The Outsiders Questions and Answers
by S. E. Hinton

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What qualities does Cherry admire in both Bob and Dally in The Outsiders?

In The Outsiders, Cherry's admiration of Bob and Dally is surprising given her distaste for violence and crime. Both Bob and Dally are violent and frequently engage in criminal behavior. However, they are also both strong, charismatic, and able to make people listen to them. Cherry recognizes these qualities in Bob and Dally. She is self-aware and realizes that she is attracted to men who are strong but also violent. She sees that these men are not good for her.

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Both Dally and Bob are violent characters, which makes Cherry's admiration of them ironic given her strong distaste for violence and criminal behavior. Not long after arguing with Dally and throwing her drink in his face, Cherry tells Ponyboy, "I could fall in love with Dallas Winston. I hope I never see him again, or I will." Ponyboy is shocked and confused by Cherry's statement and does not understand what she sees in Dally:

I studied Dally, trying to figure out what there was about this tough-looking hood that a girl like Cherry Valance could love. Towheaded and shifty-eyed, Dally was anything but handsome. Yet in his hard face there was character, pride, and a savage defiance of the world.

After Bob attacks Johnny and Ponyboy, Cherry defends him:

Oh, maybe Bob asked for it. I know he did ... You only knew his bad side. He could be sweet sometimes, and friendly ... I know I'm too young to be in love and all that, but Bob was something special. He wasn't just any boy. He had something that...

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