What is the personality of Johnny in “The Outsiders”?

Updated 21 March, 2024
Johnny Cade is a significant character in S.E. Hinton's novel "The Outsiders." Johnny is portrayed as a timid, sensitive, and insecure person who feels like an outcast in his own life. He's the youngest member of the Greasers gang and is frequently bullied by the Socs, the rival gang. He's also shown to be a loyal friend to the protagonist, Ponyboy, and has a good heart, despite the rough exterior he puts on.
Detailed answer:

In "The Outsiders," Johnny Cade is portrayed as a timid and vulnerable character who is constantly afraid of being attacked by the Socs, the rival gang of Greasers. His abusive home life and the constant bullying he faced from the Socs have left him with low self-esteem and a deep sense of worthlessness. Despite his insecurities, Johnny is deeply loyal to his friends and will go to great lengths to protect them. He is also compassionate and empathetic towards others, as evidenced by his concern for the children in the burning church.

Johnny's defining moment in the novel is when he kills Bob, a Soc who is attacking Ponyboy, in self-defense. This act of violence deeply affects Johnny, who is horrified by the fact that he has taken a life. However, it also marks a turning point in Johnny's personality, as he gains a newfound sense of confidence and self-assurance. He becomes more assertive and willing to stand up for himself and his friends, even in the face of danger.

As the novel progresses, Johnny's personality continues to evolve, and he becomes more and more determined to find meaning and purpose in his life. He even tells Ponyboy that he wants to "live right" and make something of himself, despite the many obstacles he faces. Ultimately, Johnny's tragic death at the end of the novel is a poignant reminder of the senseless violence and sense of loss that pervades the lives of the Greasers and the Socs alike.

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