Sophie Relman

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey

My Essay Reflection

1) First of all, I think my hand writing has gotten better in general. Since the beginning of the year, I have learned about the Hero's Journey, and how to write long essays thoughtfully.

2) I think my writing strength is writing thoughtfully.

3)  I want to work on writing and typing faster.

4) I liked best about the book The Outsiders was the perspective, and how Ponyboy told the events that happened in it. Also, it was interesting to learn how he changed during the Hero's Journey.

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey

A definition of a hero is someone who sacrifices themselves for someone else. In modern society this would mean: working in foster care, adopting a child or animal rescue, or even saving kids that you do not know from a fire. Another form can be volunteering. Ponyboy is a true hero because he put his own safety aside to rescue those he did not know. Pony went on a hero’s journey. It is one of choice. He could have chosen not to save the kids, but he did. In the realistic 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 he lives with his two older brothers because his parents are dead, and also when the Socs like to jump the Greasers. Pony is walking home when a Soc car pulls up next to him and Socs get out and surround him. They pin him down and put a knife at his throat. Pony is very scared. The gang comes to his rescue. Pony is more emotional than the others in the gang. Pony thinks, “It occurred to me then that they [Socs] could kill me” (5). After the gang rescues him, Darry (his older brother) gets mad at Pony for walking home alone. Pony narrates “Darry wheeled around nd slapped me so hard that it knocked me against the door” (50).

In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Known is when the hero experiences discomfort or a lack of something in their life or place that they live. It is usually a traumatic experience or something causing the hero to leave his/her comfort zone, and go on an adventure. In The Outsiders, the Separation from the Known occurs when Darry slaps Pony. This is a traumatic experience for Pony, because nobody in his family had ever hit him. This sudden and traumatic experience causes action because it pushes Pony over the line and makes him incredibly angry. Pony takes the action of running away. This shows that Pony is in phase one of the Hero’s Journey because a sudden change causes action, and that is the definition  of this part. In order to get to Dally for help, Pony and Johnny must take a train. The train represents the threshold that Pony is crossing. Crossing a threshold is another definition of this phase. Running away, for Pony, is an unknown, so therefore, this is his separation from the known.

Ponyboy experiences the first part of the Initiation when he is trying to save the little kids in the fire. When Pony is in the fire, he thinks: “I should be scared, I thought with an odd detached feeling, but I’m not” (92). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of The Initiation is when the hero has to face fears or challenges during his or her Hero’s Journey. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy goes through the first part of The Initiation when he sees the burning church and runs into it to try to save the kids. It is a challenge for him because he can die in the fire, but he is willing to sacrifice for for the kids. Not many people would be willing to do this, like Dally. Dally was yelling at Pony and Johnny to get out while they still could, and yelling that they are so stupid because he would never go inside a burning building to save little kids when he could die. This is a physical and mental challenge for Ponyboy, and therefore, Pony goes through the first part of The Initiation.

Ponyboy experiences the second part of  The Initiation when Johnny dies. After Pony wakes up from being sick, Soda tells him that Johnny left Pony his copy of Gone With The Wind. Pony thinks: "I’d never get past the part where the southern gentlemen go riding into sure death because they are gallant. Southern gentlemen with big black eyes and blue jeans and t-shirts, southern gentlemen crumpling under streetlights" (159). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero "dies" and is reborn with a new perspective. In The Outsiders, The Initiation part two occurs when Johnny dies. When Pony says this quote, he means that he can't read the part in the book when the southern gentlemen ride into their deaths gallantly. Johnny knows that he could die in the fire, and yet he still cares about saving the kids more than his own life. The part about crumpling under streetlights is related to how Dally dies gallantly. Pony has a new perspective on death. Therefore, Pony went to The Initiation part two.

Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he goes home to live with his brothers, and he writes his English essay on his hero’s journey, and, in theory, is the book, The Outsiders. At the end of Pony’s Hero’s Journey, he is remembering how he changed. He decides to write his English essay on it. "And I decided I could tell people, beginning with my English teacher" (180). In the Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday Life is when the hero returns to "normal" life with a gift of some sort. In The Outsiders, when Pony writes his English essay on his Hero’s Journey, he experiences the Return to Everyday Life. His essay, in theory, is the book, The Outsiders. He wants people to understand him, and other boys who are different, so people will not be as quick to judge him. It helps him understand himself, and likewise for other boys. This is his way of giving back. Therefore, Pony goes through the Return to Everyday Life.

In conclusion, because Ponyboy Curtis goes through the three required phases of a monomyth, he therefore experiences the Hero’s Journey. Ponyboy went through the Hero’s Journey because he experiences the Separation from the Known, The Initiation, and the Return to Everyday Life. Anyone can be a foster parent or adoption home; they just need to be prepared for the challenges. Likewise for a Hero's Journey. The gift that they bring to everyday life will benefit everyone.

Comment Stream