Joyce Yun

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 would describe my writing in beginning of the year as descriptive to put it nicely, since I often went on and one and tried to say everything that I wanted to, causing paragraphs that were like a mini-essay themselves. Now, I thin my writing is more concise and to the point.

2) What would you consider your writing strengths? Explain.

I think my writing strengths mainly lie in narrative writing, but I think my writing strengths in expository writing is probably the hook. I like to think that I have a strong lede that lures the reader in. I usually like to start with things that seem like they're not related to the topic, but actually are. For example, I used the movie "Grease" as my hook which doesn't seem like it has much relation with the Hero's Journey.

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

I still need to be a little more brief and less repetitive in my writing. I think I still value the length of the writing a lot, so I tend to repeat what I say or wander off the path trying to make it longer. I want to fix that habit.

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

I loved reading this novel because it was such a good book and not a one that I would've picked up on my own since I would consider it a 'musty, old book'. I wasn't excited about reading it in the beginning, but now I love it. I think I wouldn't have known what I was missing out on! I enjoyed writing the hook and conclusion when doing the writing assignment, but also summarizing main parts of the story.

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay

In the famous musical and movie “Grease”, the boys are portrayed as flirtatious troublemakers. That is what most people think of when they hear the term “grease” or “greasers”. Motorcycles, trouble, leather jacket, and slicked-back hair have become their symbols over the years. It seems as if one cannot find any similarities between these soon-to-be criminals and Spiderman shooting webs to defeat villains. However, there is a similarity. Ponyboy Curtis is your stereotypical Greaser, but he has one difference. He is a hero who completed the Hero’s Journey and returned 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 he meets Dally, his Threshold Guardian, who offers him help and wisdom. After Johnny accidentally kills Bob, Ponyboy and Johnny goes to Dally for help. Pony narrates, “Dally walked us back to the door, turning off the porch light before we stepped out. ‘Git goin’!’ He messed up Johnny’s hair. ‘Take care, kid,’ he said softly. ‘Sure, Dally, thanks.’ And we ran into the darkness” (62). In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Known is when the hero experiences discontempt and wants change in his life. This is the Call to Adventure. Then, an action forces him to start his journey and he meets his Threshold Guardian, who gives him wisdom and things to help him in his journey. The Hero then enters the Unknown. In The Outsiders, Pony and Johnny goes to Dally for help. Dally gives them gun, money, and information about where to hide at. He then walks them back and sends them off

into the darkness. This proves that he is a Threshold Guardian. Dakky actually walks them to a physical threshold and then sends them off into the darkness of the night. This fits the definition of a Threshold Guardian perfectly as they are supposed to help the Hero with items or information and then sends them off into the Unknown. The darkness traditionally represents unknown or fear. Clearly, this proves that Ponyboy completes Phase 1 of the Hero’s Journey, or the Separation from the Known.

Ponyboy experiences The Initiation when he overcomes his fear and saves the kids from a burning building. After killing Bob, Pony and Johnny hides out in an abandoned church in the country that Dally told them about. When Pony sees that the church is burning and that there are children in it, he rushes in to help. He states, “I wasn’t about to go through that flaming door, so I slammed a big rock through the window and pulled myself in” (91). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of The Initiation is when the hero faces challenges of the Unknown and must overcome his fear to defeat those challenges. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy saves kids from a burning building although he does not know what will happen. When he pulls himself into the building, he is entering the Unknown and does not know what might happen. He could die in there for all he knows, yet he stills pulls himself into the burning building. He does not know these kids and could easily walk away like Dally wanted to do, but he does not. In order to complete this action, Ponyboy has to to overcome his fear of the Unknown and overcome this challenge. This fits the description of a hero completing challenges. He successfully passes his “test” that determines whether he’ll be a selfless hero or selfish Dally and proves himself a hero. This clearly proves that Ponyboy goes through the first phase of Initiation.

Ponyboy continues to experience The Initiation when he realizes how important his brothers are and starts to care for Darry. After coming back, Pony sees Darry crying and hugs him. Johnny dies, and Ponyboy finally realizes how important his brothers, especially Darry, are and starts to care for them. He says, “Oh. I thought maybe I didn’t ask for Darry. It was bugging me” (159). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of Initiation is when the hero falls into The Abyss where he faces his greatest fear. He then goes through the Transformation where something dies inside him so that something new can be born. Finally, during the Atonement and Revelation, the hero embraces his new self and accepts it. In The Outsiders, Pony sees Darry cared for him and was only afraid of losing him when he sees him crying after Pony comes back. Ponyboy goes through Revelation after he awakes from his concussion. He worries that he did not ask for Darry and hurt Darry’s feelings, which is a dramatic change from the beginning when Ponyboy states that Darry does not have any feelings. He views his life, especially people around him, differently. He makes an effort to understand Darry instead of insisting that he is right all the time. Ponyboy’s attitude definitely changed from the beginning when he kept saying that Darry does not love him. Pony finally understands that it is in fact the opposite and all the things Darry does is because he loves and cares for him. Pony experiences the second part of Initiation when his view on the world changes.

Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he writes a theme on his new knowledge and wisdom as his gift to the world. When Pony is assigned to write a theme for English class, he decides to write about his Journey and give wisdom. He writes, “And I finally began something like this: When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my minds: Paul Newman and a ride home” (180). In the Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday Life is when the hero returns to his everyday life and gives a gift to the world such as wisdom and knowledge. In The Outsiders, Pony gives a gift to the world to complete his Hero’s Journey. HIs gift turns out to be the theme that he writes for English class. It delivers the message that he has learned from his Journey. Pony learns that just like Cherry told him, things really are rough all over and that he should not stereotype and hate people because of who they seem to be, because they are all separate people and you do not really know anything about them. He tries to tell the world that someone should help kids like Dally or Tim Shepard before it is too late and end up like Dally. He wants to deliver what he has learned, and he actually says in the book that he will tell people about it, starting with his English teacher and attempts to spread his newfound wisdom to the world. Pony perhaps hopes to change people’s view about Greasers and to make the Socs and Greasers think about the point he is making about how they should not hate each other. Ponyboy completes his journey by giving a gift to the world that contains his wisdom and message learned through his Journey.

Clearly, Ponyboy Curtis completes a Hero’s Journey by going through the Call to Adventure, Initiation and Return to Everyday Life in The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Ponyboy begins his journey be getting help from Dally, and then overcomes his fear and jumps in to rescue kids from the burning church. Going through the journey makes him selfless and, he starts to care for his brother. In the end, he offers a gift to the world. Many picture John Travolta singing about a girl he met on the beach when they hear “greaser”. They do not picture heroes like Superman as an example of Greaser. However, Pony’s Hero’s Journey proves anyone is able to become a hero, no matter the amount of money they have, the clothes they wear, the stereotypes against them, or how much grease is in their hair. Ponyboy Curtis proves that, despite the amount of grease in his hair and the number of cigarettes that he smokes per day, he is a hero. Anyone can become a hero no matter what other think about him or her. It is just the matter of who chooses to answer the Call to Adventure.

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