Colby Perlman

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 know?

My writing at the beginning of the year was ok but I made a lot of errors in things like commas and capitalizations. My writing now is a lot better thanks to Caught ya' grammar.

2.) What do you consider your writing strengths? Explain?

My strengths know are probably my ability to write with some kind of a personality and probably my strength in going deeply into subjects.

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

I think I still need to work on things like my handwriting and spelling and grammar. Both have improved from last year but I would like to continue to improve in these subjects.

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

This novel is a very interesting and is fun to read. I really enjoyed the personality in it of the greasers and some of the fun slang.

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay

The Outsiders Hero’s Journey                                                                     Colby Perlman

5-5-14                                                                                                            Period 6

         What is a hero? Is it somebody that has super-human strength or the ability to fly? What does it mean to save to “save the day” or “defeat the villain and get the girl?” Are these the things that are necessary to become a hero or is it something else? The Outsiders by S.E Hinton is based on a small gang of hoodlums, mainly Johnny and Ponyboy, that live in Tulsa Oklahoma which at this time is divided into two sides the west with the rich socs and the east with the poor greasers including Johnny and Ponyboy who go on a journey worthy of a hero. 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 all the required phases of a monomyth.

        Ponyboy experiences the separation from the know when the socs shove his face into the fountain and Johnny has to kill the soc in self defence. As Pony is struggling Johnny got worried they were going to drown him and as Pony arises out fountain he sees the body of Bob the big time soc. Pony narrates, “Then I saw Johnny. He was sitting next to me, one elbow on his knee, and staring straight ahead. He was a strange greenish-white and his eyes were huger than I’d ever seen them. ‘I killed him,’ he said slowly”(56). In the Hero’s Journey, the Separation from the Known is when the hero leaves the comfortable behind and enters what is unknown to him. In this phase of the Hero’s Journey the hero often experiences a sudden traumatic event and is seeking honor, vengeance or justice. Another thing the hero experiences in the phase is the Threshold to Adventure where the hero crosses a threshold into the unknown with the help of a threshold guardian who gives the hero advice. In The Outsiders the separation from the known occurs when Johnny stabs Bob the big time soc. This event marks the separation from the comfortable because in this phase generally two events occur: the Call to Adventure and the Threshold to Adventure. Pony enters the Call to Adventure when Johnny kills the soc bringing Pony into the unknown with him. Pony could leave him but being the hero he is he takes this call to adventure and goes with Johnny to see their friend and threshold guardian Dally. Dally then gives them advice and physical items to help them along their journey. All of which is evidence of Dally being their threshold guardian. Johnny and Pony then cross the threshold into the unknown.

        Pony experiences the second phase of the Hero’s Journey, The Initiation, when he is forced to cut his cool looking hair. After growing his hair and greasing it back for many years Pony’s hair has come to be his pride and joy. Pony says, “‘Oh, no!’ My hand flew to my hair. ‘No Johnny, not my hair!’ It was my pride. It was long and silky, just like Sodas, only a little redder”(71). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of The Initiation is when the hero faces tests or ordeals of some kind and needs to conquer them before he can continue on his journey. In The Outsiders Pony goes through the first part of The Initiation phase. The first part of this phase is when the hero goes through one step, the challenges or ordeals. Pony goes through this step when he is forced to do something that no greaser would ever want to do or even think about: Cutting their hair. To every greaser their hair is their identity. It’s the only thing besides money that separates a greaser from a soc. Greasers take pride in their hair because it’s something that a greaser can have, something that the soc don’t have better than them like thunderbirds, mustangs, money or even a nice place to live. Their hair is what gives them their name: greasers. Especially for Pony, who takes a lot of pride in his looks, this is a very big challenge to have to cut and dye his hair, even if it means that the police will not recognize him and Johnny. This is evidence of Pony’s first part of The Initiation.

       Pony continues to experience The Initiation when Johnny dies in the hospital. While Johnny was in the burning church to save the kids, he was hit by a flaming piece of wood and hospitalized. When he dies in the hospital, Dally says, “‘Dammit Johnny...’ he begged, slamming one fist against the wall, hammering it to make it obey his will. ‘Oh, dammit, Johnny, don’t die, please don’t die...’ He suddenly bolted through the door and down the hall”(144). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero enters the other four stages of The Initiation The Abyss or low point in his journey, The Transformation where he transforms into a new person( not literally), The Revelation where he realizes and reflects on his new self, and the Atonement where he becomes one with his new self. In The Outsiders, Pony goes through the second part of The Initiation in the Hero’s Journey. Pony’s Initiation continues when Pony sees Dally get shot by the police officers under the street light. This is his low point because when Dally dies it is his second friend that died in one night. Not only this but Pony even gets a concussion and becomes sick for a week making it pretty miserable for Ponyboy. Pony then goes on to the third stage of the initiation, The Transformation, when he starts to realize that Johnny and Dally are both dead and there is nothing he can do about it. He transforms when he finally accepts this to some degree. His Revelation is when he overcomes this fact that both of them are dead. This is his Revelation because it is like his rebirth into this new world for him. He overcomes this and then will enter the last stage of his Initiation phase: The Atonement. Pony’s Atonement is when he becomes one with his new self. It is when he know is ready for the last phase of the Hero’s Journey, The Return To Everyday Life.

       Ponyboy experiences The Return To Everyday Life when he returns to school after he recovers from his concussion. While Pony had been in the rumble he had hit his head and and gotten a concussion causing him to miss another week of school. Pony narrates, “‘I wish I could say that everything went back to normal, but it didn’t. Especially me’” (169). In the Hero’s Journey, The Return To Everyday Life is when the hero ends his journey and life starts to return to his normal life. The step in this last phase is when the hero returns with a gift of physical importance or a gift of knowledge. In The Outsiders, Pony goes through The Return To Everyday life. In this phase the hero needs to do one thing, return with a gift. Pony returns with a gift, not of physical importance, but of knowledge. His gift to the world is the knowledge of his friend and hero Johnny. This knowledge matters because it is the story of his friend that he wants to share with the world. It is knowledge of a hero who died to save kids. This is Pony’s gift to the world.

       In conclusion, Pony goes on a Hero’s Journey because he completes all the three required phases of a monomyth. In the book Pony travels through all the phases of a monomyth. He travels through the Separation from the Known when Johnny kills the soc and they receive help from their threshold guardian, Dally. He goes through the Initiation when he Johnny and Dally die. Pony experiences the fourth and final phase when he returns to school after exiting his concussion. So, Pony goes through all the three required phases of the Hero’s Journey, but does that make him a hero? If so where are heroes like Ponyboy or even Johnny. What makes them heroes? Acting in the face of inhumanity with humanity, being selfless or risking their lives? No, maybe it is just doing what is right.

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