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The Outsiders: Violence, Poor Parenting, and Substance Abuse

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Certain social issues are the causes of a broken society and bring pain and sorrow. The Outsiders by S.E Hinton is in Ponyboy’s point of view, after the tragic death of his parents, he is then in the care of his older brothers, Darry and Sodapop. All are in the group that goes by the name of Greasers, there are two gangs, the Greasers and Socs. Throughout the novel, it becomes known that there are certain differences in being a Greaser or a Soc. The Socs are wealthy and dress nice, the Greasers do not dress nice, and the guys wear a lot of grease in their hair, both sides commit crimes but the Socs always get away without leaving the Greasers to blame. People thinking there are huge differences, and the other side being less, it caused deaths, and fighting that will not change anything. Ultimately, in The Outsiders, there are many social issues but the social issues that affect the adolescence are violence, poor parenting/parental neglect, and substance abuse.

To begin with, the first issue in the book that the teens face is violence. For example, when Ponyboy describes “Somebody kicked me hard in the ribs and I yelped in spite of myself…Finally, he kicked me in the head so hard it stunned me, I lay limp, trying to clear my mind and keep from blacking out.” (144, Hinton). This emphasizes how bad the fighting really gets, with possibilities of it getting worse than it already is. It is revealed that in the big rumble, both sides are pointlessly fighting the other side for victory and respect from the side that loses, in the end, it is still most likely going to stay the same way it has always been. The teens face violence that could easily be avoided, and prevent a lot of injuries and death. The teens think violence will fix and resolve the problem when it makes the situation a lot worse. In their mind, fighting is the

Certain social issues are the causes of a broken society and bring pain and sorrow. The Outsiders by S.E Hinton is in Ponyboy’s point of view, after the tragic death of his parents, he is then in the care of his older brothers, Darry and Sodapop. All are in the group that goes by the name of Greasers, there are two gangs, the Greasers and Socs. Throughout the novel, it becomes known that there are certain differences in being a Greaser or a Soc. The Socs are wealthy and dress nice, the Greasers do not dress nice, and the guys wear a lot of grease in their hair, both sides commit crimes but the Socs always get away without leaving the Greasers to blame. People thinking there are huge differences, and the other side being less, it caused deaths, and fighting that will not change anything. Ultimately, in The Outsiders, there are many social issues but the social issues that affect the adolescence are violence, poor parenting/parental neglect, and substance abuse.

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To begin with, the first issue in the book that the teens face is violence. For example, when Ponyboy describes “Somebody kicked me hard in the ribs and I yelped in spite of myself…Finally, he kicked me in the head so hard it stunned me, I lay limp, trying to clear my mind and keep from blacking out.” (144, Hinton). This emphasizes how bad the fighting really gets, with possibilities of it getting worse than it already is. It is revealed that in the big rumble, both sides are pointlessly fighting the other side for victory and respect from the side that loses, in the end, it is still most likely going to stay the same way it has always been. The teens face violence that could easily be avoided, and prevent a lot of injuries and death. The teens think violence will fix and resolve the problem when it makes the situation a lot worse. In their mind, fighting is the only way, the best way and show the other side what they really are, when they could handle problems without conflict. In addition, when Ponyboy thinks, “I’m drowning, I thought, They’ve gone too far… A red haze filled my mind as I slowly relax” (56, Hinton). This is important because as Ponyboy illustrates how he is being drowned by Bob who happens to be a Soc and gets close to passing out. This also exposes on how much the Socs will go as far as killing for having Ponyboy and Johnny hanging out with their girlfriends. After Johnny saves Ponyboy by killing Bob, violence got to the point where it ends in death. The torture that Ponyboy received led to him being saved, this violence also could have been avoided and just been talked out. Violence is so common to everyone and so many regretful things became the result of it all. In conclusion, violence happens so much among the teens that it gets harder to avoid and results with death and harder to deal with.

