Lauren Daniel

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay

My Essay Reflection

In the beginning of the year my writing did not flow and wasn't very descriptive. Now, my writing flows really well and is interesting to read. My writing strengths are writing in a way interesting to read not just choppy and not detailed. Some writing skills I need to develop are not having run-on sentences, using commas when needed, and getting to the point. My favorite thing about reading this novel and doing this writing assignment is that it opened my eyes to a whole new world of people that I've never learned about before and I really liked the characters in the book.

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay

The Outsiders/Hero’s Journey Lauren Daniel

5/5/14 Period 5

When most people think about heroes, they think about the kind of heroes that save the world, like Batman, Spiderman, Superman, and Captain America. This is probably because this type of hero is the one that entertains people and shows up in comics and movies. These types of heroes have super powers that help defeat the evil guy and save the world. However, this is not the only type of hero. There is a less amazing hero. One that goes on a Hero’s Journey, like Ponyboy Curtis. They do not have the ability to shoot webs out of their fingers, but to return to their everyday life with a gift. 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 Johnny kills Bob, the Soc, and they are forced to run away. Late at night in the park, the Socs arrive to beat up Pony and Johnny. Bob starts dunking Pony’s head in the fountain and he passes out. When Pony wakes up from being unconscious, Johnny is in shock. Johnny finally says something, “‘I killed him,’ he said slowly. ‘I killed that boy’” (56). In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Known is when the hero leaves his comfortable and known world and travels into the darkness of the unknown. The hero experiences a sudden, traumatic change that forces him into action. In The Outsiders, Johnny, whos is the nicest guy and would never hurt anybody, kills Bob because he was drowning Ponyboy in the fountain. This is the sudden, traumatic change. This is sudden because no one would have ever predicted this to happen and it was decided on the spot. Anyone would be scarred for life if they killed someone or someone dead so this is the traumatic piece. Pony and Johnny are


both in shock and and are forced to run away in fear of what is going to happen to them. This is the action they are forced to take due to the sudden, traumatic change. By running away to the country from the city, Ponyboy is separated from the known.

Ponyboy experiences The Initiation when Johnny has to cut and bleach Pony’s hair so they do not get recognized by their picture in the paper. When Johnny comes back to their hideout from shopping, Pony realizes that Johnny is going to cut his hair and he is very reluctant. He narrates, “It was my pride. It was long and silky, just like Soda’s, only a little redder. Our hair was tuff, we didn’t have to use much grease on it. Our hair labeled is greasers, too - it was our trademark. The one thing we were proud of. Maybe we couldn’t have Corvairs of madras shirts, but we could have hair”(71). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of The Initiation is when the hero journeys into a physical and/or physiological unknown. In The Outsiders, the first part of the second phase occurs when Johnny has to cut and bleach Pony’s hair. This is a physical unknown for Ponyboy because he loves his hair, it is his pride. He says that is labels them as greasers, so by Johnny giving him a haircut he is also basically taking away his identity. This is unknown to Pony because he had always been looked at as a greaser because of his hair. Ponyboy has never had short hair and did not want to start now.

Ponyboy continues to experience The Initiation when he finds out that Johnny is in critical condition. Pony goes with his brother to visit Johnny in the hospital and the doctor tells them, “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. They were doing everything they could to


ease the pain, although since his back was broken he couldn’t even feel the burns below his waist”(102). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero experiences a low point where he must battle with his greatest internal or external fear (The Abyss). In The Outsiders, Pony’s low point is when he finds out that Johnny is in critical condition because Johnny is Pony’s best friend and even if Johnny lives he will be paralyzed from the waist down. Nothing will ever be the same. This is his greatest fear that he has to do battle with, losing the ones he loves, his “family”. This has been his greatest fear ever since he lost his parents. Since part of this phase is the Abyss and Pony experiences a low point, it proves that he has gone through this phase.

Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he writes his theme to help the “Dallys” of the world. After Pony reads the note that Johnny left him, that tells him to tell Dally that there is still good in the world, he discovers that its not just a personal problem and narrates, “I could see boys going down under street lights because they were mean and tough and hated the world, and it was too late too tell them that there was still good in it, and they wouldn’t believe you if you did. It was too vast a problem to be just a personal thing. There should be some help, someone should tell them before it was too late”(179). In the Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday Life is when the hero returns to his everyday life, typically with a gift. In The Outsiders, Pony returns to everyday life when he decides to write his theme. His theme try to tell people that there is still good in the world and to tell everyone their side of the story, which is that they are not all bad


people, they have some good inside of them too, they just do not let it show. This is Pony’s gift. Because Pony returns with a gift, this proves that he went through this phase.

In conclusion, because Ponyboy experiences the required phases, he has been on a Hero’s Journey. First, his Call to Adventure is when Johnny kills Bob and they are forced to run away. He experiences The Initiation when Johnny has to cut and bleach his hair. Next, Ponyboy goes through the second part of The Initiation when Johnny is in critical condition. Finally, Pony Returns to Everyday Life when he decides to wire his theme to the “Dallys” of the world and tell their side of the story. It is possible for someone to save the world from an evil villain, but it just does not happen a lot and is not likely. However, a Hero’s Journey can be taken by anyone at anytime. They just have to be prepared for the challenges, but everyone will be happy when he or she returns with a gift.

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