Ponyboy Curtis in The Outsiders: Character Analysis & Quotes

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  • 0:04 Ponyboy Curtis
  • 1:08 The Loner
  • 1:50 Brothers
  • 2:09 Cherry Valance
  • 2:38 Dreams of a Better World
  • 3:22 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Ponyboy Curtis is the main character and narrator of the S. E. Hinton novel ''The Outsiders.'' In this lesson, we'll learn more about Ponyboy, his life, and his perspective on the East versus West Side struggle in the book.


Ponyboy Curtis, or Pony, is the narrator for the S.E. Hinton novel The Outsiders. Pony is the 14-year-old younger brother of Darry and Sodapop Curtis. Pony is being raised by his 20-year-old brother, Darry, after the death of his parents in an automobile accident. Ponyboy has two major conflicts in the story:

  • His brother Darry is inexperienced in the parenting role, which causes a lot of tension.
  • Ponyboy and his family are Greasers on the East Side of town, and are frequently harassed by the Socs on the West Side of town.

In this lesson, we'll learn more about Ponyboy and how these conflicts change him.

Ponyboy is not only younger than the other Greasers, but he is also small for his age. However, he has a decent physique and can do okay in a fair fight. Ponyboy has light-brown, almost red hair and greenish-gray eyes. Like the other Greasers, Ponyboy's hair is on the long side. It's squared off in the back and long in the front and on the sides. Typically, he wears the Greaser uniform: blue jeans, t-shirts, leather jackets, and sneakers or boots, with a cigarette in his hand.

The Loner

'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,' writes Ponyboy. Ponyboy prefers to do things, like going to movies and reading books, that he can do alone, but being alone can be dangerous for a Greaser. On the way home from a movie, he gets jumped by a group of Socs.

Pony is extremely intelligent and even skipped a grade in school, which means he was put into advanced classes with a lot of Socs. Even though he's smart, he lacks common sense, which contributes to his problems with Darry. Knowing that he is only accepted in the group because of his brothers, Ponyboy has learned to keep his mouth shut. Only Soda and Cherry can get him talking.


Pony can't he get along with Darry. Why? His middle brother, Sodapop, is Pony's favorite person in the world, but he has a hard time getting along with Darry. By the end of the story, Pony has come to realize that when Darry is hard on him, it's not because he doesn't want him around but because he worries about him and wants to keep the family together.

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