Ponyboy Curtis - The novel\'s narrator and protagonist, a young greaser who loves reading, sunsets, and poetry. Ponyboy is raised by his brothers Darry and Sodapop following the deaths of their parents in a car accident, and belongs to the gang of greasers that also includes Two-Bit, Steve, Johnny, and Dally. Throughout the novel, Ponyboy contends internally with the same themes of class division, human commonality, violence, innocence, and family love that preoccupy the story itself. After Johnny\'s and Dally\'s deaths, he must learn to appreciate the full value of his family, and to maintain his innocence despite the unending conflict between the greasers and the Socs.
Johnny Cade - Ponyboy\'s friend, a sensitive, innocent greaser who comes from a broken and abusive home. With his wide, fearful eyes, Johnny represents a lost innocence to the other members of the gang, especially to Dally.
Dallas Winston (Dally) - The toughest hood in Ponyboy\'s group of greasers, a hardened teen who used to run with gangs in New York. Dally represents the ultimate effect of life on the streets, a character so savvy and tough that he is all but dead inside. Dally clings to humanity only in his love for Johnny; when Johnny dies, Dally is unable to go on, and is killed by the police soon after.
Sodapop Curtis (Soda) - Ponyboy\'s happy-go-lucky, handsome older brother, who raises Ponyboy along with Darry.
Darrell Curtis (Darry) - Darry is Ponyboy\'s oldest brother, a twenty-year-old greaser who raises Ponyboy after their parents die in a car crash. Strong, athletic, and intelligent, Darry works two jobs to hold the family together. Once a high- school football star, Darry has sacrificed everything for his brothers. In the scheme of the narrative, he represents familial love and sacrifice.
Two-Bit Mathews - The joker of Ponyboy\'s group, a wisecracking greaser who loves to steal things. Two-Bit\'s prized possession is his sleek black-handled switchblade.
Steve Randle - Sodapop\'s best friend, a cocky member of Ponyboy\'s gang who wishes Ponyboy would not tag along so often with Steve and Soda.
Cherry Valance - Bob\'s girlfriend, a Soc cheerleader whom Ponyboy meets at the movies. Ponyboy and Cherry have a great deal in common--they both love sunsets, for instance--and it is largely through Cherry that Ponyboy begins to realize that the greasers and the Socs are not irrevocably different, after all.
Randy Adderson - Marcia\'s boyfriend and Bob\'s best friend, a handsome Soc who realizes the futility of fighting after Bob\'s death. Along with Cherry, Randy helps to represent the human side of the Socs in the novel--he is not cruel or violent, and tries to befriend Ponyboy after Ponyboy saves the children from the fire.
Bob Sheldon - Cherry\'s boyfriend, the Soc who beat up Johnny before the start of the novel, and whom Johnny kills to save Ponyboy\'s life in the park. Bob\'s most distinctive characteristic is his set of three heavy rings, which he wears when he fights greasers.
Marcia - Cherry\'s friend and Randy\'s girlfriend, a pretty Soc who befriends Two-Bit at the movies.
Jerry Wood - The teacher who accompanies Ponyboy to the hospital after Ponyboy saves the children from the fire.
Tim Shepherd - The leader of another band of greasers, and a friend of Dally Winston. The Shepherd gang participates in the rumble with the Socs.
Sandy - Sodapop\'s girlfriend, who becomes pregnant with another man\'s child and moves to Florida to live with her grandmother.