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Character Analysis of Dallas Winston in The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

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Character Analysis of Dallas Winston in The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton essay

Dallas Winston is the most compelling character in The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton because of his strong character, his bravery, and his relationship with his friend. Violence suppressed in the protected walls of a house, murder carried out in the middle of the night, busted pop bottles, burned churches; all of this and more happens in The Outsiders written by S. E. Hinton, where there are many tough guys and the toughest one of them, is Dallas Winston. The reputation Dallas (nicknamed, Dally) owns presents him as a tough, strong, and violent character, but despite all these characteristics, he cares about his friends and would be ready to do anything for them. Hinton first introduces him as a “Don’t mess with me” type of guy, but as the story advances, he is exposed as much more of an empathetic character, even if he only shows it to a few near him.

Dallas Winston is strongest of the Greasers and the toughest by far, but had a rough past and made him what he became. Dally is tougher than nails, is what they say, not hated but feared, and full of hatred for those who wronged him. The protagonist of the story, Ponyboy narrates, “His eyes were blue, blazing ice, cold with hatred for the whole world.” Physically, he is distinctive. Both his looks and personality are described in animal metaphors. “He had an elfish face, with high cheekbones and a pointed chin, small, sharp animal teeth, and ears like a lynx.” This description also hints at Dally’s unpredictability and roughness. The reader gets the impression that Dally is not someone you want to mess with. He is street-smart and independent, and he can handle himself. He has had a difficult life, and it shows in his actions. As the story starts, Ponyboy is weary of Dallas. He is aware that he “hated to do things the legal way”. This makes him anxious around him. I didn’t like him, but he was smart and you had to respect him.

He had a rough past and his record is far from clean. Before Dally met the Greasers “Dally has spent three years on the wild side of New York and had been arrested at the age of ten. He was tougher than the rest of us – tougher, colder, meaner.” His reputation is those of gagsters and one would not like to be in the same room as him for too long. His rough past and hard life have not much improved since when he was a child. One factor in his life that has improved is his relationship with his friends. He has a soft spot for his friends and is loyal to the greasers. He is different from his day to day behavior and just a few selective knows about him. Through Dallas, Hinton tried to indicate that there are people in this world who differ from what they look like and what they expose themselves to the world.

Dally was not just always simply cruel, rude, or violent, but also very brave. He would do anything for his friend and has proven it. When the church burned, Ponyboy and Johnny saved all the trapped children inside it but they got stuck inside when the church was about to breakdown. Dally was standing there, and when he saw me he screamed, “For Pete’s sake, get outa there! That roofs gonna cave in any minute.” Without thinking, Dally recklessly put his life at risk and rescued his friends from the collapse, knowing the fact the roof was about fall, and he could have died. Later, one of the nurses described the events as “First you and the black haired kid climbing in that window, and then the tough-looking kid going back in to save him. Mrs. O’Briant and I think you were sent from straight from heaven. Or are you just professional heroes or something?”. Dally always acts like he does not care about anyone else but after this incident, he proved that most hostile and lonely people are able of doing the kindest acts. Hinton exposes another side of Dally, which shows that anyone is capable of doing significant acts. People have a hidden side which could be the opposite of what they show of themselves to the world.

As much as Dally seems tough on the outside, he is more dependent on his friends on the inside. Once Dally said, “my old man don’t give a hang whether I’m in jail or dead in a car wreck or drunk in the gutter.” His friends were all he had since his parents did not much care about him. Dally was close to one person, Johnny. He loved him like a brother and probably the only one he ever loved. When Johnny’s injuries led to his death, Dally did not take it well. Whirling suddenly, he slammed back against the wall. His face contracted in agony, and sweat streamed down his face ‘Oh, damnit, Johnny, don’t die, please don’t die…’. After Ponyboy told everyone what happened, he said to himself, “I wondered. Dally is tougher than I am. Why can I take it when Dally can’t? And then I knew. Johnny was the only thing Dally loved. And now Johnny was gone.” Dally was devastated and thought he had no reason to live anymore. He robbed a store and purposely got shot by the police by making them think he was going to shoot someone but was not. He ended his suffering through violence, the only thing he believed. He showed the world what he wanted them to see him as, not a week person who could not take his friends’ death and killed himself. His character was revealed over time, which proves you can never know anyone until he shows you what they are, or they show you what they want you to see them as.

Dallas Winston is a lot more capable of strong feeling and good acts. He was called cold-hearted his whole life but then he surprised everyone by saving Ponyboy and Johnny from the burning church. Dally shows a softer side when Johnny dies. Frustrated and grieving, he robs a grocery store and goes on the run. When the cops find him, he raises a gun so that they shoot him. He commits suicide by cop. The character of Dally goes a long way in establishing one of the major themes of the book you can’t judge people by the way they look. Dally seems tough and mean, and he is. Yet under that rough exterior he also has a good heart.

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Character Analysis Of Dallas Winston In The Outsiders By S. E. Hinton. (2022, May 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 9, 2022, from
“Character Analysis Of Dallas Winston In The Outsiders By S. E. Hinton.” GradesFixer, 11 May 2022,
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