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Dally does not scare him but rather fascinates him, and he holds a romanticized vision of Dally as an honorable Southern gentleman.
By comparing Dally to a character in a book, Johnny becomes able to understand him.
A greaser, on the other hand, might have different ideas about social mobility.
A poor youth from the East Side like Ponyboy would be more likely to imagine shedding the greaser lifestyle to pursue higher goals and improve his social status. As Ponyboy sits in the hospital and watches Johnny dying, he muses on the fragility of group cohesion.
Ponyboy comes to this conclusion at the end of the novel, as Johnny is dying.
He understands Johnny’s value only when he is about to lose Johnny, which amplifies the pain of the loss.
His words speak to an important idea in the novel—the futility of the recurring Soc-greaser violence.
Johnny now senses the uselessness of fighting; he knows that Ponyboy is better than the average hoodlum, and he wants Ponyboy to hold onto the golden qualities that set him apart from his companions.He realizes that, even though the two groups have unequal lifestyles, attitudes, and financial situations, they nevertheless live in the same world, beneath the same sun.