Brian Ho

The Outsiders/ Hero's Journey Essay

My Essay Reflection

1. How would you describe your writing at the beginning of the year and how would you describe it now?

I think that my writing at the beginning of the year took more time for me to write and was more broad in topic than my writing today. My writing that I have today is now organized, thoughtful, and is written faster that my writing at the beginning of the year. For example, in my essay, I wrote, "In response, Johnny pulls out his switchblade and kills a Soc, scaring the rest away." Before this year, I would have written, "When Johnny stabs the Soc with his switchblade, the rest ran away." The difference is that my writing has become more elaborate. Clearly, I have improved over the last year.

2. What do you consider your writing strengths? Explain.

I think that my strengths in my writing is that I explain my point clearly. For example in my essay, I wrote, "This is important because if Johnny does not kill the Soc, the boys are do not become fugitives, and not have a reason to run away from town. This sudden change forces the boys into the unknown." This shows that I give reason behind my claim and support my point strongly.

3. What writing skills do you need and/or want to continue to develop next year? Explain.

I think that what I need to continue to develop next year is a less repetitive richer vocabulary. I noticed that in my essay I often used basic words like "choose," "enter," and "forces." Next time, I should find words in the thesaurus and find new words for my vocabulary.

4. What did you like best about reading this novel and/or doing this writing assignment?

I liked analyzing the novel of the Hero's Journey and how Ponyboy travelled through the three steps of a monomyth. I thought it was interesting because I knew their was a pattern in heros, but I never thought that their was a similar journey. I was very fascinated by writing this essay.

The Outsiders/ Hero's Journey Essay

A man in a dark suit and a cape races through a city like a bat. A firefighter stumbles out of a burning wreckage of a house with a child in his arms. A boy fights back against a bully who terrorizes his school. These are all examples of heroes. Heros seem to be seen all over the place in movies, in television, and in the everyday news. Although all these situations seem different, they all have to share one thing to be a hero, The Hero’s Journey. One of these Hero’s Journey Heros is a 14-year-old boy named Ponyboy, who lives in the wrong side of town in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1967. Like Captain America, who returns to the everyday life as a “gift” to the world as a guardian, Ponyboy returns to everyday life with the "gift" of different perspectives. In the realistic fiction novel The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, the main character Ponyboy Curtis goes through the Hero’s Journey because he travels through the three required phases of a monomyth.

Ponyboy experiences The Separation from the Known when Ponyboy and his buddy, Johnny, run away from their home to a park fountain late one night. Some Socs, the enemies of the Greasers, pull up to beat the two up. They start by attempting to drown Ponyboy. In response, Johnny pulls out his switchblade and kills a Soc, scaring the rest away. When Ponyboy wakes up and sees the dead Soc, Johnny says, “I killed him… I killed that boy”(56). In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Known is when the hero leaves his comfort zone and ventures into the unknown in the Call to Adventure. He or she also feels a sudden change that forces him or her into action. Threshold Guardians, such as mentors, give wisdom and knowledge in this step. The second part of The Separation of the Unknown is called the Threshold to Adventure. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy experiences the Call to Adventure when the Socs are always at conflict with the Greasers and the Socs always win. In the book, Ponyboy states that the Greasers cannot win against the Socs no matter what the Greasers beat the Socs. This means that the Socs are always at the top of the social hierarchy and the Greasers are at the bottom. No matter what the Greasers do to beat the Socs down, the Greasers will always be at the bottom and the Socs at the top. This is important because Ponyboy feels the injustice to make the conflict between the Socs and the Greasers even, not one better that the other. Ponyboy’s Threshold to Adventure is when the Socs arrive at a park fountain late at the night to beat up Johnny and Ponyboy. After a struggle at the fountain, Johnny kills a Soc. This shows that Johnny and Ponyboy have become fugitives of the law. This is important because if Johnny does not kill the Soc, the boys are do not become fugitives, and not have a reason to run away from town. This sudden change forces the boys into the unknown, outside of town.

Ponyboy experiences The Initiation when he and Johnny enter a burning church to rescue the children inside. Ponyboy and Johnny are hiding in an uninhabited church from the police when Dally drives up to see them. Dally drives the boys down the mountain to get food and starts to return to the church when they see that the church is on fire. When Dally, Johnny, and Ponyboy find out that there are children inside, Ponyboys and Johnny rush into the church to rescue the them. Ponyboy narrates, “Pieces of the old roof were crushing down too close for comfort. I snatched up another kid, hoping he didn’t bite, and dropped him without waiting to see if he landed ok or not”(93). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of The Initiation is when the hero experiences a physical or psychological unknown. In  The Outsiders, Ponyboy and Johnny experiences their physical and psychological challenge when they enter the burning church. Ponyboy and Johnny did not have to enter the church. They may have chosen to just watch the church burn. But they choose to rescue the kids in the church. When the boys enter the church, they face another challenge. With the fire and the blazing wood falling all around the boys, they find it dangerous and difficult to find the children. It requires much courage to enter a burning church just like Ponyboy and Johnny.  Lastly, inside the church, they find fires burning, ciders tumbling, debris everywhere, and smoke clouding the air. This shows that the church is a new unknown because they find the church not as the uninhabited, empty church, but as a new, blazing, radiant, dangerous burning church. In this situation, it does not matter if one is a “Greaser” or a “Criminal,” but who is willing to act as a hero.

