The Outsiders/Hero’s Journey
My Essay Reflection
1. 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 short and now my writing is longer and more developed.
2. What do you consider your writing strengths? Explain.
One of my writing strengths is being creative. Another one is that I stay on topic.
3. What writing skills do you need and/or want to continue to develop next year? Explain.
I need to develop the writing skills of using my imagination more to make my writing longer and use my vocabulary to enhance my writing. I also need to work on my sentence structure to make my sentences clear for the reader.
4. What did you like best about reading this novel and/or doing this writing assignment?
The best thing about reading this novel was enjoying the adventure in the writing of the book. It was very exciting and fun to read.
The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay
The Outsiders/Hero’s Journey Eddie Shi
5/5/14 Period 6
Heroes are people who save the day and are powerful because they either have gadgets, like Batman, are aliens, Superman, or have been mutated, like Spiderman. Most heros do not have super powers or gadgets or have been mutated. Most heroes are ordinary people, like Ponyboy Curtis, without any superpowers who go through the Hero’s Journey. 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 he realizes that his friend, Johnny, kills a soc, a social class that is richer than Ponyboy’s class, called greasers, and like to beat greasers up, to save his life. Ponyboy’s life is threatened when a group of socs corner Johnny and him in a park. Then one of the socs dunk Ponyboy’s head into a fountain in the park, while Johnny watches in horror and then Ponyboy goes unconscious. Johnny realizes that Ponyboy is going to drown, so Johnny knifes the soc that is dunking Ponyboy and accidentally kills the soc. When Ponyboy wakes up and realizes what Johnny did, he said “‘Johnny!’ I nearly screamed. ‘What are we gonna do? They put you in the electric chair for killing people!’” (57). In The Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Known is when the hero leaves what he or she feels comfortable and travels into the unknown. Often hero feels discontent or wants honor or justice. Then the hero experiences a sudden and traumatic change and goes to helpers for wisdom or advice. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy’s Separation from the Known is when he realizes that Johnny kills a soc. This is a sudden and traumatic event because Ponyboy falls unconscious and then he wakes up and finds that the soc dies because Johnny kills him. This is very sudden because waking up and finding Johnny killing someone is very sudden and when Ponyboy finally accepts this fact, it is very traumatic because he realizes that the police will be after Johnny. Growing up with other greasers who protected him and helped him, Ponyboy had a strong belief that his gang of greasers and friends should stick together. So Ponyboy and Johnny decide to run from the scene and take refuge at a friend’s house, another greaser whose name is Dally. Dally is a threshold guardian who gives Ponyboy and Johnny money, a gun, a shirt for Ponyboy, and information about an abandoned church where they could hide until the search for them calmed down. Ponyboy and Johnny leave Dally’s threshold and travel to this church that they have never heard of and so they are traveling from the known to the unknown.
Ponyboy experiences The Initiation when he realizes that Johnny might die from his broken back. Johnny broke his back trying to help Ponyboy save children in a burning church. When a piece of timber fell on him and Ponyboy talks to the doctor and Ponyboy narrates, “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 first part of The Initiation is when the hero journeys into challenges, tests, and ordeals, and temptations in the unknown. In The Outsiders, the first part of The Initiation occurs when Johnny is injured very badly and Ponyboy is worried that he might lose one of his few friends. He fears what he is going to do if he loses Johnny. This is a challenge for Ponyboy because he has already experienced the death of his parents and doesn’t want to experience a death of his friend. Ponyboy will have to overcome this challenge as part of The Initiation. Ponyboy continues to experience The Initiation when he reads the newspaper and realizes that the court might send Soda and him to a boy’s home. Ponyboy is at home reading the newspaper after his time in the hospital for saving the children in the burning church. Johnny is still alive, but is in the hospital. After reading the newspaper, Ponyboy realizes what the court might do, and says, “‘No, they ain’t goin’ to put us in a boy’s home.’ ‘Don’t worry about it,’ Steve said, cocksure that he and Sodapop could handle anything that came up. ‘They don’t do things like that to heroes’” (109). In The Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero confronts his or her’s worst fear or enemy (Abyss) and transforms when the fear dies to make way for courage, enlightenment,a dn independence (transformation). The hero views life in a new way because of the sudden change and learns to live with it (revelation and atonement). In The Outsiders, Ponyboy experiences the Abyss when he realizes that he might be separated from his brothers. This is Ponyboy’s low point because his brothers are all he has left of his family, since his parents died in a car accident. Even though Ponyboy considers the gang part of his family, his real family is more important. This is his greatest fear because he realizes when he is picked up in the hospital by his brothers that they were more important because they are his real family.
Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he returns to school. Ponyboy returns to everyday life contused because he has changed from his Hero’s Journey. Because of this, Ponyboy’s grade drop and the only way to correct his English grade is to write a good final essay. Ponyboy narrates, “One week had taken all three of them. And I decided I could tell people, beginning with my English teacher. I wondered for a long time how to start that theme (essay)” (180). In the Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday Life is when the hero returns to everyday life with a gift to share with the world. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy’s return to everyday life makes Ponyboy confused. After getting over his friends’ deaths, Ponyboy decides to share his experience or wisdom that he learns from his Hero’s Journey and hopes that no one else will have to go through the experience of losing three friends in a week. Ponyboy also hopes that other people won’t assume people will do some things that are expected by them because they are born in that social class.
In conclusion, The Outsiders shows how Ponyboy went through the phases of the Hero’s Journey. The Separation from the Known, The Initiation, and The Return to Everyday Life. Ponyboy experienced fear of killing a soc, fear of losing a friend, and finally fear of being separated from his brothers. In the end, Ponyboy decides to write about his experience to tell to all of the people. Seldom will there be a time where a superhero appears and saves the day. The Hero’s Journey is not off-limits to just super heroes. Anyone can take it. And with people taking the Hero’s Journey, there will be lots of gifts that they will return with to benefit the world.