Why Does Johnny Think Dally Is A Hero
Who does Johnny think is a hero? Do you think Dally is a hero?
In the group of boys who comprise the "outsiders," it is Dally who Johnny idolizes the most. It's probably consistent with their characters, because Johnny is timid, a follower, a "little dark puppy that has been kicked too many times and is lost in a crowd of strangers," and Dally's rude, bold, confrontational manner is the polar opposite. Johnny sees Dally as what he will never be, and what he likely wishes he was, especially in light of his brutal beating at the hands of some Socs. Dally is also his protector, and Johnny is the one person Dally will not confront. In the incident at the drive-in, early in the book, Dally was harassing the Soc girls until Johnny told him to quit. Dally was surprised, shocked, amazed that anyone would tell him that and not expect retribution--but it was Johnny who said it and Dally let it go. The only real glimpse of Dally's humanity in Hinton's book is his protective, brotherly love for Johnny.
To Johnny, Dallas Winston is a hero. He looks up to Dally. To Johnny, Dally is everything that he would like to be but isn't. While hiding out in Windrixville, the boys read "Gone With the Wind" to pass the time. Johnny mentions that the southern gentlemen in the story remind him of Dallas.
Johnny looks up to Dallas. Dallas is "tuff", rugged, reckless, and he doesn't care what anyone else has to say about it. Johnny wishes that he could be this way. In Johnny's mind , if he held just a small portion of Dally's attributes, he might have been able to stand up to his parents, protect himself from the Socs and he may not have been so traumatized by the incident.
Ponyboy disagrees with the notion that Dallas is anything like the soldiers in the book. He doesn't look at Dally the same way.