The Outsiders

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Dallas Winston Character Analysis

A tough, hardened greaser. Dally grew up on the streets of New York and learned early to depend upon himself. He has a long criminal record and is prone to risk-taking, yet he is also a loyal and compassionate friend. He is devoted to Johnny, in whom he sees the potential that he himself has lost.

Dallas Winston Quotes in The Outsiders

The The Outsiders quotes below are all either spoken by Dallas Winston or refer to Dallas Winston. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Divided Communities Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Speak edition of The Outsiders published in 2006.
Chapter 6 Quotes
"Johnny," Dally said in a pleading, high voice, using a tone I had never heard from him before, "Johnny, I ain't mad at you. I just don't want you to get hurt. You don't know what a few months in jail can do to you. Oh, blast it, Johnny...you get hardened in jail. I don't want that to happen to you. Like it happened to me..."
Related Characters: Dallas Winston (speaker), Johnny Cade
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:

After five days of solitude, Dally arrives to the church where Ponyboy and Johnny are hiding out. Dally tells the boys that a massive war has broken out between the Socs and Greasers and that Cherry is acting as a spy, keeping the Greasers safe. Johnny feels guilty for putting Ponyboy in this situation, and tells Dally that he wants to turn himself in. Dally is frustrated that Johnny just didn't turn himself in five days ago when the incident happened. In this quote, Dally apologizes for being frustrated with Johnny. His anger is rooted in the fear that jail time will forever change the sensitive and sweet Johnny. 

This is the first time we see sensitivity from the tough Dally. He wants to make sure Johnny doesn't end up like him—he wants to protect Johnny's innocence as any parent or older brother would, but particularly one who has experienced the harsh loss of his own innocence. Similar to Darry's self-sacrifice for Ponyboy, Dally shows the same deep emotional tie to and protectiveness of Johnny. 

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Chapter 9 Quotes
"We won," Dally panted. "We beat the Socs. We stomped them—chased them outa our territory."
Johnny didn't even try to grin at him. "Useless...fighting's no good..."
Related Characters: Johnny Cade (speaker), Dallas Winston (speaker)
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:
After the Greasers win the rumble, Dally takes Ponyboy to the hospital to see Johnny. When they arrive, the Doctor informs them that Johnny is dying. They go into Johnny's room and tell him that they've won the rumble. Johnny isn't impressed by this. He knows that fighting won't change anything. They will never "win" against the Socs. They will always be seen as the dirty low-lifes of the community, and there is very little that can change that. As he approaches the end of his life, Johnny also begins to realize what is truly important. It isn't gang wars or violence, but rather preserving one's identity, sense of self, and close community of friends and family. 
Chapter 10 Quotes
And even as the policemen's guns spit fire into the night I knew that was what Dally wanted...Dally Winston wanted to be dead and he always got what he wanted...Two friends of mine had died that night: one a hero, the other a hoodlum. But I remembered Dally pulling Johnny through the window of the burning church; Dally giving us his gun, although it could mean jail for him; Dally risking his life for us, trying to keep Johnny out of trouble. And now he was a dead juvenile delinquent and there wouldn't be any editorials in his favor. Dally didn't die a hero. He died violent and young and desperate, just like we all knew he'd die someday...But Johnny was right. He died gallant.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Johnny Cade, Dallas Winston
Page Number: 154
Explanation and Analysis:

After returning with the news of Johnny's death, Ponyboy and his brothers set out to find Dally, who has run off. They meet Dally at a parking lot. He has just robbed a bank and the police are on his tail. He carries an unloaded gun and as the police get closer, he brandishes the gun and is shot by the police. Here, Ponyboy reflects on the look of satisfaction on Dally's face as he is shot down. He has always wanted to die, and now that Johnny is gone he has a reason to. 

Ponyboy then reflects on Dally's death. He will never be written up as a hero, but he died the way he wanted to, with a sense of bravery and for him, dignity. It was the last shred of honor he had. We also learn just how much Dally valued Johnny's life. Keeping him safe and out of trouble was the reason why Dally kept going. He failed at preserving Johnny's "gold"- his innocence. Without Johnny, Dally is simply a delinquent and has nothing to live for, except for the grandeur of his own death. In many ways, Dally has spent his life sacrificing himself for Johnny, and this moment is his grand finale. 

