Similarities and Differences of Johnny and Dally in S.E. Hinton´s The Outsiders

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How can two people whose lives are so different have so much in common? How

can a young man growing up with everything he could possibly want have anything in

common with someone who has known only poverty and hardship his entire life? It

seems impossible. However, in S. E. Hinton’s novel The Outsiders, there are two such

characters who, despite having enormous differences in their lives, also have significant

similarities. These characters are Dally Winston and Bob Sheldon.

Dally Winston and Bob Sheldon have two very significant similarities. For

example, one way that Dally and Bob are the same is that they both enjoy fighting. Dally

is a tough greaser who does not waste any time creating a problem if he has the

opportunity. Dally frequently looks for problems with the police and other people. In

fact, even his friends try hard to stay on his good side. Ponyboy says of Dallas, “One

time, in a dime store, a guy told him to move over at the candy counter. Dally had turned

around and belted him so hard it knocked a tooth loose. A complete stranger, too” (24).

Dallas has a short fuse, and he is not afraid to tangle with anyone. He often does his best

to find ways to break laws, and Dally himself says, “‘Don’t you know a rumble ain’t a

rumble unless I’m in it’” (144)? Clearly, Dallas enjoys trouble. Likewise, Bob, a

member of the Socs, is another person who enjoys fights, usually with greasers. Bob and

his friends beat Johnny nearly to death in the vacant lot just because Johnny is a greaser.

His rings cut up Johnny’s face pretty badly, leaving a scar Johnny will carry for the rest

of his life. Pony says of Bob, “I knew he liked to pick fights, [and] had the usual Soc

belief that living on the We...

... middle of paper ...

...l The Outsiders, the two characters Dally Winston and Bob

Sheldon, although similar in some significant ways, also are quite different. Dally

Winston and Bob Sheldon come from dissimilar circumstances, and this may help

explain why they have such diverse personalities. Living in poverty his entire life has

made Dally a mean and angry young man. Conversely, living in the lap of luxury, Bob

has no reason to be angry at the world. His disdain for greasers does not extend to his

friends who know him as a sweet and friendly person. However, despite the stark

differences in their living conditions and personalities, these characters do have things in

common. Both Dally and Bob have parents who neglect them in their own way and,

perhaps because of this, both enjoy engaging in fights. They are two different characters

who share some vastly similar problems.

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