Each of the main characters in the novel feels that they have to appear tough to survive. They each have unique difficulties and ways to show courage.
Darrell Curtis has to support his two brothers, Soda and Ponyboy, after the death of their parents. He has given up on his own promising scholarship opportunities to work hard and protect his family. He is hard on Ponyboy, but only as he is fiercely protective. He does not express his regrets or fears to his brothers as he is the parent and the force behind the family.
Dallas Winston hides his caring nature behind the thuggish exterior of a hoodlum. He sees Johnny as very like himself, but perhaps more capable of learning to survive under his tutelage. Dallas converts emotion in to aggression. He accepts the night of questioning after the death od Bob, and misleads the police to protect Johnny.
Sodapop shows a great deal of mental courage as he deals with the break up of his relationship with Sandy, whom he was to marry. It is implied that Sandy is pregnant when she leaves, and his returned letters suggest that he is not the father. He deals with this situation alone, in the midst of the other events, and his stoicism is admirable.