Maraleis Sinton

The Outsiders/ Hero's Journey Essay

My Essay Reflection

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

At the beginning of the year, my writing was full of creativity. I have always enjoyed creative work. Even though I have always had fun crafting language, I was not nearly as good at straightforward, structured writing. I often added artistic twists to the words but that made it difficult for others to understand my point. Now, at the end of seventh grade, I have learned to create better, straightforward pieces while continuing to compose creative essays.

Question Two: What do you consider your writing strengths? Explain.

My writing strength is that I am able to write creative and poetic stores, poem, and phrases that tend to draw people in. I have always had fun with creative writing. Using my abilities to create a world behind ink on paper, I am currently working on a book. When I first present my writing to others, they sometimes think that it isn't my writing because my language surprises them. My cousin, a high school English teacher says that he thinks I am able to write at a more sophisticated level than his high school students. Learning that, I believe that I had found my strength in writing.

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

For next year, I need to improve my grammar skills. Through the years of my writing, I always have had my mother's help with grammar and spelling. Nearing my last year at Jordan, I will feel more confident with future writing if I continue to develop this skill. Also, it would never hurt to improve the more creative side of my writing.

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

The Outsiders was probably my favorite book to read in school. It was exciting and provided a life lesson. Also, it amazed me that a teenaged girl of sixteen was able to keep my attention. Writing this assignment  presented a challenge. I had to present a life lesson using a very structured format. These were my favorite parts of reading and writing about this book.

The Outsiders/ Hero's Journey Essay

A hero can be known for many different actions and ways; however, all heroes go through steps. Steps launch themselves into the undiscovered and come back with the discovered. Ponyboy, is a hero. Just like Columbus, he explores a new land and returns with a map. Pony follows the steps of the Hero’s Journey, mapping out a new life journey from his experiences. In the realistic fiction novel, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, the main character, Ponyboy Curtis, goes on a Hero’s Journey. He travels through the three required phases of a monomyth.

Ponyboy experiences The Separation from the Known when Johnny kills Bob. This action forces Pony and him into action. The two of them run off to Jay Mountain the night of the killing. Johnny and Pony run to a parking lot and come face-to-face with a group of socs. A fight breaks out and Pony is pushed into a fountain. Time passes and Pony wakes up from being nearly drowned. He is told a tramatic story. Johnny speaks, “I killed him… I killed that boy”(56). From the news, Pony comes up with a plan. “We gotta get outa here. Get somewhere. Run away” (57). In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Known is when the hero is discontented with his normal life and ventures into the darkness of the unknown. A sudden and tramatic change allows the hero to enter the unknown. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy experiences a great tramatic change; thus, Pony is thrown into the unknown. Pony comes home late one night. His tardiness causes an uproar in Darry. Darry tries to reason with Pony and explains that he needs to think with his head more. However, Pony can not see Darry’s point of view. His stubborness enrages Darry. Darry hits Pony and Pony takes off into the darkness of early morning. He heads off with his dear friend, Johnny. They end up in a park. Sitting there, a group of socs come up and start to drown Pony. The only thing Johnny can do to save his friend is to bring out his switch-blade and take Bob’s life. After, Pony and Johnny search for help from Dally. In a Hero’s Journey, the hero will always have a Threshold Guardian. This guardian will help and guide him through his journey. Dally helps Johnny and Pony by helping them be fugitives. Dally just happens to be great at doing this. Dally directs them to Jay Mountain. Johnny and Pony hop a train and are launched into the drakness of the unknown.

Ponyboy experiences The Initiation when Johnny and him wake up in a strange place. Pony goes from a greaser to a fugitive. Pony wakes up after a long night and is in an uncomfortable setting. He narrates, “I woke up late in the afternoon. For a second I didn’t know where I was”(68). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of the Initiation is when the hero journeys into a physical and/or psychological unknown. The hero will have challenges, tests, and/or ordeals they must face in their Hero’s Journey. In The Outsiders, Pony wakes up to an unknown and an uncomfortable setting of Jay Mountain. He is in the first phase of The Initiation after a chaotic event. As soon as Johnny and Pony enter the unknown, Pony faces his first challenge. He has left the comfort of his warm bed and the back streets of his hometown. When he awakens, he is in a musty, old church on the dusty floorboards of the building. He encouters his first challenge. Pony must accept the fact that he is no longer a greaser but has a chance of being a criminal. He has lost his identity.

Ponyboy continues to experience The Initiation when he wakes up one morning in the light of day. He is not in the shadows of the unknown anymore. Pony wakes up in his home and he narrates, “When I woke up, it was daylight”(156). Darry appears beside him and describes the scene, “Darry had pulled up an armchair into the bedroom and was asleep in it. He should be at work, I thought. Why is he asleep in the armchair?” (156). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero experiences a low point where he must battle his greatest internal or external fear (The Abyss). His fear must die to make way for courage, enlightenment, and independence (The Transformation). Finally, the hero experiences a dramatic change in the way he will views life and will learn to become “one” with his new self (The Revelation and Atonement). In The Outsiders, Pony goes through The Initiation when he experiences The Revelation. Pony wakes up in early morning light, after being in the dark. During the rumble, Pony receives a concussion. This fight is for Johnny. The next morning, Pony finds Darry asleep in an armchair next to him. For many years, Pony had always felt that Darry did not love or care for him. He had always thought that he was just another mouth to feed. But when Pony awakens and finds his eldest brother next to him, he rethinks about Darry’s feelings for him. He now sees that Darry does love and care for him. Pony has been forced to push past his fear and find couarge. Because of Johnny, he fights that night and changes the way he views life. Johnny tells Pony to stay golden, that there is good in the world, and to tell Dally that. He receives those words in the letter he had written for him and he now sees the world differently.

Pony experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he realizes all the sacrifices that were made to give him opportunity and wisdom. Pony had always taken for granted his brothers and all the things they gave up. Pony realizes that and he begins to tell his story. “I sat down and picked up my pen and thought for a minute. Remembering. Remembering a handsome dark boy with a reckless grin and a hot temper. A tough, tow-headed boy with a cigarette in his mouth and a bitter grin on his hard face. Remembering - and this time it didn’t hurt - a quiet, defeated-looking sixteen-year-old whose hair needed cutting badly and who had black eyes with a frightened expression on them” (179-180). In The Outsiders, the gift Pony receives is the wisdom never to take any action, person, and experience for granted. He learns to notice what people do for his own good and to be grateful. He returns to everyday life with this wisdom. Pony learns that he is failing his English class and his teacher allows him to pass with an essay. Pony has no idea what to write about. He is supposed to write about something important enough to share. Pony learns that he might not have been the greatest brother or have known what exactly happened in their lives. Darry and his brother, Soda, have sacrificed to help him make it in the world. Pony sits down and writes. He writes 180 pages worth of something important: his story. This is his gift of realization and the power of words. He shares this with the rest of the world. He tells the Dallys of the world that there is good in it and to be grateful.

In conclusion, Ponyboy Curtis is a hero. He undergoes everything needed to be a hero in the Hero’s Journey. Pony has been a fugitive, faced challenges, learned valuable lessons, and experienced death; now, he can share his wisdom.

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