In The Outsiders, Dally's move to bluff the police with the pistol is a suicidal act. Why do you think Dally chooses to die? Why is his manner of death gallant?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Dallas Winston found it difficult to fit in when he moved south and, although he romanticizes the gangster lifestyle, he does not fully endorse it. Similarly, although he treated Johnny as a protégé to some extent, he wanted Johnny to find another arena in which to succeed rather than try to make his name in the gangs. When Johnny dies in the hospital, Dallas runs off and takes desperate steps. By not only committing robbery but also showing a gun, he taunts the police to open fire on him. Dally seems to have been overcome by his own feelings of guilt in not being able to save his friend. The word “gallant” refers to an extremely courteous, generous gesture, typically one that in olden times a gentleman made on behalf of a lady; it does not seem to apply to a suicide.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I think Dally chooses to die as he has lost Johnny: the only person he really cared about. Dally had made Johnny's safety and well being a crusade. He wanted Johnny to be safe and not to become as tortured and embittered as he was. Once Johnny is dead, Dally has no purpose or direction in his life.

I find the idea of Dally's death being 'gallant' questionable. The police officers are forced into killing him which would be a traumatic experience. That said, Dally treated all life as if it were a battle, and he dies challenging the enemy on his battlefield--the streets.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial