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Johnny Cade is the smallest of the greaser gang in S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders. Johnny comes from an unhappy household, where his parents fight all the time; Johnny is both verbally and physically abused, so he spends as much time away from his home as possible. He is also a target of the Socs, and Johnny takes a severe beating from Bob Sheldon--the Soc with the rings--who he later kills in the park. Although not good in school, Johnny is introspective and loves to read. He finally gets to complete Gone with the Wind while in hiding at the church on Jay Mountain; he also explains the Robert Frost poem, "Nothing Gold Can Stay," to Pony. Because of the beatings he has taken, Johnny is scared most of the time, and he never walks alone; he also carries a knife for protection, and he finally uses it to protect Pony in the park. He is the pet of all the greaser boys and everyone's best friend--especially to Dallas Winston and Pony. After Johnny is injured, the boys tell him that they can't go on without him.
Sodapop is the happy-go-lucky middle brother of the Curtis family. Pony describes him as having movie star good looks, and Cherry Valance mentions how cute he is. Soda has dropped out of school and works at a gas station. He is in love with his girlfriend, Sandy, who he hopes to marry. Soda steps in to defend Pony whenever he and Darry argue, though we find later in the story that his brothers' constant conflict affects him more than anyone knows. Soda and Darry are close, however; Soda is the only one who is able to kid Darry without worrying about retaliation, and he gives his older brother back rubs after hard days at work. Soda likes to fight more than Pony or Darry, and he looks forward to the rumble.
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