How are Dally and Johnny different in chapter 6?

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In The Outsiders, Dally (Dallas) is usually portrayed as a hardened gang member, whereas Johnny is weak and sometimes frightened. In Chapter 6, Dally is still in a leadership role but seems more compassionate, especially in regard to Johnny’s plan to go home and then to the police. He warns Johnny, however, that things will be hard on him because he is one of the “greasers.”

Although Johnny claims to have decided he will turn himself in, he still seems weak and indecisive. He wants to know about his abusive parents and seems unsuspecting about the true rigors of incarceration. Dally, who has been in jail before, tells Johnny how that experience “hardened” him. He feels that Johnny is clinging to the past when he wonders about his parents, rather than accepting his current reality. While his affection for Johnny emerges, the initial appearance is one of anger which he then takes time to dispel.

After they reach the church and see it is on fire, Johnny shows a different side. Acting the hero—though partly out of guilt for probably starting the fire—he goes inside and rescues some children who were trapped inside. In turn, Dally keeps Ponyboy from re-entering and then goes after Johnny. In the latter regard, the two boys are similar, although Johnny was the first to brave the flames. It also seems that Johnny is seriously injured, but Dally is not.

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