Ponyboy is faced with a number of conflicts throughout the novel. The most obvious conflict is the one between him and his older brother Darry, who after their parents’ death, took over as the family’s breadwinner and guardian to Ponyboy and Soda. Darry always reprimands Ponyboy whenever he is on the wrong but Ponyboy thinks that Darry is too harsh on him and does not love him like he does Sodapop. Ponyboy writes, “…Me and Darry just didn’t dig each other. I never could please him. He would have hollered at me for carrying a blade if I had carried one. If I brought home B’s, he wanted A’s, and if I got A’s, he wanted to make sure they stayed A’s. .
.He never hollered at Sodapop, not even when Sodapop dropped out of school or got tickets for speeding. He just hollered at me.” Ponyboy is also faced with conflict after Johnny’s death.
For a while, he refuses to acknowledge that Johnny is dead and is so disoriented that he believes he is the one that killed Bob. When Randy visits Ponyboy’s home, he upsets Ponyboy by mentioning that Johnny, Bob’s killer, would have been in trouble with the law were he alive. Ponyboy objects and says, “I had the knife.
I killed Bob.” The turmoil he undergoes is his way of coping with the grief. The third conflict Ponyboy faces is the society’s perception of the greasers. Everybody thinks that they are juvenile and that no good can come out of them. The greasers are judged harshly simply because of their social economic status and face prejudice from all directions.
Nobody cares to understand the hardships they undergo on a daily basis. Ponyboy discovers that there is no difference between them and the Socs and he wants to tell the greasers side of the story and hopes that they would be understood better. In the last paragraph of the book, Ponyboy writes, “…And I decided I could tell people, beginning with my English teacher…”