Forever Curtis Brothers vs. Foster Care

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In the United States, there are 443,000 children who, instead of being safely reunified with their families, are suffering in foster care. One such novel that features this topic is S.E. Hinton’s classic and captivating novel The Outsiders. The story takes place in 1965 in a rival town called Tulsa, Oklahoma. It features the tale of two enemy gangs, the Greasers and Socs. Aristotle, an ancient greek philosopher, believed every successful argument relied on three pillars: ethos, pathos, and logos. 

Ethos is an element of persuasive writing or a speech that appeal to the audience’s ethics. Pathos is a technique used to appeal to the audience’s emotions. Logos is a device that convinces the audience by employing reason or logic. All of these pillars of persuasion apply to the argument that the Curtis Brothers should stay together as a family. The Curtis brothers should remain together as a family because Darry meets the standards of being a qualified guardian, the boys should not have to experience another loss, and the foster care system will negatively impact them.

First, the Curtis brothers should remain together because Darry meets the standards of a qualified guardian. In modern-day society, if someone is seen as an unfit guardian, they would be perceived as an irresponsible individual who is not capable of taking care of another human. However, if someone is seen as a fit guardian, who loves their child and provides emotional support and a structured home life, there is no reason for society to question that parent’s actions. In the novel, Darry is not a legal guardian for he is only twenty: he needs to be twenty-one in order to take care of other individuals. Also, Darry has not gone to the court or a judge to be officially declared the guardian of his brothers. However, Darry is most certainly a good guardian because he is a mature and responsible young adult. 

According to the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, some of the responsibilities of a legal guardian is to “supply the Protected Minor with proper care, including food, shelter, clothing, and all incidental necessities; appropriate residence; support; and education, including training for employment, if applicable” ( It is evident that Darry is a responsible guardian. In fact, Darry goes above and beyond the definition of a good guardian. Most importantly, he truly loves his brothers, which is a very important aspect of a good guardian. His love for them is seen when he hugs, kisses, and even cries during his and Ponyboy’s reunion. Similarly, Darry provides Ponyboy and Sodapop with food and water, as well as a place to live. 

The small family lives in a medium-sized yellow house with a front deck and yard. Darry also never locks the door to the house, so that if any other members of the gang need a place to sleep or relax, they are always welcome into the Curtis brother’s house. This reveals how he is a kind, caring, and open-door person. Darry also provides Ponyboy with proper education, and in fact, is very serious about it. He always checks over Ponyboy’s homework to make sure he has the correct answers. Later on, Ponyboy even states that the only reason he does not fail math is because of Darry’s help. 

Towards the end of the story, Ponyboy and Randy, another Soc, encounter each other at the Tasty Freeze cafe. There, they have conversations in which they both discover that they are not enemies, and in fact, have a lot in common. They also have a discussion about their parents, in which Pony ends up telling Randy about how Darry is a very capable and responsible guardian, and takes great care of Sodapop and him. Ponyboy explains to Randy, “‘Darry is a good guardian; makes me study and knows where I am and who I’m with all the time’” (Hinton, 165). It is evident from the text that Darry is indeed a good guardian. The fact that he knows where Ponyboy is and who he’s with “all the time” shows that Darry is a responsible and kind individual who is more than able to take care of his younger brothers. It is important that Darry knows the location of Ponyboy so nothing dangerous happens to him. 

The fact that Ponyboy emphasizes the word “is” when speaking to Randy reveals that he perceives Darry as an excellent parenting figure and is confident in his belief. Similarly, the fact Ponyboy expresses his true feelings about Darry to a member of his “enemy” social class shows that he truly believes his older brother is the best guardian. Darry is so caring, that he even put aside his big plans and dreams for college, and instead, has gone to work. He even got two jobs in order to support his brothers so that they can forever remain together as a family. 

This conveys how Darry is not a selfish individual, which proves he is a capable guardian for his brothers. Despite Darry letting Ponyboy and Sodapop eat chocolate cake for breakfast (which is unhealthy), he only lets them eat the cake with the more nutritious ham and eggs. Similarly, Darry lets the boys eat the chocolate cake because it symbolizes the loss of their beloved parents, but also his desire to give his brothers something to take away some of the grief from their losses. This reveals he is very understanding and in a very positive way, easygoing. Darry meets all of the requirements of an etiquette guardian, and therefore, the Curtis brothers should stay together as a family.

