How do Johnny and Dallas show how important friendship is in The Outsiders?

Johnny and Dallas show how important friendship is in The Outsiders when they help one another. When Johnny gallantly tells Dally to leave the Soc girls alone, Dally does not hit Johnny, and Johnny defends Dally to the girls. When the Socs beat Ponyboy up, Johnny kills one of them because they would have drowned Ponyboy. When Johnny and Ponyboy hide out in the church, it is Dally who comes to help them and get them food.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Johnny and Dallas show how important friendship is when they each stand up for and support their friends at different times in the novel. They defend their friends and help them when they are in trouble. They also do not turn on one another. For example, early in the story, Johnny and Ponyboy meet the two Soc girls at the movies. The girls are attractive, and Dally is a wise guy with them, speaking to them using vulgarisms that they do not like.

Johnny tells Dally to leave the girls alone. It is surprising because Johnny is generally so timid, Dally is probably the toughest greaser among them, and, moreover, Dally and Johnny are very close. Although Dally is probably taken aback by Johnny’s gallant defense of the two Soc girls, he leaves Johnny alone. Ponyboy even notes that had anyone else spoken up to Dally the way Johnny did, Dally would have gotten aggressive.

Dallas scowled for a second. If it had been me, or Two-Bit, or Soda or Steve, or anyone but Johnny, Dally would have flattened him without a moment's hesitation...But Johnny was the gang's pet, and Dally just couldn't hit him. He was Dally's pet, too.

After Dally leaves and even though Johnny has stepped in to protect the girls, he still feels the need to defend his friend and tells them that Dally's okay, saying, "He's tough, but he's a cool old guy." Ponyboy notes:

You take up for your buddies, no matter what they do. When you're a gang, you stick up for the members. If you don't stickup for them, stick together, make like brothers, it isn't a gang any more. It's a pack.

Dally and Johnny are close, which is made clear when Ponyboy tells the story of a girl named Sylvia who tried to get close to Johnny, but Johnny was advised to steer clear of her. The point of the story is that Johnny was vulnerable because “Dallas was in reform school” and not there to protect Johnny.

When the Socs find Ponyboy and Johnny and beat Ponyboy up, Johnny pulls his knife and kills one of the Socs. He tells Ponyboy:

I had to. They were drowning you, Pony. They might have killed you. And they had a blade...they were gonna beat me up....

Then, when Johnny and Ponyboy hide out in the church, it is Dally who comes to help them and get them food.

"Hey, Ponyboy!" He grinned down at me. "Or should I say Sleeping Beauty?"

I never thought I'd live to see the day when I would be so glad to see Dally Winston, but right then he meant one thing: contact with the outside world.

“Goshamighty, boys, ain't you been eatin' anything?"

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team