Caroline Furrier

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay

My Essay Reflection

  1. How would you describe your writing in the beginning of the year and how would you describe it now? In the beginning of the year, I thought my writing was a bit weak and overall just not very exciting or interesting. Although I had a good vocabulary, I couldn't form my words into well-written sentences. This year, I became better at making my evidence match and make sense towards my commentary. I always have struggled at making world to text connections and overall explaining my logic over words. I feel that I have improved in that area a lot and that that now my thoughts are more organized and less spread out. This is making it a lot easier to prove a point.
  2. What do you consider your writing strengths? I feel that my strengths in writing is CUPS (capitalization, usage, punctuation and spelling), having a good vocabulary, getting a clear point across, having great structure and rich text, explaining my thoughts and stating strong info and providing good examples.
  3. What writing skills do you need and/or want to continue to develop next year?In the future, I think that I want to improve at proving my evidence and having better insight towards my examples. It's hard for me to explain "how or why" while writing and I think I need to get better at that. This is called literary analysis.
  4. What did you like best about reading this novel and/or doing this writing assignment? What I liked best about the novel is that I thought that it was more realistic than the other ones we had to read. Also it was more interesting by talking about human struggles in life and how he deals with them. I liked learning about this because I feel that everyone experiences these sort of feelings in their everyday life. I would much rather hear this than having to read books about history or fake unrealistic events that will never teach me anything about living my life or growing up. I also thought it was nice knowing that it was a book that my mom enjoyed when she was younger and that I could relate and understand what was going on more clearly.

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay

The Outsiders/Hero’s Journey  Caroline Furrier

5/5/14  Period 2

If someone said the word hero to most people, their first thought would probably be superheroes. The first image that comes to mind could be Ironman zooming away, Spiderman swinging from buildings or even Captain America flashing his invincible shield. People can assume that it comes from growing up while reading comics constantly about superpowers, or maybe the brand new movies coming out monthly with the usual protagonist who has abnormally crazy abilities. However, this isn’t the only type of hero you will find. They may not be just as flashy or exciting, but they are still heroes. One fine example is Ponyboy Curtis. He goes on a Hero’s Journey. Not to fight super villains, but only to return as a regular guy with a gift. In the realistic fiction, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, the main character Ponyboy Curtis goes on a Hero’s Journey because he travels through the three main phases of a monomyth.

Ponyboy experiences The Separation from the Known when Johnny kills the Soc, which causes them both to run away. At the park late, at night, Johnny and Pony encounter the Socs. They try to beat the boys up, and in self-defense, Johnny kills Bob, a Soc. After Johnny kills him, he says slowly, “I killed that boy”(56). In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Known is when the hero leaves the familiarity of the world he or she currently lives in and faces the unknown. This is called The Call to Adventure. Also. the hero usually has a feeling that something is wrong in the situation currently intact. This causes the hero to jump into action and experience a sudden and dramatic change. They may also encounter some type of guidance, who might provide assistance or advice. This person is called the Threshold Guardian. When Pony comes home late from being with Johnny, he gets into a fight with his older brother, Darry, and


he slaps him across the face. This leads him to run with Johnny, because he was feeling discontent and wanted to leave it behind. Pony experiences the Separation from the Known when Johnny kills Bob and they have to run away. Pony and Johnny both have never been like their gang, they have always been less rebellious, matter of fact, very different. All of a sudden they kill somebody and become less innocent, or so they feel. This sudden traumatic change in the situation causes them to flee to a place they do not know about. The call that forces them into action is the fact that Johnny kills the Soc. Also, when they run away, they go to Dallas for assassistance, and he provides a gun, money and advice on where to go. This proves that Pony is being separated from the known because Dally is a “threshold guardian”.

Ponyboy experiences The Initiation when Pony and Darry are finally getting along and now they could be separated for what Johnny did to the Soc. Pony is worried after he returns from running away because he learns that there is a chance that Darry, Soda and Pony may get separated. He says, “We couldn’t get hauled off now. Not after me and Darry had finally got through to each other”(108). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of The Initiation is when the hero goes into the unknown, physical or psychological. They may experience some challenges on the way. In The Outsiders, Pony goes through the first part of The Initiation when he figures out that Pony and Soda could get sent off to a boys home and be separated from Darry. This is the Initiation because Pony is going into an idea he does not know about (the unknown). He does not know what life would be like without Darry and his gang. Plus, he sees this as a negative aspect which is a psychological challenge. The action of being separated is also a physical


challenge. Either way, going into the unknown is something he is not used to. The reason why Ponyboy Curtis is worried is because being taken away into a boys home is uncomfortable for

him and is something he’s not used to in his everyday life. It is also an ordeal to overcome because it is losing even more family. After both of his parents had died, he was already alone and now he does not want it to be any worse. Plus, he had just gotten closer with Darry so he does not want to leave the comfortable relationships behind. This is why he is facing the challenges because he is going into the “unknown” which is supposed to be unfamiliar and in this case, negative.

