The Character of Johnny Cade in the Novel The Outsider by S.E. Hinton

Johnny Cade is portrayed as a sensitive 16 year old teenage, who is a morally good person with bravery and courage, but has fought trouble on his own within the novel, “The Outsider”. The author, S.E.Hinton communicates to the reader in the matter of what sacrifices an individual can make to save someone else, someone who is good but experiences tragic and someone who has died , all through the actions of Johnny. This considers Johnny a “tragic hero” as well as possessing a “tragic flaw” which ultimately leads to his downfall throughout the novel.

A character’s life can be affected by the sacrifices they make to save someone else, other than themselves. Johnny will do anything to save the ones he loves, no matter the sacrifices. At the beginning of the novel Johnny accidentally killed Bob, a member of the Soc’s gang to save Ponyboy’s life, “You really killed him, huh, Johhny?” (pg. 44). This shows courage and bravery towards Ponyboy, as well as positioning Johnny, the hero into a tragedy phase. This shows a morally good person, whose life be can impacted by the wrong doings others.

It was clear through the novel that a good person can experience a tragic in their lives. Johnny had a strong history of feeling rejection and negativity from his parents and so he intended to become a valuable family member of the Greasers, a gang who is stereotypical seen as dirty troublemakers. At the beginning of the novel, Johnny is described as a miserable character, wanting the attention of love, “His father was always beating him up, and his mother ignored him” (pg. 11). This demonstrates why he would run away from his folks several times, and the gang would always be there to support him. This positions Johnny to see that knowingly making a decision to save others which could lead to death, is a tragic hero.

Johnny’s life risking decisions can affect the way others see them and the consequences he will have to uptake. After Johnny and Ponyboy bravely rescues the children from the burning Church, Johnny purposely chose to save Ponyboy first then himself from the potential timber which was about to crash. Johnny shoved Ponyboy towards the window, “Get out!” (pg. 72). Throughout the novel Johnny’s choices and actions towards Ponyboy shows how loyal he is to him. In this way, we all see Johnny is the biggest “tragic hero” who possesses a “tragic flaw”.

All though the Johnny’s experiences in the novel, the author has made it clear a person who saves others, possibly goes through a downfall. The choices that Johnny makes influence his life by the sacrifices he makes, the tragic events he faces and the possibility of dying from being a hero. The author successfully communicates to the reader every hero faces a downfall.

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