In The Outsiders, is Dally a round or flat character?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A round character is complex and displays various personality traits that change throughout the novel. In contrast, a flat character is one-dimensional and usually defined by a single trait. Throughout The Outsiders, Dally would be categorized as a round character. Through the majority of the story, Dally is characterized as a brash, callous individual who does not care about anyone. As the novel progresses, Dally displays loyalty and empathy towards his fellow Greasers, particularly Johnny. Pony initially does not like Dally because he is a hot-head with an affinity for violence and breaking the rules. After Johnny stabs Bob Sheldon and goes on the run with Ponyboy, Dally willingly helps them escape to Jay Mountain. When Johnny tells Dally that he is going to turn himself into the police, Dally demonstrates his love for Johnny by warning him about how jail will negatively affect him. Later on, Dally selflessly risks his life entering the burning building to save Johnny. After Johnny dies, Dally loses his mind and robs a grocery store. The police end up killing Dally, and Ponyboy realizes Dally was a gallant, selfless individual who cared deeply about Johnny. Dally's various character traits illustrate his complex personality, which makes him a round character.