Additionally, the Curtis brothers should not go into the foster care system because the boys should not have to experience another loss. Ponyboy and Dally rush to the hospital to see Johnny for they both know the end is coming. On the ride, they are stopped by the police for speeding, but Dally tells the officer he is rushing him to the hospital, and the boys escape. When they arrive, Dally races through the halls, Ponyboy follows. Dallas tries to make Johnny proud and tells him that they had won the rumble and beat the Socs - but Johnny is not impressed, and states it is no use. Lastly, Johnny asks Ponyboy to lean over and tells him his last words. 

Realizing Johnny is dead, Dally punches the wall and bolts out of the room, screaming. Ponyboy, on the other hand, explains that he “walked down the hall with daze… I started the long walk home in a stupor. Johnny wad dead. But he wasn’t. That still body back in the hospital wasn’t Johnny… He isn’t dead, I said to myself. He isn’t dead… I convinced myself that he wasn’t dead” (Hinton, 150). It is evident from the text Ponyboy is experiencing a tragic loss - Johnny was now dead. Everyone in the gang always referred to him as their little brother, the pet. This proves how important he was to the boys. 

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Ponyboy clearly does not want to believe Johnny has died, for he walks down the hall with “daze” and is in a “stupor”. Even though Ponyboy does not show tears, it is evident he is deeply hurt for he denies the truth of Johnny’s death. He continuously tells himself “he isn’t dead” which reveals that he is so startled and upset by the loss that he simply does not want to accept the reality. However, going into foster care would make the situation even worse for Sodapop and Ponyboy since they would be forced to experience another loss - Darry. The two boys would now be fully traumatized, which would deeply and negatively affect their mental health. About eight months ago, the Curtis brothers’ parents had died in a severe automobile wreck. 

Ever since, Ponyboy has been getting terrifying nightmares about that day. He experiences them over and over in instances where Pony tries hard to cope with the amount of emotional stress caused by this tragedy. Ponyboy narrates that his nightmare of his mom’s and dad’s funeral made him wake “up screaming bloody murder... It scared Sodapop and Darry almost as bad as it scared me; for night after night, for weeks on end, I would dream this dream and wake up in cold sweat or screaming” (Hinton, 110). It is evident from the text that the death of Ponyboy’s parents has deeply affected him on a mental level. The fact that Ponyboy wakes up “screaming bloody murder” shows how terrifyed he was. 

This reveals him losing his parents was indeed devastating since it makes him wake up in the middle of the night, screaming, crying. The fact that Ponyboy’s dream scares “Darry almost as bad as it scared” him conveys how this nightmare is something seriously scary. Darry is always the toughest and most fearless, so if the dream scares him, it means it is definitely horrific. Pony's nightmares similarly reveal that at night, he is vulnerable and his fears creep up and attack him. During his waking hours, he copes and pushes his fears down so that they do not bother him. This shows how he is avoiding his problems and not facing the grief. 

This also temporarily decreases his anxiety levels. Many may argue Darry is not a responsible guardian because he lets Ponyboy participate in an organized gang fight, even though he has not fully recovered from the fire incident. However, Darry allows Pony to fight in the rumble because he understands how important it is to his brother to be perceived as tough, as well as be seen as part of the gang. This conveys how he is understanding and has the ability to put himself into others' shoes, which is a very important quality of a good guardian. In fact, Darry is very responsible and always thinks ahead and is proactive. He also advises Ponyboy not to get into situations with the police, so that the brothers can remain as a family. Thus, Soda, Pony, and Darry should remain together for they should not have to experience another major loss.

Furthermore, the three brothers should remain together is because the foster care system will negatively impact them. The main purpose of the foster care system is to provide a safe and stable environment for children that cannot be with their parents. However, studies have shown over 2,000 children die a year in foster care from abusive behavior. Foster cares definitely make life worse for children, especially because of the horrible conditions. For instance, many children in foster care live without a normal supply of water or electricity. In some cases, they even simply sleep on the floor. 

