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Johnny Cade's courageous act of entering the burning church to rescue the trapped children inside resulted in his devastating injuries and, eventually, his death. There can be little argument about the bravery of his act, and one could even argue that Johnny deserved further commendation for previously saving Ponyboy from drowning at the hands of the Socs. Johnny's death, combined with an unhappy young life in which he is abused by his parents and ruthlessly beaten by the Socs, makes for a classic tragic character--and a perfect example of someone deserving of a posthumous honor for his actions.
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