Would you consider Dallas (Dally) Winston a victim of society in The Outsiders?  

Expert Answers
Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dally Winston is a victim of society, not only in his difficult upbringing mentioned in the above answer, but also in his troubled response to Johnny's death.  Society really failed Dally when Johnny died. 

When Dally and Ponyboy first return to the hospital after the rumble, Dally actually threatens one of the hospital staff doctors with a knife.  In that moment, the doctor should have had the insight that several very emotional boys may need counseling to help them deal with the traumatic experience of seeing their close friend near death or dying. 

Now, Dally may have refused counseling, but that would have been his choice.  While the hospital focused on the physical health of its patients, that doctor ignored a true need in terms of emotional and psychological health.  It seems very possible that if there were a group of distraught Soc kids at the hospital upset over the fact that their friend may be dying, that the hospital staff would have arranged for some counselors to be present or at least some local church ministers.  Since the boys were greasers, they were overlooked, and Dally's out of control grief led him to become another sad statistic.

ehanson3 | Student

I would say yes, because his most impressionable years (childhood) were lived in the ghettos of New York, among gangs and violence. We do not hear anything about Dally's mother, and his father is known to be indifferent to his behavior. Therefore, he had no parental guidance and was left to grow up among, and learn examples from, violent thugs. Since Dally was not studious, he could not escape the vicious cycle of being in gangs. One could say that he is old enough to know right from wrong, but when you know no differently, it is hard to pull yourself away from the violent gang lifestyle. This lifestyle is shunned by mainstream, especially affluent, society. They only see him as a thug, who can not offer anything positive to society. When he is never given a chance to prove his worth to anyone, anger boils up inside of him, thus furthering the vicious cycle mentioned earlier.