According to Sara Ward, an adoption advocate, it is common that “the [foster care] system fails children. Some kids, who should be adopted into a stable family, get passed around from family to family. Other times, the system fails biological families... As a result, it may seem like the system is not serving the child’s needs by providing what is best for the child.”. It is evident that being without the entire family would be very impactful to the boys, since foster cares “fail children”. Likewise, Sodapop and Ponyboy have no idea what it is like to live on their own, especially Ponyboy, who is not street smart. To be street smart means to be able to correctly use own judgment. The absence of this quality would make it hard for Pony to adapt to being “passed around from family to family”. 

Currently, the brothers share the qualities of a good family: they each love each other, care for each other, and feel comfortable talking to each other. However, in a new family, the boys would not experience any of these emotions, making it hard to survive. Additionally, the Curtis brothers always had been so close to each other, and separation would make them suffer the agony of being detached from each other. In foster care, Soda and Pony will develop anxiety, depression, and become less social due to the separation. This will result in them not having any friends, since the only thing on their minds would be Darry and the sweetness of being together. Ponyboy is also a very sensitive individual, as seen in his nightmare about the death of his parents. 

This will make the foster care system even more detrimental to him. Recently, Ponyboy has finally returned home after a long and hard journey: he has been out of his hometown with Johnny for five days. In those five days, they saved children from a terrifying fire, in which Johnny and Dally, another member of the gang who came to help the boys, were both injured: Johnny was in critical condition, Dally would survive. After Pony reunited with his brothers and came home, he found a newspaper called “Juvenile Delinquents Turn Heroes”. The article talks about each of the brothers, as well as a possibility of their separation. After Ponyboy reading the startling information in the newspaper, he sat down in daze and thought to himself, “We couldn’t get hauled off now. Not after me and Darry had finally gotten through to each other, and now that the big rumble was coming up and we would settle this Soc-greaser thing once and for all. Not now, when Johnny needed us and Dally was still in the hospital and wouldn’t be out for the rumble” . 

It is evident that the foster care system will deeply affect the life of the Curtis brothers. Now that Ponyboy and Darry had “finally gotten through to each other”, they have a very strong bond. However, the unnecessary placement of Ponyboy into foster care would rip apart this newly strengthened relationship causing more trauma for him to deal with. Similarly, if placed into the foster care, Soda and Pony would miss out “big rumble” that would settle the “Soc-greaser thing once and for all”. If the greaser gang would be missing two more members, there is a possibility the groups will continue fighting each other. Likewise, if the two brothers will be placed into foster care, they will not be able to morally support Johnny or Dally who are suffering back in the hospital. This reveals how important the existence of Pony and Soda is and the huge role they play in their society. 

From this one can see that everyone in the world is dependant on each other, and very person is important to the contribution the successful universe. If something goes wrong in the chain, everything else slowly start to fall apart one by one. Although many may argue Darry is not a responsible guardian because he slaps Ponyboy, he only did this for he came home late, and simply has lost his temper. Darry has never physically abused any of his brothers before, which proves it was unnatural for him to slap Ponyboy. Darry only slapped him because he was enforcing the rules, since the brothers live in a very unsafe environment, and Darry does not want anything dangerous happening to Pony. Consequently, the Curtis brothers should not be separated and put into a foster home for the system will negatively affect them.

In summation, the Curtis brothers must stay together because Darry is a fit guardian, the boys should not have to experience another loss, and the foster care system will leave a negative impact on them. First, the three brothers should remain together because Darry meets the standards of a good guardian: he provides all the basic needs for his brothers, as well as cares for them and loves them. Next, the small family should not be separated because Ponyboy and Sodapop going into foster care would mean they would have to experience another loss of somebody close: Darry. Lastly, the Curtis brothers should stay together because the foster care system will negatively impact them: they will be living in horrible conditions, not have a supply basic human needs, and develop mental illnesses. 

The brothers not being placed into foster care would result in them being able to continue their happy chapter together, as a small united family. People need to change the way foster care is being run for it is negatively impacting the children due to the unsafe environments. As previously stated, foster care has conditions nowhere close to those of a castle: it is more of a run down shack with no supply of human needs. Children cannot be living is such harsh and horrid conditions, and therefore, this needs to be changed. So, the next time you see somebody being put into foster care, put yourself into that person’s shoes and persuade their guardian to think again. 

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