The Outsiders

S. E. Hinton

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Chapter 10

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 10 of S. E. Hinton's novel The Outsiders.

The Outsiders | Chapter 10 | Summary



Dally's sudden departure leaves Ponyboy stranded at the hospital, a long way from home. Ponyboy wanders around in a stupor until finally a stranger gives him a ride home. The stranger informs Ponyboy he is bleeding from the head, which Ponyboy had not realized. When he arrives home, Steve, Two-Bit, and Ponyboy's brothers are all recuperating in the living room. Ponyboy breaks the news that Johnny is dead and Dally has bolted.

The phone rings and Darry answers it, listens briefly, then hangs up. He tells the others it was Dally, who has just robbed a grocery store and is fleeing from the cops. They are to meet him at the vacant lot and try to hide him. In various states of injury and illness, the guys run over to the lot. Ponyboy can't seem to "run in a straight line," and his vision is blurry. Dally runs into the lot, but the cops pull over right behind him. Dally pulls the unloaded gun he has been carrying from his waistband. The police open fire, killing Dally, who dies "with a look of grim triumph on his face."

Ponyboy passes out. When he finally wakes up, both his brothers are with him. Darry tells him it's Tuesday and he's "been asleep and delirious since Saturday night," but Ponyboy has no recollection of those lost days, or of his hospital stay, which Darry also has to convey to him. Darry, who knew Ponyboy was in no condition to participate in a rumble, explains that Ponyboy is suffering from a concussion, exhaustion, and shock. Darry gives Johnny's copy of Gone with the Wind to Ponyboy because Johnny had told the nurses he wanted Ponyboy to have it, but Ponyboy can't bring himself to even touch it. Darry offers to make him some soup, but both Ponyboy and Soda fall back to sleep before Darry returns with the food.


Ponyboy understands that "Dally Winston wanted to be dead and he always got what he wanted." Ponyboy contrasts the deaths of his two friends: one went out like a hero, "the other a hoodlum." Ponyboy knows "there wouldn't be any editorials" in the newspaper for Dally, who "died violent and young and desperate, just like we all knew he'd die someday." Yet Ponyboy remembers Dally giving them a loaded gun for protection at the risk of being thrown in jail. He remembers Dally trying to pull Johnny out the window of a burning building, and putting out the flames on Ponyboy's back. Dally is a hero, just as Johnny is a hero, but Dally will be remembered by others as a juvenile delinquent.

Though depressed and anxious, Johnny served as a lynchpin of the greasers. He was the rallying point around which all the other guys gathered and fought the injustices served up to them on a daily basis. Johnny was even able to make Dally feel something, to connect Dally with the world. When Dally loses his only anchor, he ricochets around like a loose bullet, until he finally settles into some antisocial behavior. By robbing the grocery store, and especially when he pulls an unloaded gun on several police officers, Dally writes his own death sentence.

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