Ponyboy Johnny and Dally a Hero

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 604 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Mar 19, 2024

Words: 604|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Mar 19, 2024

Table of contents

  1. 1. Ponyboy: The Sensitive Observer
  2. a. Sensitivity and Empathy:
    b. Intellectual Curiosity:
  3. 2. Johnny: The Sacrificial Hero
  4. a. Protectiveness:
    b. Redemption:
  5. 3. Dally: The Tragic Hero
  6. a. Loyalty:
    b. Self-Destruction:

In S.E. Hinton's coming-of-age novel, The Outsiders, the characters Ponyboy, Johnny, and Dally emerge as unlikely heroes. Set against the backdrop of gang violence and social class divisions, these three individuals navigate the complexities of adolescence while displaying acts of selflessness and courage. This essay will explore the heroic qualities exhibited by Ponyboy, Johnny, and Dally, and how their actions challenge traditional notions of heroism. By delving into their character development and examining pivotal moments in the novel, we will uncover the deeper meanings behind their heroism and the impact it has on both themselves and the society they inhabit.

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1. Ponyboy: The Sensitive Observer

Ponyboy Curtis, the novel's protagonist, may not possess the conventional physical strength associated with heroes. However, his role as a sensitive observer allows him to understand the complexities of human nature and challenge societal expectations. Despite his troubled upbringing, Ponyboy exhibits resilience and empathy, making him an unlikely hero.

a. Sensitivity and Empathy:

Ponyboy's ability to empathize with others, such as his understanding of Johnny's abusive home life, showcases his heroic qualities. Through his emotional intelligence, he not only supports his friends but also challenges the stereotypes placed upon individuals within their social group.

b. Intellectual Curiosity:

Ponyboy's love for literature and his desire to understand the world beyond his immediate surroundings demonstrate his intellectual curiosity. This thirst for knowledge allows him to question the divisions between social classes and challenge the status quo.

2. Johnny: The Sacrificial Hero

Johnny Cade, a member of Ponyboy's gang, experiences a transformation from a timid and fearful young man to a selfless hero. Despite his troubled past, Johnny's actions throughout the novel showcase his willingness to sacrifice himself for the well-being of others.

a. Protectiveness:

Johnny's protective nature towards Ponyboy is evident from the beginning of the novel. His willingness to confront a group of Socs to save Ponyboy's life demonstrates his heroism. His actions highlight the lengths to which he is willing to go to ensure the safety of his friends.

b. Redemption:

Johnny's heroic act of saving the children trapped in the burning church acts as a catalyst for his redemption. By risking his own life to rescue others, he not only proves his bravery but also challenges the notion that heroism is solely measured by physical strength.

3. Dally: The Tragic Hero

Dallas Winston, known as Dally, is often portrayed as the toughest member of the gang. However, his heroism lies in his fierce loyalty and his willingness to take responsibility for his actions. Dally's character arc follows a tragic path, highlighting the complexities of heroism and the consequences of a life steeped in violence.

a. Loyalty:

Dally's loyalty towards his friends is unwavering, even when faced with dire circumstances. His willingness to risk everything to save Johnny demonstrates his heroic nature, despite his rough exterior.

b. Self-Destruction:

Dally's tragic end, where he ultimately takes his own life, raises questions about the nature of heroism and the consequences of a life filled with violence. His demise serves as a reminder that heroism can have a dark side and that true heroes are not immune to the burdens they bear.

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The characters of Ponyboy, Johnny, and Dally in The Outsiders challenge traditional notions of heroism. Through their unique qualities and actions, they demonstrate that heroism is not solely defined by physical strength or traditional heroic traits. Ponyboy's sensitivity and empathy, Johnny's sacrifice, and Dally's loyalty and self-destruction all contribute to a nuanced portrayal of heroism. These characters teach us that heroism can be found within the most unlikely individuals and that true heroes are not without their flaws. By redefining heroism, The Outsiders invites readers to reconsider their preconceived notions and recognize the heroic potential within themselves and others.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Ponyboy Johnny And Dally A Hero. (2024, March 19). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 19, 2024, from
“Ponyboy Johnny And Dally A Hero.” GradesFixer, 19 Mar. 2024,
Ponyboy Johnny And Dally A Hero. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 19 Jul. 2024].
Ponyboy Johnny And Dally A Hero [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 19 [cited 2024 Jul 19]. Available from:
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