In The Outsiders, after Johnny kills Bob, is Dally's advice any good? Why do the boys think they need to run? Dally tells them to run away.

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Shortly after Johnny kills Bob Sheldon in self-defense, the boys decide to turn to Dally for advice. Johnny and Pony are both aware of their desperate situation and understand that the law is not on their side. Both boys are Greasers and do not have a good chance of being tried fairly in a court of law. They are used to being unfairly blamed for crimes and are easy targets in their community since they come from poor families and have bad reputations. Johnny is also aware that the boy he killed hails from an affluent family, which makes his situation that much worse. When the boys find Dally at Buck Merril's place, he gives them fifty dollars, a loaded gun, a warm leather jacket, and directions to an abandoned church in Windrixville. Considering the fact that Johnny and Pony become closer friends after hiding out in Windrixville and the boys are depicted as heroes for saving numerous children in the church fire, one could argue that Dally's advice was positive. Tragically, Johnny is mortally wounded during the church fire and dies at a young age.

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anthonda49 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Dally tells them to run to a church in the countryside. He gives them money and a gun, telling them to lie low for several days. The boys need to run because they killed someone,someone who is a Soc. Soc's have connections to the law and the middle class who tends to have more clout than the Greasers do.  They are Greasers, so the law will assume they did it intentionally even though it was in self defense. Dally's advice is good, except it makes the boys look guilty. The church is isolated, and no one will think to look for them there. As fate decrees it, the church fire will result in the boys looking like heroes when they rescue the kids from the burning building. The public will look on them more favorably compared to them having stayed to face their punishment.

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