Compare and contrast Angela and Cathy's families. Do you think their families and home environments make a difference in the way the girls turn out?

Expert Answers
teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Cathy and Angela's home environments are polar opposites, and they definitely influence how the girls turn out.

In the story, the protagonist, Bryon, becomes infatuated with Cathy Carlson and ends up dating her. Previously, Bryon had dated the impetuous Angela Shepard. Bryon enjoys his time at Cathy's house because her family is so different from Angela's. 

Bryon relates that Angela's family members often engaged in violent fights with each other. In contrast, Cathy's family members are respectful and kind toward each other. Both Angela and Cathy are the products of their home environment. During dates, Angela preferred to engage in only one of two activities: making out or fighting. Bryon admits that his dates with Angela became boring after a while.

Because of the dysfunctional family dynamics in her home, Angela tended to approach relationships from a shallow and even antagonistic perspective. She had designs on Ponyboy Curtis even while she dated Bryon. After Bryon and Angela broke up, Angela boasted that Bryon would return to her.

Later, Bryon discovers that her boast was a ploy to cover up her embarrassment at having been rejected by Ponyboy Curtis. Angela had also instigated a fight between Ponyboy and another boy in order to get Ponyboy's attention.

During his time with her, Bryon notes that Angela was a compulsive drinker, and this made their dates very expensive. Angela's predilections may stem from the fact that her father also drank excessively. Angela later marries, but her husband appears to be a ne'er-do-well. 

After Bryon breaks up with Angela, he dates Cathy for a time. Although he and Cathy do part ways eventually, Bryon notes that Cathy was quite unlike the avaricious and aggressive Angela. Accordingly, both Angela and Cathy's home environments definitely influenced how the girls turned out.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Angela and Cathy live drastically different lives in the novel That Was Then, This Is Now. Although Cathy's family is poor, she has loving parents and siblings who care about her. Cathy's family supports one another, and her parents encourage their children to get good grades. In contrast, Angela comes from an unstructured household and is continually fighting with her parents and siblings. Bryon mentions that he hated visiting Angela's home and feels more comfortable at the Carlson household. In my opinion, Cathy and Angela's family environments affect their personalities. Cathy is laid back, kind, and intelligent. Her attitude reflects the fact that she was raised by easygoing, respectful individuals. Angela's confrontational, tough personality was shaped by her home environment. Angela has developed into a negative, bitter individual because she grew up in a household where arguments and fighting were common.

Read the study guide:
That Was Then, This Is Now

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question