Why is Dally Johnny's hero and not Ponyboy's hero

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While Pony and Johnny are hiding out in an abandoned church in Windrixville to avoid the authorities, Pony ends up reading the novel Gone with the Wind to Johnny to pass the time. Johnny is fascinated by the gallant southern gentlemen, who courageously ride into battle expecting to die. After Johnny listens to Pony read one of the battle scenes aloud, he mentions that the southern gentlemen remind him of Dally. Johnny goes on to say that he views Dally as a gallant individual and tells Ponyboy about a time when he witnessed Dally take the blame for a crime that Two-Bit committed without batting an eye.

At this point in the novel, Pony has not fully developed his perspective on Dally and does not view him as heroic because he is "so real" that it scares him. Pony only views Dally as a reckless criminal, who has no regard for authority and is extremely callous. In contrast, Johnny recognizes Dally's gallant, honorable personality and respects the fact that he is extremely loyal. As Pony matures, he begins to view Dally differently and understands Johnny's hero worship for him. By the end of the story, Pony comes to respect Dally for his loyalty and selflessness.

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Family is an important theme in the novel The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton.  Ponyboy has his brothers to nurture him and look out for him.  Johnny does not have a nurturing family to show him love.  This is the reason that Dally is Johnny's hero.  Johnny wants Dally's approval and love because he sees Dally as more than a friend.  Dally is, in a sense, his family.  Ponyboy does not need Dally to fulfill that need for him because he has his brothers.  Dallas has survived on his own and this is appealing to Johnny.  It helps Johnny relate to him.

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