Justin Packard

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey

My Essay Reflection

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

My writing at the beginning of the year was simple, with a limited vocabulary. Also, my CUPS were not very good. Over the course of the year my knowledge of the rules of writing and making a better essay grew immensely. Now, I use a more broad vocabulary and I have bette CUPS, but I could still use some more work on my CUPS.

What do you consider your writing strengths?

    My writing strength is informal writing. I like to write how I talk, and I use words like "cool" and "awesome". These words are never in formal writing. It is easier for me and more natural to write how I talk because I do not have to translate my thoughts into a very formal essay with words I typically do not use.

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

I would like to improve on my CUPS. My CUPS is improving, but it still needs work. I am getting better at it and working on it constantly.

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

I really enjoyed reading The Outsiders because the book was very interesting and exciting. It seems like a book I would read as an independent reading book. The essay also gives me a chance to see how I have improved as a writer throughout the course of my seventh grade year.

The Outsiders'Hero's Journey Essay

The Outsiders/Hero’s Journey Justin Packard

5/6/14 7th Period

In 2009, Captain Richard Phillips was captured by four Somali pirates. Captain Phillips needed strength, courage, and lots of bravery to survive the harsh conditions in the lifeboat and the torture inflicted by the pirates. After this incident, Captain Phillips became a hometown hero. People can quickly become heroes when they choose to step up and risk their lives for a noble cause. This exact thing happened to Ponyboy Curtis. In the realistic fiction novel, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, the main character, Ponyboy Curtis, goes on a hero’s journey, because he goes through the three key phases of a monomyth.

Ponyboy experiences The Separation from the Known when he is running away with Johnny in a train box car. Johnny kills a Soc, and he and Pony go to Dally for help. Dally tells them to run away to Jay Mountain. To get there, the boys stow away on a train.

“We crouched in the weeds beside the railroad tracks, listening to the whistle growing louder. The train slowed to a screaming halt, ‘Now,’ whispered Johnny. We ran and pulled ourselves into an open boxcar” (62).

In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Known is when the hero ventures out of their comfort zone and into a situation they are not knowledgeable about and not comfortable being in. In The Outsiders, Pony and Johnny are walking home when they get jumped by a Soc. The Socs start to drown Pony in a fountain. To save him, Johnny has to kill a Soc. The two are now wanted for murder by the police. This is when they go to Dally, and Dally tells them to run away to Jay Mountain. This is important because Pony is now going to a new place in the middle of the countryside, and he is in a completely unfamiliar and undesirable situation. This shows Ponyboy is experiencing The Separation from the Known and he is going through the Threshold to Adventure. This all happens when he gets into the train box car.

Ponyboy experiences The Initiation when he is sitting by himself in the church all alone, scared. Pony and Johnny spend the night in an abandoned church on Jay Mountain. The next morning Johnny goes to get supplies leaving Ponyboy alone. The church is new to Pony making him uncomfortable and scared.

Pony narrates, “I was scared, sitting there by myself” (70).

In the hero’s Journey, the first part of The Initiation is when the hero faces challenges that are physical and psychological. These challenges lead up to The Abyss. In The Outsiders, Pony experiences the first of his many psychological and physical hardships in the church. Being scared and alone in an unknown place is a psychological challenge that Pony must overcome with bravery and courage. This is important because this challenge shows he is starting The Initiation.

Ponyboy continues to experience The Initiation when Johnny dies. Johnny gets a possibly fatal burn injury and is hospitalized. Johnny's burns and broken back eventually kill him in the hospital.

“‘Stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold...’ The pillow seemed to sink a little, and Johnny died.

In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero is in The Abyss. The Abyss is the hero’s lowest point where they face their greatest challenge. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy’s worst fear is confirmed and his life turns into a living nightmare. It all starts when he goes into the burning church with Johnny to save the kids trapped inside. While rescuing the kids, Johnny gets trapped and badly injured. While in the hospital, Pony fears for Johnny’s life, and his fears become realized when Johnny dies. Johnny was like a brother to Pony and when Johnny dies Pony feels like he has just lost a brother. This is important because Johnny’s death is Pony’s greatest fear making it his biggest psychological challenge. This psychological challenge shows Pony is in The Abyss.

Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he realizes that his life, along with other Greasers are worth something and can be changed into meaningful lives. Dally has been shot by the police and Pony has just finished reading the note Johnny left him before he died in the hospital.

“I could see boys going down under street lights because they were mean and tough and hated the world, and it was too late to tell them there was still good in it, and they wouldn’t believe you if you did” (179).

In the Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday Life is when the hero comes home with a gift. The gift can be many things like traits or physical achievement, the hero gives their gift to the world. In The Outsiders Pony starts to view greasers differently. He thinks they could turn their lives into something meaningful and happy if they tried. This piece of enlightenment shows Pony has returned with a gift back to everyday life. This is important because Greasers who try in school and make correct decisions can turn their lives around. Pony’s new knowledge of a path to a happy life can help many Greasers and shows he has returned with a gift.

In conclusion, Ponyboy Curtis, the main character in the realistic fiction novel The Outsiders goes through a hero’s journey because he completes the three necessary phases of a monomyth. Ponyboy goes through the The Separation from the Known when he gets into the train box car; he experiences The Initiation when he is sitting alone in the old abandoned church, and he is in The Abyss when Johnny dies; finally, Pony Returns to Everyday life when he finds the path to a happy, good life. Some people may not come from the most notable beginnings, but they can change that as their life goes on. Committing heroic acts and selflessly helping others can make any ordinary person into a hero just like Captain Phillips in 2009.

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