Darry Curtis: ENTJ

Guest post by Andrew, ENTJ

The Outsiders, S. E. Hinton

Extroverted Thinking (Te): Darry is a consummate leader.  Having stepped in as the legal guardian to his two younger brothers, he easily lays down and enforces ground rules.  Although the greasers have no “leader,” official or not, it is Darry who takes up the mantle most often, as he remains cool and logical even when fists are flying all around him.  He desperately wants Ponyboy to succeed in life, and puts a great deal of pressure on him to stay out of trouble and keep his grades up.  Having eschewed the more mainstream road to gain status (a college education), he instead engages in fighting, an activity at which he excels, and which guarantees him social standing among the greasers.

Introverted Intuition (Ni): Darry has a singular focus: he wants Ponyboy to go to college and escape poverty.  All of the rules he sets for Ponyboy are there to prevent him from either getting poor grades or being put in a home for orphaned boys: the two things that could most easily derail his plan.  Darry carefully makes life decisions based on the long-term consequences of his actions; alone of the greasers, he abstains from smoking cigarettes so as to avoid any adverse health effects down the road.

Extroverted Sensing (Se): Darry has much intense physical activity in his life; he makes a living by roofing, and he maintains his social standing by fighting.  As a result of his efforts, Darry is in excellent shape.  His grooming habits reflect his priorities in life; rather than growing his hair out and putting grease in it, which the rest of the greasers do, Darry keeps his hair short, highlighting his professional mentality.  Usually the center of attention in a fight, Darry enjoys being seen beating people up.

Introverted Feeling (Fi): Darry is a loving brother who has made great sacrifices for Ponyboy.  Although very intelligent and studious, he has forgone a college education so that Ponyboy can go to college instead.  However, he is so emotionally distant that at times, Ponyboy thinks Darry doesn’t love him – or worse, resents him.  Darry can react violently when stressed out or insulted; he slaps Ponyboy across the face for staying out too late, and he punches Steve in the jaw for calling him “All Brawn and No Brain.”

Note: Darry is also sometimes typed as ESTJ.  This is a reasonable typing even though it is incorrect.  Darry’s loyalty to his brothers and his gang could be interpreted as Si, while his wish to have Ponyboy avoid pitfalls in his path to college could be seen as Ne (albeit a weak one).  The flaw in this typing is that Darry is focused intensely on the future.  Ponyboy is 14 years old, and Darry wants to see him go to college and get a degree – something that won’t happen for another eight years (maybe more, considering the family’s economic situation), and that nobody in their family has done before.  As stated above, Darry does not set rules merely to assert his authority or enforce the way things have been, but to see that Ponyboy gets the educational opportunities he deserves.



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