Maryanne Fu

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay


       At the beginning of the year, I was struggling with writing because it was hard for me to organize my thoughts into an essay. Now, however, it is much easier for me to organize and write an essay. My writing strengths are finding good evidence and explaining concepts to the reader, because it is easier to elaborate on subjects when you are straightforward and if you keep things simple. Next year, I want to develop better introductory and conclusion paragraphs because we have not worked on those two very often this year, and it is difficult for me to think of an interesting grabber sentence in the beginning that still relates to my topic (because the topic often is not very interesting). I also want to work on my conclusion paragraphs more because many times I can't think of something for the conclusion that is not an exact copy of the topic sentence, especially since I am supposed to be saying the same thing as the topic sentence. What I liked best about reading The Outsiders learning about what life was like a few decades ago because it was interesting to me to think about the many different lives of others and how their situations affected them and their lives.

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay:

The Outsiders/Hero’s Journey                                                                     Maryanne Fu

3/5/14                                                                                                                period 2

       Heroes are often the “good guys”. They are the people expected to be heroes, no matter what kind: police, superman, or a random person standing up to a bully. However, there comes a time when the people expected to commit crimes do the opposite: instead, they decide to become the hero rather than the “bad guy”. 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 Pony and Johnny run away from home as fugitives. Pony and Johnny leave Dally’s house in order to escape the police at night to gohide in a church on the countryside. Pony says, ‘“Sure, Dally. Thanks. And we ran into the darkness” (62). In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Known is when the hero leaves his or her familiar, or known, world, and ventures into the unknown. The hero is usually uncomfortable in their situation. They then experience a dramatic change that forces them into their adventure and encounter helpers, who provide assistance for their journey. In The Outsiders, Pony leaves his hometown. This is Separation From the Known because he leaves his hometown, which is a comfortable and known place, in order to go out of the city and out into the darkness, which is unknown. Pony does not like his situation at home because he does not get along with his brother, Darry. Pony also does not like his current situation, because as a greaser, he wants to be tough and tuff, which he is not. When he and his friend, Johnny, get in a fight with the socs and one of the socs is killed, this is a dramatic change that forces Pony and Johnny into action because they are afraid of getting caught for murder. They stop at Dally’s house for assistance, which shows that Dally is the Helper, or Threshold Guardian, as Dally provides them with a gun, some money, a leather jacket, and some directions to a church to hide out in.

      Ponyboy experiences The Initiation when he saves the children who are stuck in the burning church. When Pony, Johnny, and Dally come back to the church after having some ice cream, they realize there are children stuck inside. In response, Pony goes inside the church to rescue the children. Pony narrates, he “snatched up another kid, hoping he didn’t bite, and dropped him out waiting to see if he landed okay or not” (93). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of The Initiation is when the hero faces challenges, such as a physical and/or psychological unknown. In The Outsiders, Pony goes into the burning church with Johhny to save the children stuck inside. This is a challenge for him because Pony and Johnny are venturing into a dangerous, burning church where they do not know if a burning piece of wood will fall on them randomly, or when the burning church will collapse. This is also a psychological unknown because Pony, a fugitive, turns into a hero without a second thought. It is unknown for Pony because Pony is a greaser, so he was never looked upon respectfully by others, but rather looked down upon, or feared. In this way, venturing into the world of being a hero after being a fugitive is a psychological unknown because Pony has not been a hero before.

       Ponyboy continues to experience The Initiation when he realizes and decides that it is not right for socs and greasers to be enemies just because of their wealth. When Pony watches Darry about to fight someone who used to be his good friend, but became enemies because one was a soc and one was a greaser, Pony thinks, “They used to be friends, and now they hate each other because one has to work for a living and the other comes from the west side. They shouldn’t hate each other. I don’t hate the socs anymore...they shouldn’t hate…” (143). In the Hero’s Journey. the second part of The Initiation is when the hero changes the way he or she views life, usually in a wiser, more independent, or courageous way (the revelation). In The Outsiders. Pony realizes that it should not matter where people live, or how “different” they are . Instead, some people are friendly and rather very alike to others, no matter how different they may be, so they can become friends instead of enemies, just because of their different situations. When Pony realizes this, he goes through a revelation, or the second part of The Initiation. This is because this realization is a conclusion from his journey that lets him view life in a different, more unbiased way. Before Pony’s journey, Pony was more scared and hateful of the socs. However, Pony saw that the only real good reason to fight is for self-defense; not for fun, not for showing off and not just because everyone else does.

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