| Quote #1
I'm supposed to be smart; I make good grades and have a high IQ and everything, but I don't use my head. Besides, I like walking. (1.6)
Pony's pointing to a couple of different kinds of intelligence here – academic intelligence and common sense intelligence. He's trying to balance these two as he approaches his personal desires, including the desire to walk home (alone!) and to handle a range of social situations.
| Quote #2
Tough and Tuff are two different words. Tough is the same as rough; tuff means cool or sharp […] In our neighborhood both are compliments. (1.57).
Pony is also educating readers about his world, and his lessons include several insights into local slang. If you were writing about your world, are there any special words you'd want readers to know?
| Quote #3
But we just didn't have the money for him to go to college, even with the athletic scholarship he won. And now he didn't have time between jobs to even think about college. (1.81)
Money and time are big obstacles to Darry's education. In this novel, just because you're smart or talented doesn't mean you can get an education.