16-year old author S.E. Hinton's coming-of-age novel, The Outsiders (published in 1967), follows the story of two rival gangs, "the greasers" and "Socs" (short for "Socials"). Dally, a member of the "greasers," grew up in New York and was arrested at the age of ten. The narrator, Ponyboy Curtis, remarks that Dally is "tougher than the rest of us" (4). Johnny Cade, the narrator's best friend, is described as "a little dark puppy that has been kicked too many times," (4).
After the death of Bob (a Soc) has galvanized the local community, Dally encourages his fellow greasers to hide out in a church. Johnny doesn't want to, preferring to turn himself in. Dally shows an uncharacteristic soft spot when he tells Johnny, "you get hardened in jail. I don't want that to happen to you, like it happened to me," (29). Johnny lives with abusive parents, and when he asks Dally if his parents are concerned for him, Dally tells him that they have not asked about him. Furthermore, he states:
"Blast it, Johnny, what do they matter? Shoot, my old man don't give a hang whether I'm in jail or dead in a car wreck or drunk in the gutter. That don't bother me none." (28).
In brief, Dally tells Johnny that he doesn't care about his own parents and encourages Johnny not to either.