Characters / The Outsiders
The main protagonist of the book. His parents died when he was younger, so he lives with his two brothers, Sodapop and Darry. He's fourteen, and very intelligent; he even skipped a grade. Played by C. Thomas Howell
in the film.
Sixteen years old and Pony's best friend. Both of his parents are abusive, and his real family is the gang. Played by Ralph Macchio in the film.
- Abusive Parents: His father beats him every time Johnny is home and his mother ignores him.
- Beware the Nice Ones / Beware the Quiet Ones
- Break the Cutie: Four months before the start of the story, Johnny got jumped by four Socs and got badly beaten, since then, Ponyboy describes him as being constantly jumpy and is very sensitive.
- The Chick
- Hero Worship: As stated by Ponyboy, Johnny completely idolizes Dally.
- Heroic Sacrifice: It was ultimately the fire rescue which killed him, that helped increase his and Ponyboy's chances of getting cleared of the murder charges that would have put Johnny in jail and Ponyboy into a boy's home.
- I Didn't Mean to Kill Him: Bob. Good thing he did though, or else Pony would be dead instead.
- In-Series Nickname: Johnnycake.
- Team Pet: Described as being the gang's and, separately, Dally's pet.
- Tempting Fate: Not that Johnny himself ever did, but it is mentioned a few times throughout the novel that the gang couldn't get along without Johnny. Look at what happens after he dies.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: He's undoubtedly more pure of heart than just about everyone else in the story, and ultimately dies from his injuries saving children from a burning building.
Pony's older brother, the middle child. Though smart and handsome, he's a dropout who works at the same gas station as his older brother, Darry. Played by Rob Lowe
in the film.
Darrel "Darry" Curtis
Pony and Soda's oldest brother, who took over the family after the death of their parents. He's often a jerk to Ponyboy, but this is really just how he expresses his feelings. Played by Patrick Swayze
in the film.
- Adult Fear: Ponyboy running away. Made worse when he meets up with Johnny, get’s jumped by Socs, accidentally gets caught up in a murder, and has to run from the law.
- Anti-Hero: Though less so in the film.
- Big Brother Instinct: Though Pony has his doubts that it’s really there.
- Big Good: As the oldest greaser, he's the unofficial leader.
- Blessed with Suck: Multiple times, Ponyboy mentions that the only thing that separates Darry from being a Soc is the gang, and because of their parents dying, he couldn't go to college, and had to look after Pony and Soda.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's tough on his brother and seems to view him as an annoyance, but he does love him and watches out for him.
- The Leader
- Papa Wolf
- Promotion to Parent
- Team Dad: Team Big Brother is probably more appropriate, but all the other greasers, even Dallas, look up to him as a leader.
Dallas "Dally" Winston
The roughest member of the gang, who has also been to prison the most. He's Johnny's idol. In the film, he's played by Matt Dillon.
Keith "Two-Bit" Mathews
Another member of the Greaser's gang. Played by Emilio Estevez in the film.
Another member of the gang, who has been Soda's best friend for as long as he can remember. He doesn't particularly like Ponyboy, but he's not a jerkass
. Played by Tom Cruise
in the movie.
A high school cheerleader who Johnny and Pony meet at the movies. She takes a liking to Ponyboy, stating that he's not like other Greasers, and this was enough to eventually open her eyes to what they are really like. Dated Bob before he was killed by Johnny.
Played by Diane Lane in the film.
Cherry Valance's boyfriend before he attempts to jump Pony and Johnny, and ends up getting killed by the latter.
Played by Leif Garrett in the film.
Bob's best friend, and one of the boys from the group of Socs that jumped Johnny on the night that Bob was killed.
He refused to participate in the rumble. Played by Darren Dalton in the film.
- Dirty Coward: A possible interpretation.
- Heel–Face Turn: The day before the rumble, Randy seeks out Ponyboy to tell him that he (Randy) will not be participating. Not only that, but he practically pours his heart out to the younger boy, admitting that the Soc-Greaser feud is nothing but an exercise in futility and that he's so sick of all the fighting that he's ready to leave town.
- Hidden Depths: He's not just some jerkass with nothing to do but jump Greasers.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Possibly...? If any of the Socs reach this level, it's him (aside from Marcia and Cherry). He didn't stop David from almost drowning Ponyboy, but Bob's murder definitely triggers something inside of him.
A friend of Darry's while he was in high school. They were both on the football team, but he was able to go to college when Darry wasn't, and they now hate each other. Darry was able to release his jealousy on him during the rumble.
- Face–Heel Turn: This is implied, as he and Darry used to be friends, but after years without seeing each other, they end up facing off at the rumble instead of making up.
- Informed Ability: The whole reputation of Paul playing on the same football team with Darry implies that he is just as tough as Darry. Yet Darry lays him out in the first few punches before he runs away.
- Jerk Jock
Cherry's best friend and Randy's (possibly former) girlfriend. She was with Cherry at the movie theater when they met Pony and Johnny.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: She only appears once in the beginning of the book before disappearing. She does, however, reappear in the short-lived TV series.