Pony describes dysfunctional families are one of the main breaks he and his friends have faced.
After getting into a fight with Johnny, Pony complains that the greasers have gotten all of the bad breaks.
"It ain't fair!" I cried passionately. "It ain't fair that we have all the rough breaks!"… Things were rough all over, all right. All over the East Side. It just didn't seem right to me. (Ch. 3, p. 43)
Pony describes how Johnny’s father is a drunkard who beats him. Pony’s own parents are both dead, and his older brother Darry takes care of him and his brother Sodapop. Two-bit’s mother had to work as a barmaid after his father ran out on them, and Dally had to become a “hoodlum” because there was no other alternative. By contrast, the Socs live the high life.
It is true that Pony has a good experience with Cherry, where he learns that even rich kids have problems. However, he does not think their problems compare to his. Things are rough all over, but they are rougher in his neighborhood.
Although the greasers have a reputation for being rough, these hoodrats are actually good kids who have had difficult lives. The broken families do not leave them a lot of options.