Chapter 12 Quotes
"We're all we have left. We ought to be able to stick together against everything. If we don't have each other, we don't have anything. If you don't have anything, you end up like Dallas...and I don't mean dead, either. I mean like he was before. And that's worse than dead. Please"—he wiped his eyes on his arm—"don't fight anymore."
Related Characters: Sodapop Curtis (speaker), Ponyboy Curtis, Darry Curtis, Dallas Winston
Page Number: 176
Explanation and Analysis:

Darry and Ponyboy have gotten into another argument and Sodapop can’t take it anymore. He runs off. Darry and Ponyboy then chase him down, and Soda tells them that he’s sick of being stuck in the middle of every argument. He understands both sides and feels like he's being torn apart by his two brothers. Darry has given up everything to make sure Ponyboy has the opportunities he never had, but he also can be incredibly critical and overprotective. Soda is left to manage the two of them and has reached a breaking point. 

Soda explains that they are all each other has left. He worries that they will end up like Dallas, tough and empty, with nothing to live for. They must live for each other. This is the only moment in The Outsiders where we see the bubbly, high-energy Sodapop break down. He is the link between Darry and Ponyboy, between the innocent and the father figure. He also makes it clear to Ponyboy how much Darry has sacrificed—a college education, jobs, a future—in order to protect him.

I've been thinking about it, and that poem, that guy that wrote it, he meant you're gold when you're a kid, like green. When you're a kid everything's new, dawn. It's just when you get used to everything that it's day. Like the way you dig sunsets, Pony. That's gold. Keep that way, it's a good way to be...And don't be so bugged over being a greaser. You still have a lot of time to make yourself what you want. There's still lots of good in the world. Tell Dally. I don't think he knows. Your buddy, Johnny.
Related Characters: Johnny Cade (speaker), Ponyboy Curtis, Dallas Winston
Related Symbols: Sunsets and Sunrises
Page Number: 178-179
Explanation and Analysis:

Before he died, Johnny made sure that Ponyboy received his copy of Gone With The Wind. During this moment, Ponyboy opens the book and sees a note that Johnny has written to him. Close to his death, Johnny realized the meaning of the Robert Frost poem Ponyboy recited in their hideout at the church. To stay gold is to stay young, to preserve one’s innocence and always see the world as new, like the dawn. This is why Johnny tells him to stay gold before his death. It is another moment where someone is urging Ponyboy to preserve his innocence, because it’s too late for everyone else. He is special, and his entire community of Greasers knows it. This moment gives Ponyboy a sense of universal empathy. He thinks about the other boys living on the “wrong” side of town, without opportunity. Ponyboy is inspired, and he realizes that someone should do something about this. He then begins to write.

One week had taken all three of them. And I decided I could tell people, beginning with my English teacher. I wondered for a long time how to start that theme, how to start writing about something that was important to me. And I finally began like this: When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home...
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Johnny Cade, Dallas Winston, Bob Sheldon
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:

Johnny’s letter to Ponyboy has made Ponyboy realize that his problems, his poverty, and his struggles aren’t exclusive to him. There are other kids out there, living the same life. He decides to write about this for his English assignment—taking a risk and writing the truth. Ponyboy realizes in this moment that in order to make change happen, to give opportunities to boys like himself, he has to share his own story. He has now come full circle, just as the book itself has. He realizes that the empathy and innocence he has always struggled with can be used to do good, and that the pen is mightier than the sword (or switch blade). The book itself also comes full circle when we learn that the first line of his essay is the first line of The Outsiders. Ponyboy’s essay has become the book in our hands. His story is heard, and his voice is shared.  

