Why doesn't Dally want Johnny to turn himself in, in The Outsiders?

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mlsldy3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter six of The Outsiders we see Johnny and Pony-boy hiding out in the church. Johnny, in self defense, killed one of the Socs, a rival gang. When Dally tells them that Cherry is going to tell the cops that the Socs were drunk and it was in self defense, Johnny says that he is going to turn himself in. Dally reacts with real emotion about Johnny doing this. Johnny thinks that since his parents don't care about him, he will just go ahead and do it. He tells Dally that the police will go easy on him since he has no police record and it was in self defense, but Dally knows that kids from their side of the tracks will most likely be sent to jail. 

"Johnny," Dally said in a pleading, high voice, using a tone I had never heard from him before. "Johnny, I ain't mad at you. I just know what a few months in jail can do to you. Oh, blast it, Johnny...you get hardened in jail. I don't want that to happen to you. Like it happened to me..."

Dally can see himself in Johnny. They both have similar backgrounds. Their parents weren't around and they both were left on their own. Dally doesn't want to see Johnny become hard towards life the way that he has. We see by the end of the chapter the true Johnny. We see that he is heroic and selfless. Dally knew the kind of man Johnny was long before Johnny himself knew it. 

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 6, Dally takes Johnny and Ponyboy out to eat at a Dairy Queen in Windrixville and informs them about what is taking place back at home. In the middle of eating, Johnny mentions that he and Ponyboy are going to turn themselves into the police. Johnny then mentions that he believes they will be let off easy because he killed Bob Sheldon in self-defense and has no prior records. Dally is shocked and upset at Johnny's statement, and curses underneath his breath as the boys leave the Dairy Queen parking lot. Dally then explains to Johnny that he isn't mad at him for wanting to turn himself into the police but is worried about him getting hurt in jail. Dally then explains to Johnny that he will get "hardened" in jail and doesn't want Johnny turning into a callous, insensitive rebel like himself. Dally fears that Johnny will go to jail and turn out to be a cold, mean-spirited criminal if he turns himself into the police. 

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The Outsiders

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