How would you explain the characteristics of Johnny from The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton? Provide 5 words to describe Johnny and give 3 examples from the novel for each word.

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Johnny is scared. After he is beaten up by the Socs, "Johnny was scared of his own shadow" (5). He is later described in the following way: "He had a nervous, suspicious look in his eyes, and that beating he got from the Socs didn't help matters" (11). When Two-Bit surprises Ponyboy and Johnny at the movies, Johnny turns white with fear (25).

Johnny is also vulnerable. Hinton writes of him, "If you can picture a little dark puppy that has been kicked too many times and is lost in a crowd of strangers, you'll have Johnny" (11). His father's abuse has left him needy. Hinton also says, "He was the youngest, next to me, smaller than the rest, with a slight build" (11). Johnny is young and slight, making him vulnerable. He is also described as the "gang's pet, everyone's kid brother" (11) because he is someone who clearly needs affection. 

Johnny is also shy. When he sits at the movie with girls, he only says, "Hi" (22). Hinton writes, "Johnny was always nervous around strangers" (22). She also writes, "Johnny couldn't say 'Boo' to a goose" (22). 

Johnny is also embarrassed easily. When he praises Cherry for defending herself in front of Dally, he forces himself to grin (23). His ears also turn red (23). It's very difficult for him to stand up against Dally when he continues to talk to girls who are not interested in him (23).

Finally, Johnny is loyal. Hinton writes, "He stuck up for the gang and kept his mouth shut good around cops" (30). We also know "Johnny worshipped the ground Dallas walked on" (23). His loyalty to the gang is what prevents him from running away. As Hinton writes, "He would have run away a million times if we hadn't been there" (11).

melkoosmann eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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grandiflora | Student

He is sensitive, caring, brave, quiet, and unselfish