Maia Lagna

The Outsiders/Hero’s Journey Essay

My Essay Reflection

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

I would describe my writing at the beginning of the year as unorganized because I didn't really learn well how to plan out my writing before writing the rough draft. Now, I am confident with my work that I have done and I feel like my writing is much more organized and easy to read.

  2.) What do you consider your writing strengths?

I think that my writing is very detailed and I express myself very clearly through my work.

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

I think that I should continue to work on organization and grammar. If I work on grammar and organization, I will become a better writer.

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

I liked how The Outsiders was very up-close and personal and you really get to know the characters and their different traits. This assignment dissected the book to find the Hero's Journey imbedded inside.

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay

The Outsiders/Hero’s Journey Maia Lagna

5/5/14 Period 1

Hero's are found everywhere nowadays. On the news, comics, movies, books and more! Superheroes are the most universal heroes, publicized by hit movie- using superheroes to fight injustice, defeat villains and save the world! In fact, there are different kinds of heroes. There is a hero who isn’t famous and spectacular. A less-amazing hero like Ponyboy Curtis who goes on a Hero’s Journey not to be a world-wide star, but to become a “normal” boy and make a change in his life. 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.

Ponyboy experiences The Separation from the Known when Johnny and Pony are caught alone in the park when the rival gang called the Socs arrive. The Socs mug them and in self defense, Johny stabs and kills a Soc. Alone at night, Johnny and Pony see a small group of Socs walking towards them. The Socs intend to to harm the boys. The Socs start beating up Pony and threaten his life! Johnny, in self defense stabs a Soc. When the other Socs run away, Johnny feverishly says, “‘ I killed him,’...’I killed that boy”’(56). In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Unknown is when the hero turns his or her back on the normal, safe life they are living in and explores the unknown ahead of them. This is the Call to Adventure. The hero repeatedly feels unhappy with his or her life and that he or she is missing something and is seeking to earn back justice/honor. The hero experiences a shocking change that forces the hero into action and meets

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helpers that give knowledge and wisdom, which is the Threshold to Adventure. In The Outsiders, the Separation from the Known occurs when Johnny kills the Soc. This is a sudden event as the teenage boys just became criminals. It is also traumatizing in the sense of being wanted and in severe danger of being chased by the police. Normally fourteen and eighteen year old boys do not commit great crimes like stabbing someone. This would be shocking for anyone! This sudden and traumatic event cause action since Pony and Johnny feel that they must consult someone before they run away. This event shows that Pony is in phase one of the Hero’s Journey because a sudden change that causes action is the definition of this part. In order to run away, Pony must go to an experienced criminal/friend to help him hide. This person is Dally who acts as a threshold guardian. Having a threshold guardian is another definition of this phase , and since Pony goes to Dally, it proves he is going on his journey. Lastly, running away with his friend leads Pony to a unknown place. He leaves his comfortable known world and moves to the uncomfortable and unknown of being Greaser to being a criminal on the run. It must be scary to be an Outsider to being an outlaw the next minute at the age of fourteen. By traveling this way, Pony separates from the unknown!

Ponyboy experiences The Initiation when Pony is overwhelmed with love and happiness when he figures out that the only reason why Darry is strict with him is to not lose another loved one. All Pony’s life he thought that Darry couldn’t care less about him. After Darry sees Pony, healthy and safe Darry started to cry. Pony has never seen Darry cry in a very long time and he

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realizes,”That was his silent fear then-of losing another person he loved”(98). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of The Initiation is when the hero explores a physical and/or psychological unknown, this is called the Challenges. In The Outsiders, The Initiation occurs when Pony realizes why Darry is strict and tough on Pony after their parents died. Darry, Pony’s older brother has always been protective of Pony after their parents died in an accident. Darry was very close with his dad, so when that bond was taken away from him, Darry feels like he is lost his best friend. Since then, Pony feels trapped under Darry’s rule and not free to roam the streets and hang out with friends. Pony struggles to gain respect from Darry and he lives unhappily with him. One day, Darry took it too far and Pony, blinded with anger, flees from the house. By the time Pony returned, he is a different person. When they meet, Pony realizes that all Darry’s actions are intended to keep Pony safe and to not lose another loved one. Since then, Pony and Darry became closer.

Ponyboy continues to experience The Initiation when the doctor tells Pony that Johnny is not going to survive and that he is in a very bad condition. After rescuing school kids from the burning church Johnny and Ponyboy hid in to hide from the police, Johnny suffers from severe burns and broken bones. Pony, worried, rushes to the hospital and hears from the doctor that, “He was in critical condition. His back had been broken when that piece of timber fell on him. He was in severe shock and suffering from third-degree burns”(102). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero experiences a low point where he must fight against his external fear or greatest internal fear. This step is known as the Abyss. In The Outsiders, Pony is

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part of a gang that are discriminated against for living in the “bad side” of town and for their appearance like heavily greasing their hair. Pony’s gang friends are considered family and they would do anything for each other-and to save someone innocent. During Pony’s Hero’s Journey alongside Johnny, the church they sought shelter in, catches fire. Pony and Johnny leap into the burning building to save some kids trapped inside. Unfortunately, Johnny suffers from severe burns and become paralyzed. After talking to the doctor, Pony is at his lowest point because after losing his parents, losing a friend would be like reliving the horrible experience again. The gang is his “family”, so without parents and “family”, he has nothing left to live for. This shows that Pony is in The Abyss.

Ponyboy experience The Return to Everyday Life when he wakes up from his sleep after getting a concussion.After dealing with many losses and strong emotions, Pony is shocked to see that Darry was sitting next to him! He is both happy and surprised at the same time to find Darry sitting beside him. “I had a sick feeling that maybe I hadn't called for him while I was delirious, maybe I had only wanted Sodapop to be with me”(157-158). In the Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday Life is when the hero returns to his or her normal life and routine. Typically, the hero returns with a “gift.” The gift could be a physical gift or something like leadership, acceptance and understanding. With his challenges won over, the hero can focus on “giving back” to the world. In The Outsiders, The Return to Everyday Life occurs when he wakes up at home after being in the hospital for weeks and resting for days. He is bewildered to see that Darry is sitting beside Pony

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instead of being at work! The quotation shows how Pony shows feelings of love towards Darry from actually hating him and thinking that Darry is cruel, mean, and cold-hearted. Pony believes that Darry did not want him around the house. This change shows how Pony’s journey changes him from being selfish to realizing that he has a nice family. Pony also realizes that his teachers at school recognize him as a successful student who has potential. To help Pony regain his confidence, his teacher assigned him an essay to write. Pony decides to write his own story about his life to spread the word about life as a Greaser. This essay becomes the book, The Outsiders, which is his gift to the world.

In conclusion, the realistic fiction novel The Outsiders by S.E.Hinton, Ponyboy Curtis travels on a Hero’s Journey. This demonstrates the three required steps in a monomyth. In conclusion, Ponyboy goes through the four phases of a Hero’s Journey. In the Separation of the Known, and in defense, Johnny stabs a Soc. Ponyboy experiences the Initiation when he feels overwhelmed with love and happiness when he figures out that Darry actually values him. Ponyboy experiences the Abyss when his worst fear is coming true. He might lose a “family” member. Lastly, Ponyboy Returns to Everyday Life when he is back at home with his family after having a rough wreck. Miracles can happen and person can meet a superhero, but they are unlikely and rare. On the other hand, anyone can go on a Hero’s Journey. He or she must have the courage to make a change in his or her life and be prepared to face the many challenges and obstacles he or she will return with a gift that will benefit him or her, and the world.

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