to watch out for himself, for his brothers were always working, trying to make a living. He was exposed to so much violence, it shaped his whole life, ", and I lay limp, trying to clear my mind and keep from blacking out."(145). Not only did the violence shape him, but the lack of parental guidance also allowed him to be a reckless child. He ran away because he felt that no one loved him and that his own brother hated him. But, in reality, they loved him so much they gave up their future so he could stay in school. Darry worked so hard so that his family could have a future, "Darry didn't deserve to work like an old man when he was only twenty." (16). As you can see, the environment surrounding Ponyboy influenced his life so much, from the lack of parental guidance to the morals taught to him at a young age,he is who he is because of the East Side.
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