The Outsiders Important Characters

Ponyboy Curtis

Ponyboy is a fourteen-year-old boy who lost his parents in an automobile accident, so now he lives with his two older brothers on the East side of town. They are greasers, which means they wear their hair long with a lot of hair grease in it, they don't follow the rules and they don't have much money. The residents of their town look down on the greasers, because they are seen as a source of trouble for the law abiding citizens.

Ponyboy is smart, quiet, and devoted to his brother, Sodapop. His oldest brother, Darry, and him do not get along, because Darry is always giving Ponyboy grief for his behavior. He is not a bad kid, he just doesn't use common sense and Darry is overly protective of his brother. To Ponyboy, Darry's behavior means he doesn't like him, whereas to Darry his behavior means he is trying to keep his family together. The authorities will only let twenty-year-old Darry keep custody of his brothers if they stay out of trouble. So he is sensitive to any behavior on Ponyboy and Soda's part which could be construed as problematic.

Trouble finds Ponyboy one night, after he is seen walking with a Socs' girlfriend. In the end, the boyfriend is dead and Ponyboy along with his friend Johnny are on the run from the police. Ponyboy and Johnny become heroes after they save some childrens' lives in a fire. Ponyboy is left unhurt by the fire, but Johnny succumbs to his injuries. The death of Johnny is difficult for Ponyboy to comprehend, so he copes by thinking Johnny is alive and he killed the Socs.

Ponyboy and his brother Darry, through these trials, become closer and begin to understand each other. Ponyboy is a good kid caught in a bad situation. By the end of the story, the reader feels sure he is going to come through these difficulties and be a better person.

Johnny Cade

Johnny is sixteen-years-old and has experienced more in those years than a teenage boy should have to endure. His parents don't care about him, instead his father beats him and his mother ignores him. All he wants is for them to notice he is their son and not a punching bag.

His life takes a turn after he is severely beaten by Bob, a Socs. He lives in terror of a repeat attack and these fears come to fruition on the night the Socs, Bob, decides to seek retribution for Ponyboy talking to his girlfriend. Bob tries to drown Ponyboy in a fountain and Johnny overcome with fear for his friend's life and anger towards Bob, stabs him to death.

He and Ponyboy go into hiding, but after a few days Johnny decides he is willing to turn himself into the authorities. He never is able to fulfill his wish, because as he is about to collect his belongings from the church he had been hiding in, he sees it is on fire. He learns some children are trapped in the church and motivated by guilt he tries to save them. In the process he has a burning timber fall on him, breaking his back. He lives for a little while, but dies after telling Ponyboy to stay gold. This means he doesn't want Ponyboy to change from being the sweet boy he is at the present.

Johnny dies with the two people who mean the most to him at his side, Ponyboy and Dally. Johnny is a tragic young man who was never given a fair chance at a decent life.

Sodapop Curtis

Sodapop is Ponyboy's older brother and the brother he is closest to. Sodapop is fun loving, sarcastic, loving, and very good looking. Ponyboy wishes he is as good looking as his brother. Soda tries to mediate the tension between Ponyboy and Darry.

Soda has his own troubles when his girlfriend leaves him. He had wanted to marry her, but she is sent to live in Florida by her parents. He tries to help the family financially by quitting school and working a job at a gas station. He in his own way is a responsible person, but he lives by the code of the greaser, which means he doesn't follow the rules. If one of his friends needs a hand in a fight, he is there for them.

In the end, it is Soda who makes the brothers come together as a unit. One night as Darry and Ponyboy are fighting he runs from the house. After the boys find him, he reminds them they have only each other to rely on, so they need to stop fighting and learn to work together.

Darrel Curtis

Darrel, called Darry, is twenty-years-old and the head of the household. It is a lot of responsibility for a young adult, but he is determined to live up to his obligations. He doesn't know how to relate to his smart younger brother, but he knows Ponyboy has the ability to make something of himself. He badgers the teenager to do well in school and to make sure he stays out of trouble. He is so hard on Ponyboy that he thinks Darry doesn't like him, this couldn't be further from the truth. He loves his little brother and is gruff with him, because he can't stand the thought of losing another member of his family.

Dallas Winston

Dallas, called Dally, is a hardened man by the age of seventeen. He had his first arrest at the age of ten and has been jailed many times since then. He has a hard look about him and he scares Ponyboy. Johnny worships the ground Dally walks on, so he is the one Johnny turns to after the death of Bob. It is Dally who tells the boys where to hide, gives them some money, and gives them a gun for protection.

Dally takes Johnny's death very badly. He runs from the hospital and robs a grocery store. Then he draws an unloaded gun on the police, so they will kill him. He just can't stand living anymore; the death of Johnny is the last straw for him. He dies the same night as Johnny does, which causes even more emotional distress for Ponyboy.

The hardened Dally finds a soft spot in himself for the damaged Johnny. He is destroyed by Johnny's death, which leads him to force the police to shoot him.


He is the Socs who beat up Johnny and is also guy who tried to drown Ponyboy. The Socs are the rich kids from the West side of town, who like to beat up the greasers. His beating of Johnny led to Johnny carrying a switch blade, the switch blade which he used to stab Bob to death.

Bob wants his parents to pay attention to him. He acts out in hopes they will tell him no, but they never do, instead they blame themselves for his behavior. Bob dies much too young, a death which could have been prevented, if the adults in his life had given him some boundaries to live within.

Sherri Valance

Sherri, called Cherry, is Bob's girlfriend, who befriended Ponyboy and Johnny. It is because of her walking with the boys that Bob later attacks Ponyboy. This leads to Bob's death and to Cherry feeling guilty for what happened. She, in an effort to help the greasers, gives them the plans of the Socs, before the big fight between them and the greasers.

Even though she feels guilty about Bob's death, she refuses to visit Johnny in the hospital, because he killed her boyfriend. She tries to explain to Ponyboy the differences between the Socs and greasers isn't money, but how they view the world. She thinks the Socs are emotionless and the greasers are too emotional. Cherry is a Socs who tries to break out of her own social group, to find common ground with the greasers.


Randy is Bob's best friend and he is present the night Bob is killed. He refuses to participate in the fight between the greasers and the Socs because he is tired of fighting. He also doesn't see how the fight will change the lives of the participants.

Afterwards, he tries to reach out to Ponyboy, but Ponyboy is not able to respond to his attempt. He does testify at the court hearing in Ponyboy's defense, saying Bob was drunk and Johnny was responsible for Bob's death.

Randy after Bob's death changes his view of the social groups in his hometown. He also tries to help Ponyboy in the courts, because deep down he is a good person.

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