How does the novel The Outsiders show readers that being a hero is more than simply being brave?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

S.E. Hinton illustrates how characters who are considered heroes in the novel are more than just brave individuals. Characters like Darry, Dally, Johnny, and Ponyboy selflessly help others. Each of these characters sacrifices something for the benefit of other people. Darry sacrifices an athletic scholarship and a college education to keep his family together, while Johnny and Ponyboy risk their lives saving children from the burning church. Dally is considered a hero because he not only helps Ponyboy and Johnny hide from the police but also saves Johnny's life by dragging him from the burning building. In each instance, the characters put other people's needs in front of their own. Although each of the characters are brave, Hinton suggests that a hero is also someone who sacrifices something for the benefit of others. Darry, Dally, Ponyboy, and Johnny are all selfless individuals who help others even when it does not benefit them.