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Dallas Winston Character Timeline in The Outsiders

The timeline below shows where the character Dallas Winston appears in The Outsiders. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
...has a joke to tell, likes to fight, and gets in trouble with the police. Dallas Winston radiates danger and toughness, and was first arrested at the age of ten. Johnny Cade... (full context)
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
Dally invites everyone to the double feature at the drive-in the next night. Ponyboy and Johnny... (full context)
Chapter 2
Divided Communities Theme Icon
The next night, Johnny and Ponyboy meet Dally and head to the drive-in. On the way, they make a little bit of trouble... (full context)
Empathy Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
Soon Dally walks off to the concession booth, and Cherry and Ponyboy start talking. Cherry compliments Ponyboy's... (full context)
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
When Johnny returns, Cherry smiles at him. But when Dally soon returns and offers Cherry a Coke, she throws it in Dally's face and calls... (full context)
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
...Johnny eventually asks Cherry why she isn't afraid of them the way she is of Dally. She explains that they don't act, speak, or look in the mean or frightening way... (full context)
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Self-Sacrifice and Honor Theme Icon
...is particularly shaken. Two-Bit sits down and banters with Cherry and Marcia. He's looking for Dally, who's slashed the tires of a car owned by another local tough, Tim Shepard, and... (full context)
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
...Johnny lying motionless in the park. The severity of his wounds shocked them all, but Dally was especially affected. Johnny revealed that a group of Socs in a blue Mustang threatened... (full context)
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
...is doubtful. Cherry persists by reasoning, for instance, that not all greasers are not like Dally. Ponyboy concedes the point. Cherry tells Ponyboy that Socs have problems, too, and says, "Things... (full context)
Chapter 3
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
...he would never have actually used the broken bottle. She responds that if she sees Dally again she just might fall in love with him. (full context)
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
...his family could be happy and intact again. He imagines Johnny living with them and Dally benefiting from the kind attention of Ponyboy's mother. Ponyboy drifts off to sleep. After Johnny... (full context)
Chapter 4
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Self-Sacrifice and Honor Theme Icon
Ponyboy panics, but Johnny is calm. He decides that they should go to Dally for help. They find Dally at a party at the house of Dally's rodeo partner,... (full context)
Chapter 5
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Self-Sacrifice and Honor Theme Icon
On the fifth day after Bob's death, Dally pays the boys a visit. He brings Ponyboy a letter from Sodapop, in which Sodapop... (full context)
Chapter 6
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
As Johnny and Ponyboy devour a big meal at the Dairy Queen, Dally explains that Cherry felt responsible for a situation that resulted in Bob's stabbing, so she... (full context)
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Self-Sacrifice and Honor Theme Icon
Johnny announces that he thinks he and Ponyboy should turn themselves in to the police. Dally tries to convince him otherwise, saying that he never wants Johnny to become hardened in... (full context)
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Self-Sacrifice and Honor Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
...building. They find the children and lift them one-by-one out a window, continuing even after Dally runs in shouting that the roof is about to collapse. The roof collapses, just as... (full context)
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Self-Sacrifice and Honor Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
...whom Ponyboy spoke with before rushing into the burning church. Jerry tells him what happened: Dally knocked Ponyboy out while smothering a fire that had caught on Ponyboy's back. Dally then... (full context)
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
...soon discharged from the hospital. He sits in the waiting room with Jerry, worrying about Dally and Johnny, and finds himself telling Jerry the story of Bob's murder. Jerry agrees that... (full context)
Chapter 7
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
Ponyboy, Darry, and Sodapop wait in the hospital waiting room for news about Johnny and Dally. Reporters and police question and take photos of Ponyboy and his brothers. Sodapop charms the... (full context)
Chapter 8
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Self-Sacrifice and Honor Theme Icon
Ponyboy and Two-Bit next visit Dally. He is in good shape, but is unhappy that he'll have to miss the rumble... (full context)
Chapter 9
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Just as the rumble begins, Dally runs in to join the fight. He used Two-Bit's switchblade to force his way out... (full context)
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Dally grabs Ponyboy and insists that they rush to the hospital to tell the news to... (full context)
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
As he drives, Dally says that if Ponyboy and Johnny just got tough like him, nothing could hurt them... (full context)
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
...the boys run to Johnny's room. A doctor tells them that Johnny is dying, and Dally threatens him with Two-Bit's switchblade, fearing that the doctor won't let them in. The doctor... (full context)
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
Dally excitedly tells Johnny the news about the rumble, but Johnny replies, "Useless fighting's no good."... (full context)
Chapter 10
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Self-Sacrifice and Honor Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
The boys reach the vacant lot just as Dally does. Simultaneously, a police car pulls up across the street. Dally pulls out a gun... (full context)
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
Ponyboy remembers all of the good things that Dally did to protect and help his fellow greasers. Ponyboy also reflects on how anyone who... (full context)