Quinn Westgaard

The Outsiders

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Quinn Westgaard

5/6/14 period 7

Usually people think of a hero as a superhero, someone with a cape and super powers, like Spiderman and Superman. However, not all heroes have capes and super powers. Some heroes are not even very powerful or popular people, like Ponyboy Curtis. Ponyboy traveled through the several steps and phases of the Hero’s Journey. Pony has had many rough times, but when he returns, he has a gift. In the realistic fiction novel The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton the main character Ponyboy Curtis goes on a Hero’s Journey because, he travels through the three required phases of a monomyth.

Pony walks home from the movies when a group of Socs beat him up. Pony is being attacked by Soc’s that cut his face with a knife and are pinning him to the ground. Finally they let him go when his gang comes along. Pony narrates , “Then there were shouts and the pounding of feet, and the Socs jumped up and left me lying there, gasping”(6). In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Known is when the hero leaves his or her comfortable and familiar world and enters The Unknown. When the hero gets the Call to Adventure he or she often feels discontent or that something is lacking in life. The hero then hits a sudden traumatic change that forces him or her into action. Pony gets beat up by Socs, this event is very sudden and came out of nowhere. Pony was very frightened by the attack and was out of breath he was so scared, it was a very traumatic event. This proves that the incident with the Socs is the Separation from the Known for Pony.

Pony experiences The Initiation when, he almost gets drowned by a Soc and, Johnny kills Bob, another Soc as a result they quickly run off to find Dally. Pony and Johnny have to get out of the park where Bob was killed so the “Fuzz” will not find them, Johnny is worried about getting caught and put in jail. Pony narrates, “He was a strange greenish-white and his eyes were huger  than i’d ever seen them. ‘I killed him’, he said slowly. ‘I killed that boy”(56). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of The Initiation is when the hero faces challenges and problems. The hero usually feels stuck and unhappy. The hero may feel like there is nothing left to fight for that they should give up. In The Outsiders, Johnny feels bad about Bob’s death, but he was only trying to protect himself. Dally gives them a loaded gun, fifty dollars and a dry shirt for Pony. He tells them to go to an abandoned church on Jay Mountain. Pony faces challenges because he does not know how he will deal with the death of Bob he may be accused of the death because he was there while Bob was killed.

Pony continues to experience The Initiation when Johnny has to go to the hospital due to the burns he got from the fire at the church when he went in to save children that were stuck inside. Pony is really worried about Johnny, Pony thinks that Johnny will die in the hospital. Pony narrates “Two-bit did not notice the expression in his voice. It’s true I thought numbly, he is dying”(119). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero goes through four phases, The Abyss, The Transformation, The Revelation and, The Atonement. The Abyss is when the hero faces his or her greatest internal or external fear. Pony experiences The Abyss when he visits Johnny in the hospital, and thinks he is dying. Pony can not picture life without him. Johnny is Pony’s best friend and he would struggle without him. This shows that losing Johnny would be Ponys greatest fear because he would be stuck in life without him to be his friend, by his side.

Pony experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he is home with Sodapop and Darry. Pony has finished his journey and has come with a gift. Pony is going through the loss of Dally and Johnny, but he and Darry are getting along better than before. Pony narrates, “I saw that I had expected Darry to do all the understanding without even trying to understand him. And he had given up a lot for Soda and me”(176). In the Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday Life is when the hero has finished his or her journey and has come back with a gift. The hero has changed mentally or sometimes physically. They have a better understanding of life and what's good or bad and right or wrong. In The Outsiders, Pony has returned from his journey and the gift he brings back is writing a book about the time he spent in his journey and what he did. Pony has a better understanding of who he is and why Greasers are not accepted and much as Socs and he understands how much Darry truly loves him. Overall Pony is more grateful for what he has and does not let what other people think of him bother him.

Pony’s unforgettable Hero’s Journey brings him to a better understanding in life and who he is. In the Separation from the known, Pony gets beat up by a group of Socs. In the First part of the Initiation, Pony is almost drowned and Johnny kills Bob. Then in the second part of the Initiation, the church catches fire and, Johnny is in the hospital. Lastly, in The Return to Everyday Life, Pony and Darry get along and Pony is more accepting of himself and his life. Anyone can become a hero if they take on the challenge of the Hero’s Journey. It will benefit everyone because he or she will return with a gift.

My Essay Reflection

How would you describe your writing at the beginning of the year and how would you describe it now?

I feel that I have improved a lot over the course of this year. I have learned a lot more writing concepts that have helped improve my writing from the beginning of this year.

What do you consider your writing strengths? Explain.

Some of my writing strengths are explaining the main ideas and finding textual evidence in books.

What writing skills do you need and/or want to continue to develop next year? Explain.

I would like to continue to develop some writing skills like being able to go deeper in my writing and being able to express more in my writing.

What did you like best about reading this novel and/or doing this writing assignment?

I really enjoyed reading this book and learning how to find the main idea of the novel. I also enjoyed learning about the Hero's Journey and how a person can transform into a hero.

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