The narrator of [I]The Outsiders, Ponyboy is fourteen years old and a greaser. He has "light-brown, almost-red hair and greenish-gray eyes," and wears his hair "longer than a lot of boys wear theirs, squared off in the back and long at the front and sides."
Ponyboy's second-oldest brother, who is sixteen. Ponyboy describes him as "always happy-go-lucky and grinning." He is extraordinarily handsome with a "finely drawn, sensitive face that somehow manages to be reckless and thoughtful at the same time."
Ponyboy's oldest brother, who is twenty. He works as a roofer. Ponyboy describes him as someone who is "hard and firm and rarely grins at all," in contrast to Soda. He has "grown up too fast." He was the captain of the football team in high school and won a college scholarship, but had to work to take care of the family.
Two-Bit, whose real name is Keith, earned his nickname because "you couldn't shut that guy up; he always had to get hsi two-bits worth in." He is the oldest member of the the greaser gang, and "the wisecracker of the bunch." He is famous for shop-lifting everything he can, including his black-handled switchblade, which he is also known for. As Ponyboy describes him, "He was about six feet tall, stocky in build, and very proud of his long rusty-colored sideburns. He had gray eyes and a wide grin, and he couldn't stop making funny remarks to save his life... He liked fights, blondes, and for some unfathomable reason, school."
Dally's real name is Dallas Winston, and he is the toughest member of the greaser gang. Ponyboy describes him as having "an elfish face, with high cheekbones and a pointed chin, small, sharp animal teeth, and ears like a lynx. His hair was almost white it was so blond, and he didn't like haircuts, or hair oil either, so it fell over his forehead in wisps and kicked out in the back in tufts and curled behind his ears and along the nape of his neck. His eyes were blue, blazing ice, cold with a hatred of the whole world."
He is a jockey, and surprisingly doesn't fix races; it's "the only thing Dally did honestly." Although he is only seventeen years old, "the fight for self-preservation had hardened him beyond caring."
Johnny Cade is the second-youngest in the greaser gang, besides Ponyboy. He is "smaller than the rest, with a slight build. He had big black eyes in a dark tanned face; his hair was jet-black and heavily greased and combed to the side, but it was so long that it fell in shaggy bangs across his forehead. He had a nervous, suspicious look in his eyes... He was the gang's pet, everyone's kid brother."
But after being beaten badly by the Socs four months before the action of the story commences, he is "jumpier than ever." He was always "high-strung," living in a household where his parents beat him all the time. When the Socs attack him and Ponyboy, he kills Bob to stop them from drowning Ponyboy.
Soda's girlfriend. "Her hair was natural blond and her laugh was soft, like her china-blue eyes. She didn't have a real good home or anything and was our kind-greaser-but she was a real nice girl."
Soda's best friend, but Ponyboy doesn't like him much. He is "seventeen, tall and lean," cocky, and smart.
Ponyboy's father died in a car accident eight months ago. He remembers his father as looking just like Darry, with "dark-brown hair that kicks out in front and a slight cowlick in the back."
Steve Randle's girlfriend. She cried when Steve went to jail, before the story starts.
Cherry is a redhead Soc girl, Bob's girlfriend, whom Ponyboy meets at the drive-in when Dally is bothering her and Marcia. In their first one-on-one interaction, Ponyboy realizes how much principle means to Cherry: "Cherry had said she wouldn't drink Dally's Coke if she was starving, and she meant it. It was the principle of the thing. But Marcia saw no reason to throw away a perfectly good, free Coke."
Cherry Valance's friend, whom Ponyboy and Johnny meet at the drive-in theater. She is "a little smaller than Cherry" and "cute," with "short dark hair."
Dally's sometime girlfriend. When he was in reform school, she had "started hanging onto Johnny and sweet-talking him," but Steve told her to stay away from Johnny for Johnny's sake. In Chapter 1, we find out that Dally has broken up with her for cheating on him while he was in jail.
Cherry Valance's Soc boyfriend, whom Johnny Cade kills to defend Ponyboy. He is handsome, with black hair, and wears three heavy rings; he used them before the story started to cut up Johnny's face.
Marcia's Soc boyfriend, and Bob's best friend. He is "a tall guy with a semi-Beatle haircut."
Ponyboy's Mom was killed in a car accident eight months ago, with his Father. She had the ability to make people smile no matter what. She used to be able to talk to Dally Winston and keep him out of trouble. Ponyboy describes her as "golden and beautiful..."
One of Bob and Randy's friends, he is the Soc who tries to drown Ponyboy in the fountain in Chapter 4.
Dally's rodeo partner, in his mid-twenties, a "tall lanky cowboy with blond hair," who used to have buckteeth before they were knocked out in a fight. Ponyboy and Johnny find Dally at Buck's house the night Johnny kills Bob. He loves Hank Williams.
One of the schoolteachers who was picnicking with children when the church caught on fire. He stays with Ponyboy in the hospital, and doesn't "seem to mind our being hoods."
One of the schoolteachers who was picnicking with the children when the church caught on fire.
Tim Shepard's little brother, "a tough, cool, hard-as-nails Tim in miniature... an average downtown hood, tough and not real bright." At the time of the rumble, he is in the reformatory.
The leader of the other main Greaser gang. He is a "lean, catlike eighteen-year-old who looked like the model JD you see in movies and magazines. He had the right curly black hair, smoldering dark eyes, and a long scar from temple to chin where a tramp had belted him with a broken pop bottle. He had a tough, hard look to him and his nose had been broken twice." Ponyboy compares him to Dally because they both like being hoods, and because they have the same "grim and bitter" smile.
Ponyboy's English teacher, who assigns the semester theme that becomes The Outsiders.
The Outsiders Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Outsiders is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
The two gangs live in a vicious circle that thrives on conflict and challenge. It's part of who they are, and it's what they do..... the don't know how to step out of the circle and continue to hold onto what they believe is their honor.
Ponyboy really doesn't fit the greaser mode. He's smart, an avid reader, and he wants an education. He resents what he sees as Darry's hovering but later understands it. Ponyboy doesn't love their environment or even want the experiences he faces...