Six character traits for Johnny Cade?

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cldbentley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the first chapter of The Outsiders, Ponyboy describes the members of the gang, including Johnny Cade.  According to Ponyboy, Johnny is

...last and least.  If you can picture a little dark puppy that has been kicked too many times and is lost in a crowd of strangers, you'll have Johnny...He had a nervous, suspicious look in his eyes, and that beating he got from the Socs didn't help matters.  He was the gang's pet, everyone's kid brother.  His father was always beating him up, and his mother ignored him, except when she was hacked off at something, and then you could hear her yelling at him clear down at our house.  I think he hated that worse than getting whipped.  He would have run away a million times if we hadn't been there.  If it hadn't been for the gang, Johnny would never have known what love and affection are.

Based on this passage, the reader can label Johnny as nervous and suspicious. 

Later in the book, Johnny becomes defensive when he feels that Cherry Valance is judging Dally unfairly.  Because of this, Johnny can be considered to be loyal.  He is also honest; he does not deny that Dally is "tough," but explains that he is also "okay" and "a cool old guy."

When Ponyboy and Johnny go into hiding (after Bob's death), the reader realizes that Johnny is very clever.  It is his idea for himself and Ponyboy to cut their hair so no one is able to identify them. 

Finally, Johnny's decision to help Ponyboy rescue the children from the fire shows that he is very brave.  That characteristic is made even more evident when he risks his own safety to shove Ponyboy toward the church window.

deepjot24 | Student

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