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I won't attempt to actually go back and count the number of times the various characters meet in a family atmosphere in The Outsiders. Aside from the parentless Curtis family, there are not really many examples of family gatherings. Johnny mentions his family a few times, but there are actually no scenes where they are together except when his mother comes to see him in the hospital. Dally has no family living with him in Tulsa. None of the other greasers' families are mentioned much; Tim Shepard discusses his brother, Curly, but he is in a reformatory and not actually present in the novel. The Soc, Randy, talks about his father following Bob's death, but it is only in passing.
There are quite a few scenes in which the three Curtis brothers--Ponyboy, Sodapop and Darry--are together. Despite the fact that their parents have been killed, this threesome constitutes the only real family in the novel. Of course, the greasers talk about how their gang is like a family, so Johnny, Steve and Two-Bit (and to some extent Dally) are extended members. Pony also reminisces about his parents on several occasions.
I will discuss two scenes from this book that have to do with family.
The first is where Johnny's mother comes to the hospital and wants to see him. He refuses to see her. She is complaining to the nurse about how much trouble Johnny is to raise and how ungrateful he is. This shows that family is not really a good thing necessarily -- that your own blood kin can be really bad to you.
The other scene is where Pony is talking to Soda. He is worried that he did not ask for Darry while he was delirious. He is worried that Darry will feel bad about it. This shows the opposite of the other scene. It shows how people who care about each other are supposed to act -- they are supposed to care first about the other person, not about themselves the way Johnny's mother does.
Family in the book is not constructed as the nuclear family. Pony Boy, Soda Pop, and Darry have lost their parents who had died in a car accident. Yet, Darry and Soda Pop share in the responsibility of supporting the household and ensuring that Pony Boy goes to school and gets his education. They have a home that welcomes the other neighborhood boys into it because the boys do not have a place where the bonds feel as strong or safe. They argue but they work together when necessary to survive and love is present.
Johnny has a dysfunctional violent household with no warmth or affection evident within the home setting. He tries to escape from his home as often as he cane which has also made him vulnerable to attacks from the Socs when he was off alone.
Bob, one of the Socs who terrorizes the Greasers, was an only child from two parents. His family had money and gave him whatever he wanted. His mother had trouble setting limits for him, but he appeared to have been loved.
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