The Outsiders Questions and Answers
by S. E. Hinton

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How is Dally considered a hero in The Outsiders?  

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Dally has a reputation for being the toughest, meanest Greaser in the entire group. He comes from a broken home and even served time in prison for a serious crime. Throughout the majority of the novel, Ponyboy fears and dislikes Dallas Winston because of his controversial, callous personality. However, Dally helps Ponyboy and Johnny escape from town by giving them money, clothes, and directions to leave the city. While they hide out in an abandoned church in Windrixville, Johnny explains how Dally once took the blame for something Two-Bit did and was willing to get arrested to save his friend. This is the initial moment that Ponyboy realizes Johnny's "hero-worship" for Dally and recognizes his gallant personality. 

Later on, Dally arrives to visit the boys in Windrixville, and they return from Dairy Queen to discover the abandoned church is on fire with children inside. Ponyboy and Johnny immediately enter the burning building and begin throwing kids out the windows to safety. After Johnny shoves Ponyboy out of the burning church, Ponyboy attempts to run back into the building and gets knocked out by Dally. Dally then runs into the church and carries Johnny's body to safety. Dally is considered a hero for risking his life to save Ponyboy and Johnny during the church fire.

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The papers made Dally a hero for saving Johnny in the incident with the fire.

When Johnny and Ponyboy rescue the kids from the fire in the abandoned church where they are hanging out, Dally rescues Johnny.  Later the papers describe them as juvenile delinquents turned heroes, and none of them are happy out it.  Two-bit says that they were always heroes, and Dally does not want to be called a hero at all.

For once, there weren't any charges against Dally, and I knew he'd be mad because the paper made him out a hero for saving Johnny and didn't say much about his police record, which he was kind of proud of. (ch 7, p. 107)

Unfortunately, Johnny does not survive.  He succumbs to his injuries in the hospital and dies.  Ponyboy returns to school, where some people respect what he and his friends have done, and others give him a wide berth.  Dally eventually commits suicide by cop out of grief when Johnny dies. 

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ik9744 | Student

Dally Winston would be consider as a hero anytime and anywhere! There are multiple ways to consider him a hero that likes to cause trouble... First he saved Ponyboy's life multiple times. He gave him the jacket that prevented his back from catching on fire, whilst knocking the fire out on his back. After Pony was knock unconscious Dally Winston ran inside the building and saved Johnny from being burnt to death that second. Unfortunetly Johnny still couldn't survive, but on the other hand that made Johnny live at least one week.

Short Answer:

Saved Ponyboy from the fire by giving him the jacket. Knocked the fire from Pony's back. Lastly pulled Johnny out of the burning building.