Ponyboy continues to experience the The Initiation when Johnny and Pony interact before Johnny dies and Pony learns that fighting is not the right thing to do. When Pony and Dallas go to visit Johnny in the hospital, they figure out he is about to die from the accident. Pony learns wisdom from Johnny when they try to tell him about the rumble and he says, “fighting’s no good”(148). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero faces the lowest point. This is where he encounters and battles against his greatest fear. Then, he must overcome/push aside the fear to show courage, happiness or self sufficiency. Last but not least, the hero must come across a spectacular change in the way he views life. All of these steps are called The Abyss, The Transformation, The Transformation, The Revelation and The Atonement. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy undergoes the second part of the Initiation when he is in the hospital visiting Johnny. Pony and Dallas went to visit him and now he is close to dying. They had won against the Socs in the rumble and they came to tell Johnny all about it. Johnny says that he does not like fighting and then he dies. This reveals that this is The Abyss,


The Revelation and The Transformation. This is demonstrated when Johnny is dying/dies it is the lowest point when Pony is in the worst state, like The Abyss. Also, when Ponyboy learns he should not fight, he transforms by making way for courage and independence which is when he tells his gang how he feels. This would be considered courageous or a big change because no greaser has ever had that thought. All greasers are known for being tough and all take fighting as another aspect to improve the “tuff” look. Finally, this proves it is also the Revelation because Pony Curtis has the extreme change of having a new perspective about fighting, and overall that he does not like it. He shows this change of viewing violence as useless and that he wants it all to end.

Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he gets the gift of being able to realize that the two groups are different, yet also are very similar. When Pony goes to talk to the Soc, Randy, Pony feels sorry for Randy about Bob’s loss. Afterwards he tells about how he feels and explains, “Socs were just guys after all. Things were rough all over, but it was better that way. That way you could tell the other guy was human too”(118). In the Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday is when the hero must return to everyday life. The name of this phase is quite self-explanatory. Not only will the hero come back into their everyday life, but they will also return with a “gift”. It can be physical or psychological,but it represents something the hero earns in the end. With all of his struggles gone, the hero can tune in on paying it forward. In The Outsiders. Ponyboy goes through The Return to Everyday Life when he receives the gift of viewing the two groups differences and overcoming them. He comes out of his concussion and continues on into his life. But after he keeps just “living”, the real message gets more clear to

him. He realizes that he can be able to take a step back and look at the whole rivalry situation between Greasers and Socs. His gift is that he figures out that both groups all have the same goal, to have power over the other group. Yet, this is what brought them both together, the similarities. They are all people, just like him. Just because they live in different environments, it does not mean they have any excuse to fight each other. The new way Pony views the world is a gift, for

it can help both groups to be more open-minded and to bring the brawls to an end. Just like when he sees the sunsets. When Pony looks up at the beautiful sky he understands that although Greasers have it hard, that the Socs are looking up too. They both have it rough. It doesn’t matter where you live or what stereotypes people might have against you everybody has their own personal problems and this is what Ponyboy is finally seeing. The way of doing this is giving back, just like The Return to Everyday Life. It proves he has gone through and faced The Return to Everyday Life.

In conclusion, Ponyboy Curtis, From The Outsiders, goes on a Hero’s Journey and explores the three main phases of a monomyth, The Separation From the Known, The Initiation and The Return to Everyday Life. In the first stage, Johnny kills the Soc which force them to run away towards the unknown. In the second stage, Pony may get separated from his brothers and Johnny dies. Finally, Pony receives a gift of viewing Socs in a different way. Although all the moviestar superheroes may seem very exhilarating, they are not very realistic. Unlike superheroes, The Hero’s Journey can be pursued by anybody as long as they are ready for the challenges life throws at them. This can help anybody. It benefits everybody. Every person has


their worst moments or even their happiest, most successful ones. After all, we are just human beings and we all can go through a Hero’s Journey, for we are all our own personal types of heroes.

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