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Comparing And Contrasting Johnny And Dally

918 words - 4 pages

How can a kind, innocent boy have anything in common with a mean, tough hoodlum? How can two greasers in the same gang have so many disparate characteristics? Dallas Winston and Johnny Cade from S. E. Hinton’s novel The Outsiders are very good examples of foils who have many similarities and differences.
Johnny and Dally share compelling similarities. For example, they both have inattentive and vituperative parents. Dally used to live in New York and often got into gang fights. This shows that his parents don’t keep a well watch out for him. He also has a diverse criminal record. Ponyboy states: “he had been arrested, he got drunk, he rode in rodeos, lied, cheated, stole, rolled drunks, jumped small kids - he did everything” (11). If Dally’s parents paid more attention to him, he wouldn’t be capable of getting into so much trouble. Ponyboy also claims that Dally “lived wherever he could” (105). This is because he doesn’t want to live with his parents who abuse him. Dally’s parents clearly aren’t the affectionate parents that other kids have. Similarly, Johnny’s parents are brutal and lackadaisical. Johnny asserts “‘I walk in that house, and nobody says anything. I walk out, and nobody says anything. I stay away all night, and nobody notices’” (51). This confirms that Johnny’s parents pay no attention to him. Johnny hates his parents because of this. Two-Bit says to Johnny’s mother “‘no wonder he hates your guts’” (123). Obviously Johnny has said awful things about his parents because they are abusive. Ponyboy also says about Johnny that “his father was always beating him up, and his mother ignored him” (12). Dally and Johnny both live in toxic home environments. Another way that Dallas and Johnny are similar is that they are both gallant. Ponyboy converses with Jerry: “‘Dallas hit me. How come?’ ‘Because your back was in flames, that’s why’” (94). This shows that Dally tried to save Ponyboy from the fire and hurt himself to do it. Jerry also tells Ponyboy: “‘We think the tow-headed kid [Dally] is going to be all right. He burned one arm pretty badly, though, trying to drag the other kid out the window’” (95). This explains that Dally hurt his arm to help someone else out the window. This shows Dally’s heroism and nobility. Correspondingly, Johnny is very plucky and valiant. Ponyboy tells us “I caught one quick look at his [Johnny’s] face; it was red-marked from falling embers and sweat-streaked, but he grinned at me. He wasn’t scared either” (92). This demonstrates his valor because in a time of crisis and peril, Johnny isn’t afraid. Thus, Dally and Johnny are affiliated in the way that they...

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