Another social issue that the teens struggle with is parental neglect and poor parenting. Specifically, when Dallas exclaims “Shoot, my old man don’t give a hang whether I’m in jail or dead in a car wreck or drunk in the gutter.”(88, Hinton). This depicts how his dad in specific does not care if Dallas is dead or not. This displays how Dallas’ father somewhat is neglecting him, it is he has parented Dallas very poorly. The poor parenting Dallas receives from his father is probably what shaped him into the person he ended up being. As a result, that is the most likely the reason why Dallas does so much crime and other bad things, he was not raised well to know manners and how to act right. Moreover, when Ponyboy and Johnny wake up after falling asleep in the lot and Johnny says he is going to sleep in the lot and Ponyboy thinks “Johnny’s parents didn’t care if he came home or not.” (59, Hinton). This hints that if it is not poor parenting it is parental neglection that a child is dealing with, it is always something, even if it is not as major as poor parenting or being neglected by parents. It alludes to Johnny would rather stay and sleep in the lot than go home to his parents. Johnny is abused at home, and it is bad to the point where Johnny would rather not be at home and sleep outside in the cold. Being so poorly treated has caused him sleeping outside or not being home a normal thing. All in all, in the book another issue the teens, struggle with parental neglection or poor parenting, that it is normal to face for the teens.

Lastly, the most destructive social issue the teen’s experience is substance abuse. To illustrate, when Ponyboy thinks, “Everybody in our neighborhood, even the girls smoked….Johnny had been smoking since he was nine, Steve started at 11.” (97, Hinton). It becomes known that smoking at a very young age is not uncommon or not unnatural to them. They abuse the act of smoking; smoking is so normally done to relax or calm them down. In fact, Darry does not smoke for the sake of keeping good health, everyone else justs smoke without thinking of the consequences, they do not think it is wrong. Especially that they start so young, they fall more into the risk of getting addicted as they grow, which can cause a lot more complications. It is good that Darry does not smoke because he wants to stay in good health, but everyone else starting young, their health will be terrible in the future. Furthermore, when Ponyboy observes “Five Socs were coming straight at us, and from the way they were staggering I figured they were reeling pickled… They smelled so heavily of whiskey and English leather I almost choked”(54, Hinton). As Ponyboy emphasizes the five Socs going towards him and Johnny, that they’re drunk. As it was explained they are in Greaser territory, it portrays what people will and can do when drunk. It is so off-putting to know is the people that sold beer to underage kids, not caring about all the possibilities of it going terribly wrong. Thus, the last but one of the biggest social issue the teens in the book go through substance abuse; Substance abuse is so destructive, it caused the teens death and misery.

In conclusion, the adolescence is badly affected by the issues of substance abuse, violence, parental neglect or poor parenting, All because the two sides thought they were so different. Especially the Socs; they thought the Greasers were less than them. The only difference was the Greasers living in poverty. Violence, abuse of the substance, parental neglect and poor parenting is what impacted things terribly. In the end, no matter how many tragic events occurred, the pointless fighting will never stop. The violence and murder will continue; Teens will get drunk and go out driving, smoke and pop pills, poor parenting and neglection will happen to much more children. Peace and living equally in a clean world is something they will never experience.

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The Outsiders: Violence, Poor Parenting, and Substance Abuse. (2022, July 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 28, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-outsiders-violence-poor-parenting-and-substance-abuse/
“The Outsiders: Violence, Poor Parenting, and Substance Abuse.” Edubirdie, 08 Jul. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-outsiders-violence-poor-parenting-and-substance-abuse/
The Outsiders: Violence, Poor Parenting, and Substance Abuse. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-outsiders-violence-poor-parenting-and-substance-abuse/> [Accessed 28 Jan. 2023].
The Outsiders: Violence, Poor Parenting, and Substance Abuse [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 08 [cited 2023 Jan 28]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-outsiders-violence-poor-parenting-and-substance-abuse/
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