What words would you use to describe Dallas Winston in The Outsiders?  What are his characteristics?

Expert Answers
gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Angry: Dallas Winston displays his anger throughout the novel in many ways. He is continually fighting and is antagonistic toward others. Dallas's anger manifests itself in his rebellious personality. Dally is feared by those around him because of his short temper and willingness to hurt people.

Rebellious: Dally fits the description of a rebellious teenager. He was arrested at the age of ten and has been committing crimes ever since. Ponyboy mentions that Dally has been arrested for numerous offenses and has lied, cheated, stole, and even jumped smaller kids. Dally even sneaks into the drive-in movies simply to break the rules. Unfortunately, Dally's rebellious nature ends up getting him killed by the police.

Misunderstood: Despite Dally's tough exterior, he is a sympathetic, caring individual, who is often misunderstood by his peers. Dally has a soft spot for Johnny and even risks his life saving Johnny from the church fire. Dally hides his emotions in order to be viewed as a tough, menacing Greaser. As the novel progresses, Pony changes his outlook towards Dally and realizes that he is a misunderstood teenager.

Loyal: Dally displays his loyalty by helping Ponyboy and Johnny escape to Windrixville. He gives his friends money, a gun, and advice on hiding from the authorities. Dally also runs into a burning church to save Johnny from the flames. His selfless actions reveal his loyalty throughout the novel.

sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dallas Winston: one of the best examples of the troubled youth.  Dallas is a tough as nails, emotionally hardened young man.  He has been getting in trouble since he was young because he hates rules and he had little guidance.  He acts as if nothing bothers him, but really everything does.  He is angry to be treated as a "thug", but he doesn't know how else to act.  He is angry when people challenge him or discriminate against him, and acts out violently.  But despite all these negative characteristics, he has love for his friends.  He helps Ponyboy and Johnny immediately, giving them all he can.  He runs into the church to help, because his friends are in there.  He loves Johnny like a brother, because he recognizes and cherishes the vulnerable, kind side to Johnny.  It is Johnny's death that pushes Dally over the edge, causing him to seek out his own death.