Dally from The Outsiders

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  • 0:04 Dallas Winston
  • 0:29 Dally vs. The World
  • 1:17 Johnny's View of Dally
  • 2:20 Dally's Breaking Point
  • 3:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Dallas 'Dally' Winston, from the S.E. Hinton novel 'The Outsiders,' was the meanest of the Greasers. In this lesson, we analyze his character traits and discuss his role in the story.

Dallas Winston

'His eyes were blue, blazing ice, cold with a hatred for the whole world.'

Dallas Winston - Dally to his friends - is one of the most complex characters in the novel The Outsiders. He's hard to like because he's so filled with anger that he has hardened himself to feeling anything. On the other hand, he's hard not to like because, despite this, he is always there for his friends, and especially for Johnny.

Dally vs. the World

'He was tougher than the rest of us - tougher, colder, meaner.'

Ponyboy describes Dally as having an elfish face, high cheekbones, a pointed chin, sharp teeth, blue eyes, and long, white hair. He wore his rage in his eyes and in the lines on his face.

Dally grew up in the street gangs of New York before moving to Oklahoma and had been in and out of jail since he was ten years old. He drank too much, lied, cheated, stole, and disrespected women and children. Dally rode in the rodeo circle, and his girlfriend left him when he was in jail.

Dally 'didn't like to do things the legal way.' He detested authority and laws and went out of his way defy them. He even started fights with his friends. Dally slashed Tim Shepard's tires just for kicks, but after the fight was over, they were still there for each other.

Johnny's View of Dally

Johnny and Dally had a unique relationship. Dally took care of Johnny, and Johnny was the only one who could get away with standing up to Dally. Although Johnny was scared of everything else, he was not afraid to stand up for the girls when Dally got out of hand at the drive-in.

Johnny looked up to Dally and defended him to others. He compared Dally to the gallant Southern gentlemen in Gone with the Wind - always calm and never scared. He saw Dally take the rap for Two-Bit without 'battin' an eye.' Johnny had tremendous respect for Dally because he had all the strength and courage that Johnny did not.

When Johnny and Ponyboy were in trouble, they knew that Dally would be able to help them. He gave them a gun, some money, and told them about a hideout. Dally did not want Johnny to turn himself in to the police because Johnny still possessed the qualities that Dally lost along the way. He was afraid that if he did not protect Johnny both physically and emotionally, Johnny would end up like him.

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