What do we learn was so special about Johnny in The Outsiders?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After Johnny passes, the audience learns that he occupied a significant role in the greasers' gang. When Two-Bit comments that they needed Johnny more than he needed them, he was referring to the support that Johnny gave each individual. We learn that Johnny was a tremendous listener, and he showed genuine interest and concern for each group member. Most of the greasers came from broken homes, and they lacked the support children typically receive from their parents. Each greaser had their own set of problems and felt comfortable venting to Johnny. Johnny fulfilled the role of the gang's "therapist" because he would take the time to listen to each member. When Johnny died, Dally lost his mind and robbed a grocery store. Johnny was Dally's personal support system, and when he passed, Dally lost all hope.