The Outsiders


S. E. Hinton

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Themes and Colors
Divided Communities Theme Icon
Empathy Theme Icon
Preserving Childhood Innocence Theme Icon
Self-Sacrifice and Honor Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Outsiders, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Self-Sacrifice and Honor Theme Icon

Despite the greasers' reputation as heartless young criminals, they live by a specific and honorable code of friendship, and there are many instances in which gang and family members make selfless choices. These choices often reflect a desire to make life better for the next generation of youths. Darry forfeited a college scholarship for a full-time manual labor job in order to support his younger brothers. Dally, who seems not to care about anything, demonstrates great loyalty to and compassion for his friends and for strangers in need. He helps Johnny and Ponyboy slip away to the rural town of Windrixville after Bob's stabbing, and he plays a key role in the church fire rescue. Dally's death is the ultimate tribute to Johnny, without whom life seemed meaningless. Ponyboy's essay is a different and perhaps more powerful response to Johnny's death. He honors both of his deceased friends by telling their story, an act of generosity intended to benefit the greater community.

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Self-Sacrifice and Honor ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Self-Sacrifice and Honor appears in each chapter of The Outsiders. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Self-Sacrifice and Honor Quotes in The Outsiders

Below you will find the important quotes in The Outsiders related to the theme of Self-Sacrifice and Honor.
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, 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:
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:
Chapter 7 Quotes
I stared at the newspaper. On the front page of the second section was the headline: JUVENILE DELINQUENTS TURN HEROES.
"What I like is the 'turn' bit," Two-Bit said. ... "Y'all were heroes from the beginning. You just didn't 'turn' all of a sudden."
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Johnny Cade, Two-Bit Mathews
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:
"You would have saved those kids if you had been there," I said. "You'd have saved them the same as we did."
"Thanks, grease," he said, trying to grin. Then he stopped. "I didn't mean that. I meant, thanks, kid."
"My name's Ponyboy," I said. "Nice talking to you, Randy."
Related Characters: Ponyboy Curtis (speaker), Randy Adderson (speaker)
Page Number: 117
Explanation and Analysis:
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:
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: