INTROFirst, her family, she sees her family

INTROFirst, both characters leave their homes because of issues they can’t face or don’t want to face. Also, they both grieve in a very self-destructive way. In Tess’ case, she feels unloved and unwanted after Zoe’s death, she can’t find her place or comfort in her family, she sees her family breaking apart and lastly reaches a point where she’s willing to commit suicide. She describes herself and her family as “ghosts in their own house” (p.57), says that they “can’t help each other” (p.57) and that they turned silent. Tess feels extremely guilty about Zoe’s death and also liable for the pain her family is suffering. To escape from the grieving and guilt, she moves in with her dysfunctional biological dad. Later, during the summer holidays, Tess takes a job in a park, so she has to follow a daily structure. To further distract herself, she stays up all night with her neighbor Jimmy, smoking pot and drinking alcohol. She falls in love with him and receives all the adoration she has missed out on at home. During this time she forgets about her family and how much they need her, especially Emily. Tess forgets that Em has to stay with David and their mom who are both depressed since Zoe’s accident and can’t function properly. As a result, Em has to deal with Zoe’s death on her own. Even though she is very mature for her age, Em’s too young to deal with such great pain alone. Tess does try to see her by visiting her after school, but as the summer vacations start, she doesn’t even consider visiting her family. It comes as no surprise that the atmosphere is very awkward and slightly tense as they see each other again (p.143). Ponyboy, in contrast to Tess, has had issues fitting in all his life. He belongs to the greasers, a poorer social class, looked upon as “trash” by the rivaling class, the socs. Pony thinks that his life isn’t fair and the socs always get away with everything, while the greasers are seen as constant troublemakers. In addition, he feels like his eldest brother Darry doesn’t love him. Pony’s devastating loss is the death of his best friend Johnny, who dies after saving several children out of a burning church. Pony knows very well that Johnny is deceased, but he tries to convince himself otherwise, he pretends that someone else died in the hospital. “Johnny is not dead, I told myself, and I believed it” (p.114). As he continues school, Pony is very absent-minded, he loses things and once even walks home in socks because he forgot to put on his shoes (p. 128). Also, he started to do badly at school. Later on, both characters learn to grieve in a more constructive way, process their loss through writing, and both experience a change in perspective. Tess is triggered as her dad runs into her dog, Frank. This event reminds her of Zoe’s fatal mishap. She talks to Jimmy about her role in Zoe’s accident and the guilt she feels. This made her “feel free in a way I haven’t for a long time” (p.180). Later on, she writes a letter addressed to Zoe, where she takes responsibility for the day of the fatal accident and writes about her feelings. Afterwards, Tess goes home while looking for a picture of Zoe and realizes how much she misses and needs her family. Her constructive grieving starts as she, her mother, David, and Em see a doctor together. From that point on, they share their grief and function as a family. We see that Tess has gathered self-knowledge and has learned that her behavior can have a great impact on others. Tess needs a lot of time to come to that conclusion. In comparison, Ponyboy turns his self-destructive grieving into constructive grieving way faster. He sees how deeply Darry and Soda care about him and that Darry is only pushing him in school for his own benefits. He also realizes how much Darry had to give up to become Soda’s and his guardian and is glad to call them family. His thoughts also go to the socs as he thinks about Bob. Pony starts to see the socs as people, not just a higher-class group and begins to understand that they have their own, different life with their problems. He sees that Bob’s death, although he is a soc, is just as unfair as Johnny’s and Dally’s passing. Ponyboy also learns about his impact on others as he and Dally fight and Soda runs off (p.132/133). He processes these events through writing them down, 

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