Why does Dally begin to look sick in Chapter 2 of The Outsiders?

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Dally looks sick because he sees Johnny has been badly beaten by the Socs.

Dally is one of the toughest members of the greasers gang, but he has a soft spot for Johnny, whom Pony describes as the gang’s pet.  When Johnny is jumped by greasers, Dally takes it particularly...

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Dally looks sick because he sees Johnny has been badly beaten by the Socs.

Dally is one of the toughest members of the greasers gang, but he has a soft spot for Johnny, whom Pony describes as the gang’s pet.  When Johnny is jumped by greasers, Dally takes it particularly hard.  All of the gang members are shaken by it, but Pony finds Dally’s reaction troubling, because he is so tough.

Dally was there, too, swearing under his breath, and turning away with a sick expression on his face. I wondered about it vaguely. Dally had seen people killed on the streets of New York's West Side. Why did he look sick now? (Ch. 2)

Dally cares deeply about Johnny, but he knows that the boy is fragile.  He has a difficult home life, because he lives with an abusive and neglectful father.  It makes him jumpy.  When he is attacked by the Socs, it is almost more than poor Johnny can take. 

Johnny was also hurt very badly.  Pony says he thought, looking at Johnny, that he might be dead.

Johnny's face was cut up and bruised and swollen, and there was a wide gash from his temple to his cheekbone. … His white T-shirt was splattered with blood. I thought he might be dead; surely nobody could be beaten like that and live. (Ch. 2)

Socs have a tendency to target greasers who walk alone.  They prey on the weak.  Johnny, like Ponyboy, belongs to the gang because he wants a family.  He is not necessarily a tough kid.  There is no way he could defend himself against the brutal Soc beating. 

After he was jumped, Johnny was even jumpier than usual.  It caused things to be more strained between the greasers and the Socs, and led to the fight in the park between Johnny and Bob that caused Johnny to kill Bob in self-defense (and defense of Ponyboy).  This is the first link in a chain of events that will alter all of their lives.

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In chapter 2, Ponyboy tells Cherry the story about how Johnny was severely beaten by a gang of Socs two months ago and describes Dally's horrified reaction to finding his close friend in such terrible condition. Ponyboy says that one night, they were leaving the DX station when they came across Johnny's blue jean jacket on the street. The boys then heard the low moans coming from the other side of the lot and found Johnny lying on the ground and bleeding badly. Ponyboy recalls seeing Dally's reaction to finding Johnny and mentions that Dally turned away with a sick expression on his face. Ponyboy initially wonders how Dally could seem so disgusted after finding Johnny in such bad condition, because Dally was known as the most callous individual in the gang. Ponyboy says,

"Dally was there, too, swearing under his breath, and turning away with a sick expression on his face" (Hinton, 30).

Essentially, Dally views Johnny as a younger brother and is sickened to find him cut, bruised, and bleeding badly. Johnny is one of the few people Dally actually cares about in life, and Dally is sickened to see him suffering on the ground.

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Dally looks sick because he has just seen that Johnny, the one person he cares about in the whole world, has taken a horrible beating.

When Johnny is beaten by a gang of Socs, the Greasers find him and are stunned at how bad he looks.  His "face (is) cut up and bruised and swollen, and there (is) a wide gash from his temple to his cheekbone"; he would carry the scar from that gash all his life.  Johnny's white T-shirt is "splattered with blood", and he is lying so still, the boys think he might be dead.  Ponyboy thinks that "surely nobody could be beaten like that and live".

When Dally arrives at the scene he takes one look at Johnny and turns away "with a sick expression".  Dally had "seen people killed on the streets of New York's West Side", and is no stranger to violence, yet he looks sick now because Johnny is special to him.  Despite his brutal home life, Johnny retains an innocence and sense of purity that has managed to penetrate the hard shell Dally has built around himself.  Dally cares about few people in the world, but he loves Johnny, and to see someone he truly cares about so badly hurt makes even Dally look sick (Chapter 2).

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