Johnny Cade's character traits in S.E. Hinton's "The Outsiders" include bravery, loyalty and selflessness. He stands up for what he believes in, takes responsibility for his actions, finds a surrogate family in his gang and realizes that violence does not solve anything.
Johnny Cade is broken, first by parents who verbally and physically abuse him, as well as by members of the Socs, a rival gang. He craves family and finds it with the greasers. Ponyboy believes that without his friends, Johnny would never have known what love and affection are. Johnny hides his vulnerability under a facade of false bravado and is loyal to his gang, the Greasers, but stands up to them when he thinks he should and refuses to let them take the fall for his actions.
After accidentally killing Bob, one of the Socs, Johnny hides, taking Ponyboy with him. Their friends think that Johnny should lay low for a while to get himself out of trouble. Because doing so affects Ponyboy, Johnny decides to turn himself in, proving his loyalty. Before he did, he, Ponyboy and their friend Dally selflessly rescue a group of children trapped in a burning building. Though Johnny realizes that a rumble between the two gangs is not a way to resolve their issues, he cannot stop it from happening. He dies a hero, knowing how much he means to his gang.