“A caring and supportive family is the main building block of a community.” Discuss.
Family can be defined as a group of people who have blood ties and who usually live under one roof forming a small community. The traditional concept of this would be a man and a woman who have a legal bond living under one roof with their offspring but when circumstances alter this arrangement the subsequent arrangement that arises does not make obsolete the bonds and relationships and the influence each member of that unit has on each other to form values and ethics that would contribute towards the building of communities. As such a caring and supportive family is the main building block of a community as it helps to mould individuals into positive social characters and personalities who contribute towards building a healthy community. However sometimes even though the family is caring and supportive the individual may fail to become one who contributes positively towards building a healthy community, on the other hand there may be individuals who come from dysfunctional families but are able to contribute towards the community because of other factors.
The texts that will be used are The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, Muriel’s Wedding directed by P J Hogan and The Family by Anne Deveson.
Firstly a caring and supportive family moulds an individual into a positive social character by building self-esteem and by guiding and helping the individual to realise the potential he or she has.[ts] They may even sacrifice to ensure that the individual is taken care off and disruptions to the individual’s life is minimised thus helping the person face traumatic experiences and eventually develop in them a social conscience to reach out to help the community. On the other hand, when there is no care and support that ensures that the welfare of the individual is secured than the individual may feel cut adrift and may lose all their self-esteem and feel that they are a useless member of society and as such may only focus on their own needs and become insensitive to the needs of others and end up not contributing towards building a better community. This can be seen from the characters in the novel ‘The Outsiders’ where the two older brothers, Darry and Sodapop, sacrifice their futures and take on the responsibility to hold the family unit together to give stability to the life of their younger brother Ponyboy. They do this so that Ponyboy has the opportunity to fulfil his potential by having a stable home, guidance and support to excel in his studies so that he can have a better life. Pony is eventually able to weather the storms that he faces because his brothers stick by him and support him emotionally and physically. When Pony gets hurt saving the children from the burning church and is sent to the hospital, Darry is at the hospital waiting for him even though it is Pony’s unthinking actions that got Pony into trouble. Darry does not give up and retreat from Ponyboy. In the same token Sodapop does his best to try and help Darry and Pony understand each other. Darry and Sodapop are there for Pony all the time and Darry nurses and cares for him like a mother when Pony collapses after Johnny and Dally’s death. Darry’s perseverance in caring for Ponyboy and Sodapop’s emotional support and understanding eventually manages to shake Pony out of his stupor and depression and he begins to understand his brothers and their needs. This in turn helps Pony to take a grip of his life and come to terms with the grief and trauma of losing loved ones and to move on with his life. It is then that he is able to see that he has a social responsibility to tell people the story of Johnny and Dally so that they can understand boys who live on the wrong side of the cities better. Thus the care and support of his family is what helps Pony through his traumatic experiences and moulds him to be a person...
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