How do we know Dally felt partially responsible for Johnny's fate? What advice did Dally give to Ponyboy on the way to the hospital after the rumble?

Expert Answers info

Skye O'Hara eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write394 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Early in The Outsiders, there is evidence that Dally seems to view Johnny differently than the other boys. For example, Johnny is able to tell Dally to leave Cherry alone during a movie. Ponyboy considers how no one else could have made such a comment to Dally. Ponyboy believes that Johnny is "Dally's pet." Later in the story, as Ponyboy, Johnny, and Dally are driving back to the church, it becomes evident that Dally cares a great deal for Johnny. Dally shares that he doesn't want Johnny to become "hardened" like himself. Johnny respects Dally and will do whatever Dally tells him to do.

After the rumble, Dally says he was wrong to not want Johnny to be like him. He says, "If he'd been like me he'd never have been in this mess." By making this comment, it becomes clear that Dally feels responsible for Johnny being hurt. Because Dally also cares about Ponyboy, he offers advice when he says, "You'd better wise up, Pony . . . you get tough like me and you don't get hurt." Dally believes that if Ponyboy can make himself care less about other people, then he, unlike Johnny, will remain safe.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

ladyvols1 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write1,485 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

In chapter nine of "The Outsiders," Dallas is driving to the hospital with Ponyboy.  They are on their way to see Johnny and tell him that they had run the Socs out of the Greasers territory.  Dallas tells Johnny that he was wrong to try and keep Johnny out of trouble.  He was wrong not to teach Johnny to be hard like him.  Dallas says that if he had made Johnny act more like him that he never would have gone into the church to begin with. 

Dallas tells Ponyboy not to get attatched to anyone and not to trust anyone.  He said,

"get tough like me and you don't get hurt. You look out for yourself and nothin' can touch you..."

check Approved by eNotes Editorial



bekkygirl1 | Student

Dallas told Johnny that he didn't want him to fight. When he learns Johnny is dying, he rants to a half-dead Ponyboy that if Johnny had gotten tough, nothing would hurt him. When Johnny died, overcome with grief and guilt, Dally commits suicide by using an empty gun as a bluff when he knocks off a grocery store and is being chased. Johnny was the only thing Dally loved. :)

check Approved by eNotes Editorial