Darry and Sodapop Curtis are Ponyboy's older brothers who, along with being greasers, are adjusting to life on their own. Darry has taken over the responsibility of guardianship, forfeiting college and working to enable the three of them to stay together. Soda, never very good in school, has dropped out at age 16 and is working to help support the family.
Both boys focus on the future of Ponyboy; ensuring his success is the driving force of the family.
Perspective is a very important issue that runs throughout this novel. Being an outsider is a matter of perspective. The brothers' relationships are viewed differently according to each other's perspective. Pony resents Darry's constant nagging and discipline. But Darry is imposing these rules out of concern for Pony's well-being. Pony loves Soda and is thankful for him: "Soda always takes up for me." But he is unaware that the strain of being the one in the middle is almost too much for Soda: "@'Golly, you two, it's bad enough having to listen to it, but when you start trying to get me to take sides. . . .' Tears welled up in his eyes, 'We're all we've got left.'"