The Outsiders Questions and Answers
by S. E. Hinton

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Dally gives Ponyboy and Johnny advice to "lay low" in The Outsiders. Given what we know about him, why is it unlikely that he would suggest they turn themselves in, and what is it about his past that motivates him to tell them to run away?

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Dallas Winston has a greater hatred of the police than any of his other greaser pals. First arrested when he was ten years old, Dally has spent time in jail in both New York City and in Tulsa. He is proud of his large police file in Oklahoma, and he seems to enjoy breaking the law just for the fun of it. Like many of his friends, he doesn't believe that a greaser can get a fair shake with the local police, so it is no wonder that he suggests that Johnny and Pony "lay low" at his hideout in the deserted church on Jay Mountain. Pony and Johnny both know that "They put you in the electric chair for killing people," and Dally recognizes that the boys may have a chance to escape to Texas or elsewhere once things blow over and "I think it's clear." Dally has no problems when it comes to running away: His parents "don't give a hang whether I'm in jail or dead in a car wreck or drunk in the gutter," so it's easy for him to advise the boys about avoiding the urge to turn themselves in. He probably figures that a life on the run is better--at least for Johnny--than time spent in jail. He also realizes that

"... you get hardened in jail. I don't want that to happen to you. Like it happened to me."  (Chapter 6)

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