The Outsiders Major Characters
Ponyboy Curtis: A dreamy fourteen year old boy who belongs to a gang of greasers. He is the most thoughtful of his gang, and the story is told from his point of view. He wonders why life is so much more difficult for him and his friends than it is for their rivals, the Socs. He wishes his parents were alive again to take care of him. He loves his brother Sodapop, who is kind and loving and understanding, but he doesn't get along with his older brother Darry, who he sees as a bully. Though he wants to be part of the gang, he doesn't always agree with their violent ways: he is quiet and shy, and prefers talking to a Soc named Cherry about sunsets. He knows he is innocent and naïve--he doesn't always know what to do or say--but he believes it is important to be tough, and to belong. Still, he doesn't take his situation for granted: when Johnny and Dally die, he writes the story of their lives--which becomes the book The Outsiders.
Sodapop Curtis: Ponyboy and Darry's brother. Sodapop is sixteen and very likable: he is handsome, kind, fun-loving and understanding. He loves horses and wants to take care of Ponyboy. He hates it when Ponyboy and Darry fight. He wants to marry his girlfriend Sandy, even when he finds out she is pregnant by another man, but she rejects him. Even then, however, he is pretty easy-going. He is hurt by Sandy, but he is able to forget her. He has no attention span and tons of energy.
Darrel ('Darry') Curtis: Twenty years old and the head of the family since their parents died, Darry is overworked and overserious. He desperately wants Ponyboy to have the opportunities he doesn't have, so he pushes him until he begins to act like a bully. Still, he loves both his brothers. Taking care of them is his greatest priority. He likes to fight because he likes feeling strong (which he is). He is also very handsome, like Sodapop.
Johnny Cade: Small, frightened, and childlike, Johnny is the baby of the gang even though he isn't the youngest. His parents abuse him, and the gang always wants to take care of him. No one can get mad at him, not even Dally. He is one of Pony's closest friends. They look at sunsets together, and talk about poetry--something neither of them can do with anyone else. Johnny understands why Pony likes Cherry Valance. He rescues children from the burning church and thinks it's worth it when he dies from his injuries.
Dallas ('Dally') Winston: Tough and angry, Dallas is the most dangerous member of the gang. He lived as a serious criminal in New York City for a while. Though he cares about Johnny, he believes it is important to be tough and mean so that you won't get hurt, so he tries not to be emotional about anything. However, he is so hurt by Johnny's death that he gets himself killed.
Steve Randle: Soda's best friend, and a member of the Curtis brothers gang. Steve can be sensitive--he cries when Dally dies--but he usually just tries to be tough. He thinks of Ponyboy as a baby, calling him a tag-along when Soda invites Pony places. Because of this, Pony sometimes hates him.
Two-Bit Mathews: A member of the Curtis brothers gang. Two-Bit, whose real name is Keith, loves to tell jokes--he can't help himself. Pony likes him because he is both funny and realistic. He can take a simple fact and see the funny side of it.
Cherry Valance: Bob's girlfriend. From the first moment they meet, Pony and Cherry realize they have a lot in common. They are both smart and like poetry and sunsets. Neither of them like fights. Still, Cherry tells Pony she cannot be his friend, because they are from different social classes. However, once Bob is killed, she becomes a spy for the greasers, telling them what the Socs will do next.
Tim Shepard : An associate of Ponyboy's gang, if not a friend. Tim is likable, but his gang is violent and more uncontrollable than Ponyboy's. They are only part of the same crowd because they are both poor and they both hate the Socs. They just use Tim's gang as backup when they need them--although Dally and Tim are close.
Bob: Cherry's boyfriend, Randy's best friend. Bob wears several rings on his hands and he uses them to beat Johnny very badly. When he tries to drown Pony after Pony talks to Cherry, Johnny stabs him to death. Though all the greasers hate Bob at first, Pony begins to understand that Bob was not all bad. He had problems like everyone else. Pony knows that there must be a reason why Cherry and Randy liked him.
Randy: Bob's friend. After Bob dies, Randy wants the fighting to stop forever. Though he used to help Bob beat up greasers, after Bob dies he visits Ponyboy when he is sick and talks to him like a friend. He also refuses to fight in the rumble.
Buck Merril: Dallas' friend. Ponyboy has promised never to go near this cowboy/criminal, and he has no problem with that. He doesn't like anything about Buck, including his taste in music. Still, after Pony and Johnny kill Bob and need to see Dallas, they go to Buck because they know Dallas is with him.