The Outsiders is a novel that is primarily based upon the strength of its characters. The characters of Dally Winston and Darry are similar in that they are both characterized as being extremely strong figures. They overcome their surroundings and never let their situation get the better of them. Ponyboy looks up to his older brother Darry as is seen by the nicknames he has for him. Dally serves this same purpose for Johnny. Johnny has no family and replaces that with the gang. Dally his his father figure. Dally, much like Darry with Ponyboy, does not want Johnny to "get hard" and lose that boyish innocence like he did so long ago. Dally is mean. This is why Ponyboy states that out of all the members of the gang, he "liked Dally the least". However, this is what he gives to Johnny and why Johnny admires him as he compares him to the southern gentlemen riding gallantly "into sure death" in Gone with the Wind.