What did Ponyboy mean when he said of Dally, "the fight of self-preservation had hardened him beyond caring?

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Dallas Winston has grown up on the streets of New York city, hardened by gang violence since long before relocating to Tulsa. Violence continues to be a part of his life in Oklahoma, and he is proud of his motto to become hard and tough so that nothing can touch him. His parents are not a part of his life, and the only "family" he has are his greaser buddies--and he is not one of the most popular members, aside from his close friendship with Johnny Cade. When Johnny dies, Dally loses his only true friend. It is the last straw for Dally, who decides he has little reason for living, proven by his robbery of the store while waving an empty gun at the clerk and, later, the police.

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