Ponyboy continues to experience The Initiation when Johnny and Dally are recovering from their injuries from the church fire. Ponyboy, Johnny, and Dally all successfully save the children, but they all suffer injuries as a result. Ponyboy suffers the least of his injuries and recovers quickly. But Dally and Johnny suffer the worst injuries. After reporters leave the hospital after interviewing Darry, Soda, and Ponyboy Curtis about the church incident, the boys wait to hear about Dally and Johnny’s condition. They learn that Dally is going to be alright.  But for Johnny, they learn that he is in critical condition. Pony reacts with fear, “If he lived… If? Please, no, I thought. Please not “if”. The blood was draining from my face, and Darry put an arm across my shoulder and squeezed hard”(102). in the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero battles an internal or external fear during a low point in his or her journey in the part called The Abyss. Next, during The Transformation, a fear makes way to courage, enlightenment, and independence. Lastly, when the hero experiences a dramatic change that changes his or her view of life and becomes united with his or her new self, he or she experiences The Revelation and The Atonement. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy experiences The Abyss when he learns that Johnny is in critical condition. Ponyboy feels much fear and devastation because he does not want to lose Johnny. Johnny is Ponyboy’s best friend, who is a part of Ponyboy’s gang. All the people in Ponyboy’s gang are each other’s family, which also means that Johnny is part of the family. Ponyboy lost his parents a long time ago, losing a part of his family. Losing Johnny is like losing a family member. Ponyboy does not want to lose another family member again. Losing a family member is Ponyboy’s greatest fear.  This shows that in a Hero’s Journey, the hero has to pass through a low point by battling his or her greatest fear. Ponyboy also experiences The Transformation. When Ponyboy is at a rumble, also known as a gang fight, Ponyboy no longer thinks that he has to be tough and bad, but yo be smart and to have a purposeful life. Before coming to the rumble, Ponyboy thinks that he has to be tough and strong all the time. But at the rumble, Ponyboy believes that his gang does not have to be hooligans like their allied gang, Tim Shepard’s gang of hooligans; They can do something great in the world. Finally, Ponyboy experiences the Revelation and the Atonement when he rests with his brothers in peace and harmony. Darry, Ponyboy’s 22-year-old brother acts as the parent of the family since their parents are no longer living. He gives Ponyboy a hard time on almost everything, which leads to darry hitting Ponyboy and Ponyboy running away. Now Ponyboy finds peace with his brothers, with both his other brother, Soda, and his older brother, Darry. He also finds that he now looks up to Darry. Before the murder of the Soc, Ponyboy looks up to Soda, wanting to quit school to work and play. Now Ponyboy looks up to Darry because he sees that Darry can go to college, be smart, and live a purposeful life. But the thing that holds Darry down is his brothers, Soda and Ponyboy. Ponyboy wants to be a smart and have a purposeful life, just like his brother Darry.

Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he recovers from his concussion after witnessing Johnny and Dallas’s death and returns to everyday life. Right after the rumble, Ponyboy and Dallas rush to the Hospital only to see Johnny dies. Dallas cannot control himself and robs a local store. As the rest of Ponyboy’s gang tries to rush to Dallas, the police come and shoot Dallas, killing him. Instantly, Ponyboy falls into a concussion. When he wakes up, he returns to everyday life.For one of his assignments, he has to write a theme. He thinks of his journey he and Johnny travel through. He thinks of what Johnny sees in the world, and what Dallas sees in the world. He thinks, “Somebody should tell their side of the story, and maybe people would understand”(153). In the Hero’s Journey. The Return to Everyday Life is when the hero returns to everyday life. The hero also returns with a “gift” to the world as a result of the hero’s struggle. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy returns to everyday life with a gift that the world has many perspectives. There are any people that live in the world. People agree, disagree, argue, debate, convince, and do many things to show one thing, their perspective. This is because everybody is different. A sixth-grade girl learning in a private school in England will probably have a different perspective of the world than a 24-year-old man with little education is South America. The same applies to a boy who receives a beating from Socs, saves children from a fire, and looks at sunsets than a man who fights Socs, attacks little children, and looks at the darkness in the world. They both have very different perspectives of the world. If people were look at the perspective of a person that what they look at the person from the outside, maybe people may not be too quick to judge.

In conclusion, the main character of the realistic fiction novel The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, Ponyboy Curtis clearly travels through the Hero’s Journey because he faces the three steps of a monomyth. In the beginning of the Hero’s Journey, Ponyboy passes through the Separation from the Known when Johnny kills a Soc. Next, Ponyboy experiences the Initiation when he and Johnny rescue children from a burning church.  The Initiation Part 2 is when Ponyboy, Darry, and Soda hear news of Johnny’s condition. Lastly, Ponyboy ends the Hero’s Journey in the Return to Everyday Life when he writes his theme on the perspectives of the world. Many heros seem extraordinary, like Thor, Spiderman, and Captain America. But on the inside, they are just normal people. The Hero’s Journey is not just a story that is written on paper. Anybody can take a Hero’s Journey. Sometimes, people are forced into action, but mostly people have to choose whether to take the risk entering the Unknown or relax in the Known. When people take the Hero’s Journey, they have to endure many hardships. But in the end, when the hero returns, the hero’s gift may not benefit themselves but benefits the world.

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