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Do you think Dally's parents have influenced the way he is (his personality)? The...
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High School Teacher
Dallas Winston's personality has definitely been influenced by his parents or, more specifically, the lack of parenting in his life. This fact is made very clear in Chapter 6 of The Outsiders, a classic novel written by S.E. Hinton.
Although Dally says that his "old man don't give a hang whether [he's] in jail or dead in a car wreck or drunk in the gutter. That don't bother [him] none," he obviously truly cares very much that his father does not care about him. Otherwise, Dally would not bring up the matter when Johnny Cade is hurt by his parents' failure to ask about him; Dally sympathizes with Johnny's feelings and wants to protect him from the hurt that Dally himself has had a great deal of experience with.
Ponyboy Curtis has always considered Dally to be strong and believes that Dally "meant it when he said he didn't care about his parents." Until Chapter 6, Ponyboy was unable to recognize the hurt that Dally had gone through, which caused him to have to become hardened to protect himself. Dally's pain is also the reason he cares so much for Johnny and wants so badly to keep him from being hurt.
"Johnny," Dally said in a pleading, high voice, using a tone I had never heard from him before, "Johnny, I ain't mad at you. I just don't want you to get hurt. You don't know what a few monts in jail can do to you. Oh, blast it, Johnny...you get hardened in jail. I don't want that to happen to you. Like it happened to me..."
...I felt my eyes getting round. Dally never talked like that. Never. Dally didn't give a Yankee dime about anyone but himself, and he was cold and hard and mean...And I suddenly thought of Dally...in jail at the age of ten...Dally growing up in the streets...
If Dally had had any parenting or been shown kindness by anyone (before the Greasers), he probably would not have ended up in jail at the age of ten. If he had not been forced to live on the streets, he probably could have allowed himself to be softer; he would not have had to become hard and harsh in order to survive.
Posted by cldbentley on November 29, 2011 at 10:46 PM (Answer #1)
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