“Well I won’t. But I gotta do something. It seems like there’s gotta be someplace without greasers or Socs, with just people. Plain, ordinary people.”
After the incident at the drive-in, Johnny and Ponyboy are both growing weary of the constant tension between the greasers and the Socs. Johnny threatens to commit suicide, which frightens Ponyboy. Johnny’s statement shows just how much the daily threat of violence affects him and the way he sees the world. He desperately wants to find a world without class division, a world where he can feel peace.
“Easy, Ponyboy,” he said softly, “we’ll be okay.”
After Darry hits Ponyboy out of frustration, Ponyboy comes to Johnny and tells him they’re running away. Notably, Johnny asks no questions—he simply follows Ponyboy. Johnny sits beside Ponyboy and pats him gently as Ponyboy weeps. In this moment, Johnny shows a tender, sensitive, and emotional side, as well as the depth of friendship and loyalty he gives to and shares with Ponyboy
“I think I like it better when the old man’s hittin’ me.” Johnny sighed. “At least then I know he knows who I am.”
Johnny offers this bit of twisted logic in an attempt to comfort Ponyboy who has been hit by Darry. Johnny’s acceptance of family violence reveals how violence distorts a person’s reality and view of self. Johnny’s relationship with his father has turned his view of violence upside down.
“Would you rather have me living in hide-outs for the rest of my life, always on the run?” Johnny asked seriously.
Johnny poses this question to Dally as a way of explaining why he wants to confess to murdering Bob. Dally, having been to jail, doesn’t want to see Johnny suffer the same fate. Dally wants to protect Johnny’s innocence. Johnny assumes Dally doesn’t want to see him running forever. However, if Dally had replied yes to Johnny’s question, Johnny would have gone into hiding. In Johnny’s violent world, a volatile greaser like Dally is the best father figure he has.
I said I don’t want to see her…tell her to leave me alone. For once.
In this painfully sad moment as he lies dying in the hospital, Johnny says he doesn’t want to see his mother. Johnny wants peace. In his final living hours, Johnny finally finds a way to determine the parameters of his own life.