At a Glance
- Ponyboy Curtis, the narrator, a member of the Greasers.
- Darry, Ponyboy's older brother, who takes care of him after their parents die in a car crash.
- Sodapop, Ponyboy's brother.
- Johnny, Ponyboy's friend, who dies of injuries sustained during a fire.
- Bob Sheldon, a Soc, whom Johnny kills when the Socs try to drown Ponyboy.
- Cherry Valence, Bob's girlfriend, who spies on the Socs for the Greasers.
List of Characters
Ponyboy is the narrator of the story, and he shares his thoughts and feelings directly with the reader. Ponyboy is academically talented and physically resembles his brother Sodapop. At fourteen years old, he’s one of the youngest characters in the novel. While Ponyboy accepts the conflict between the Greasers and the Socs for what it is, he also questions whether fighting is something to enjoy and criticizes the unfairness of being low-income. He has to grow up quickly over the course of the novel, but he has a breakdown when he refuses to accept that Johnny and Dally are dead. He is insightful and poetic, and he looks for signs of someone’s true character beyond social status.
Darrel, known as “Darry,” is the eldest of the Curtis brothers and mature beyond his years. He shows his love for Ponyboy by being very strict and serious, which Ponyboy initially believes is a sign that Darry doesn’t love him. Darry believes Ponyboy can do more with his life than he or Sodapop will and gets angry when Ponyboy stays out late and lets his grades fall.
Johnny is the Greaser gang’s “pet” and is the member who keeps the gang together. He is the least assuming member of the gang and has a fearful look to his eye, and after he gets beat up by Bob, he carries a knife on him at all times. He idolizes Dally and the Southern gentlemen in Gone with the Wind, and he proves to be a deep thinker with his insight into Robert Frost’s poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” His dying wish is for Ponyboy to fight less and to focus more on the beauty in the world.
Dallas “Dally” Winston is the toughest member of the Greaser gang. A transplant from New York City, Dally gets into the most fights and steals the most things. Although he’s extremely violent, Dallas cares a lot about Johnny and doesn’t want Johnny to go to jail. When Johnny dies, Dallas is lost with grief and provokes the police into shooting him.
Cherry is Bob Sheldon’s girlfriend. She has many things in common with Ponyboy, like enjoying sunsets and reading a lot. She becomes a spy on the Socs after Johnny and Ponyboy leave town.
The middle Curtis brother, Sodapop is movie-star handsome. He has dropped out of high school and works at a gas station with Steve Randle. Sodapop is able to get “drunk on life,” and he often mediates between his brothers due to his sensitive and compassionate nature.
Two-Bit earned his name because he always has to share his “two bits.” He doesn’t take himself or life too seriously.
Steve is Sodapop’s childhood friend and is good with cars. Steve doesn’t like Ponyboy too much because he thinks Ponyboy is a tag-along.
A handsome Soc who has it all, Bob once beat Johnny up badly. Johnny kills him when Bob begins drowning Ponyboy in the park fountain. Cherry and Randy share that Bob was a kinder person when he was sober.
Bob’s best friend, Randy decides that the conflict between the Socs and Greasers isn’t worth it. He visits Ponyboy a few times to talk about Bob and Johnny.
Marcia is Cherry’s friend. She hits it off with Two-Bit at the movies by having the same strange sense of humor.
(The entire section is 913 words.)