The Outsiders

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Darry Curtis Character Analysis

The oldest of the Curtis brothers. Darry is 20, hardworking, and rarely shows his feelings. After the boys' parents died, Darry passed up a college scholarship and took responsibility for raising his younger brothers. Darry has high expectations for Ponyboy, and Ponyboy's occasional failure to meet those expectations causes tension between the brothers. Over the course of the novel, Darry learns how to show Ponyboy that he cares about him.

Darry Curtis Quotes in The Outsiders

The The Outsiders quotes below are all either spoken by Darry Curtis or refer to Darry Curtis. 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 1 Quotes
I don't care, I lied to myself, I don't care about [Darry] either. Soda's enough, and I'd have him until I got out of school. I don't care about Darry. But I was still lying and I knew it. I lie to myself all the time. But I never believe me.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Darry Curtis, Sodapop Curtis
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

As Ponyboy and his brother Sodapop lay in the bed they share, Soda tells him that he plans on moving out and marrying his girlfriend. Ponyboy asks Soda to stay until he gets out of school so he doesn't have to be left alone with Darry. Soda then explains to Ponyboy that Darry does love him. Darry is only hard on him because he sees Ponyboy's potential; he is considered the smart one in the family, and so he has a future apart from being a Greaser. Darry is simply trying to push Ponyboy to work hard in order to have the life that he was never able to.

During this quote as narrator, Ponyboy acknowledges to the readers that he's lying to himself about Darry's sternness and tough love. He knows how hard it is for Darry to parent his two younger brothers. Darry's hardness and sense of dislike for Ponyboy is one of the many lies Ponyboy tells himself throughout the book to avoid facing the truth. 

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Chapter 6 Quotes
That was [Darry's] silent fear then—of losing another person he loved. I remembered how close he and Dad had been, and I wondered how I could ever have thought him hard and unfeeling. I listened to his heart pounding through his T-shirt and I knew everything was going to be okay now. I had taken the long way around, but I was finally home. To stay.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Darry Curtis
Page Number: 98-99
Explanation and Analysis:

Ponyboy is sitting in a hospital waiting room. He has just been taken there in an ambulance. Hours before, he and Johnny found out that four children had set fire to the church they were hiding out in and were stuck inside. Instead of retreating, Johnny and Ponyboy ran through the flames to rescue them.

Darry and Sodapop arrive at the hospital in tears, hugging Ponyboy, thrilled that he is safe and devastated that he's been hurt. Ponyboy looks at Darry and sees the tears streaming down his face. He hugs him close, and in that moment Ponyboy realizes that Darry's sterness isn't doesn't come from a lack of love, but rather is his way of keeping his brother safe. Every day he must make the choice to mask the grief of losing their parents in order to be the caretaker of Sodapop and Ponyboy. He cannot afford to be the child that Ponyboy and Sodapop are—he must be the parent. This moment begins a healing process for the Curtis boys. It also reveals the level of self-sacrifice Darry has committed to in order to care for his brothers. 


Chapter 9 Quotes
Soda fought for fun, Darry for pride, and Two-Bit for conformity. Why do I fight? I thought, and couldn't think of any real good reason. There isn't any real good reason for fighting except self-defense.
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Darry Curtis, Sodapop Curtis, Two-Bit Mathews
Page Number: 137
Explanation and Analysis:
Just hours before the rumble, Ponyboy and his brothers sit around, eating and prepping for the night ahead. Here, Ponyboy asks the others why they fight. Each boy has a different reason and each reason represents something different about the nature of their gang and their social positions. Darry fights for the pride of his group and the love of his family. Soda loves a good fight. He always seeks adventure. Two-bit just follows the group. Yet when he thinks about his own reasons for fighting, Ponyboy can't figure out why or if he likes it. He realizes how different he is from his fellow gang members. He doesn't want to fight with fists, but hasn't quite figured out how to fight with words. His cohorts seem to know who they are, but Ponyboy is still lost in his search for an identity apart from just a "Greaser." 
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.

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Darry Curtis Character Timeline in The Outsiders

The timeline below shows where the character Darry Curtis appears in The Outsiders. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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...rob, and fight in public. Ponyboy, however, avoids such behavior because his strict older brother Darry would kill him (or his middle brother Sodapop) if they got into trouble. Ponyboy adds... (full context)
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Once it's clear the danger has passed, Darry scolds Ponyboy for walking alone without a weapon. Ponyboy bristles at Darry's words. Sodapop defends... (full context)
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Back at home, Ponyboy works on his homework and thinks about the sacrifices Darry has made: passing up a college scholarship and working construction to support the Curtis family... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Cherry then asks Ponyboy about Darry. Ponyboy responds that Darry doesn't like him. Two-Bit and Johnny are surprised. They had thought... (full context)
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When Ponyboy gets home, Darry is furious at him for losing track of time and arriving so late. Sodapop tries... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...in an abandoned church in the small rural town of Windrixville. He asks Ponyboy if Darry and Sodapop know what happened. Ponyboy tells him not to say anything to Darry. (full context)
Chapter 6
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Soon Sodapop and Darry arrive. Ponyboy and Soda hug. Darry stands apart, and Ponyboy sees that Darry is crying.... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Ponyboy, Darry, and Sodapop wait in the hospital waiting room for news about Johnny and Dally. Reporters... (full context)
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With Sodapop and Darry now in the kitchen too, Ponyboy shares the news that on the previous night he... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...Two-Bit observes that Ponyboy looks pretty sick. Ponyboy asks him not to mention it to Darry, and Two-Bit agrees. On the bus, Two-Bit observes that Darry is stricter with Ponyboy than... (full context)
Chapter 9
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..."future convicts," and that his own brothers and friends are not. He looks over at Darry, and knows that Darry will work his way out of the street life. Ponyboy vows... (full context)
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Darry offers to take on any Soc. A Soc steps forward whom Ponyboy recognizes as a... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...home, Ponyboy tells the other greasers about Johnny's death and Dally's disappearance. The phone rings. Darry picks up the phone—it's Dally. He tells Darry the that he's just robbed a grocery... (full context)
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Ponyboy wakes up at home. He learns from Darry and Sodapop that he suffered a concussion during the rumble and that he was delirious... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...Bob. Randy tries to reason with him, and Ponyboy then denies that Johnny is dead. Darry comes in and suggests that Randy leave, saying in a low voice that Ponyboy is... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...to get through each day. Ponyboy's grades suffer, and he once again begins arguing with Darry, who constantly has to scold him to do his homework. (full context)
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That night, Ponyboy and Darry get into a shouting match over Ponyboy's unwritten essay and his recent lack of motivation.... (full context)
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Ponyboy and Darry catch up with Sodapop in the park. Soda tells them that their fighting is tearing... (full context)