Claire Chen

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay

My Essay Reflection

My writing at the beginning of the year was decent, but not great. I was capable of writing an essay, but it was very abrupt and didn't flow well. This year, my writing improved greatly; English actually became my best subject. I love writing a lot.

My strengths are descriptive vocabulary and actually finding and using a good topic sentence.  My elementary teachers were big on vocabulary, so I know a lot of descriptive words.

I would still like to work on organizing my writing. It has never been one of my strengths, and I know I still need to work on it.

4. I liked reading this novel because it was a book about a teenager's life. Even though, Ponyboy grew up as a Greaser, he still had a teenager life. By reading this book, I got to compare my teenage life to his. Writing about the book was awesome too. I broke down his Hero's Journey and watched as young, shy Pony became "tough" and a hero!

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey

The Outsiders Hero’s Journey

Claire Chen

5/6/14

Period 2

Wonderwoman! Batman! Superman! All of these people who are heroes because of their super powers. However, normal people can be heroes too. They can go on a Hero’s Journey and experience everything a hero does... Minus the superpowers, of course. For instance, in the realistic novel The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, the main character Ponyboy Curtis goes on a Hero’s Journey because he travels through the required phases.

Poony experiences The Separation from the Known when Darry hits him, and he runs away to the park with Johnny. They get in a fight with the Socs, and as a result, Johnny kills Bob the Soc and tells Ponyboy, “ ‘I killed him,’ ... ‘I killed that boy” (56). In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Known is when the hero abandons their comfortable life and creeps into the adventure of the unknown. The hero is unsatisfied with his or her situation and needs contentment and or justice. Something negative happens to the hero and she or he run into the Helpers, who guide them. In The Outsiders, Pony is discontent with his life and wants to be “tough”. One night after Pony and Johnny go to the movies with the Soc’s girlfriends, they find themselves surrounded by Socs. The Socs fight and almost drown Pony, so Johnny kills the Soc. This is the official Separation from the Known. Pony and Johnny have become criminals, instead of Greasers. This is unknown to them because their identity’s changed. Instead of being Greasers, like they have been all their lives, they are now suddenly criminals and fleeing the area to save themselves from being thrown into the reformatory. Johnny killing the Soc is the sudden, traumatic change that causes action. Terrified of being thrown in jail, they run away to Dally, who’s their Threshold Guardian, who gives them supplies and advice on where to flee. Pony and Johnny officially go through the Threshold to the Unknown.

Pony experiences The Initiation when he finds out he could get separated from his “family”. Ever since his parents died, Darry, Soda, and the gang had taken care of him. Pony is shocked, scared, and unsure when Steve tells him he might be taken away to a boy’s home. Pony repeats, “‘ You mean...’ -- I swallowed hard -- ‘that they’re thinking about putting me and Soda in a boy’s home or something?’” (108). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of the Initiation is when the hero disappears into the psychological or physical unknown. In The Outsiders, Pony enters the Initiation when he realize he could get separated from his family. Pony is worried because the gang is basically his only family, and this is where he feels content and comfortable. This is a challenge for him because he could be stuck in a boys’ home all alone, without his loving family. Pony does not want to be alone. It is an “unknown” life without family; he is disappearing into the psychological unknown of being alone, without his family to support him.

Ponyboy continues to experience The Initiation when he finds out Johnny, his best friend, is going to pass away. Pony visits Johnny in the hospital and tries to keep his spirits up. Pony says, “‘ You’ll be okay...’ ‘You ain’t gonna die,’ I said, trying to keep my voice down” (121-122). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero comes across the lowest point (The Abyss). The hero must escape this and become brave (Transformation). Last, he or she changes, sees life differently, and becomes at peace with one’s self, which is called the Revelation and Atonement. In The Outsiders, Pony enters the Abyss as soon as he finds out his best friend Johnny is probably going to pass away. His is devastated, and Johnny’s death shocks him. He becomes delirious and seems unaware of what is happening. Pony is confused, lost, heartbroken, and even has a concussion. He is having an extremely hard time pulling himself together, so he is definitely in the lowest part of his journey. This is the Abyss because it is his greatest fear. He lost his best friend and is alone. Johnny was one of the two people who actually understood him, and now, Johnny is gone from Pony’s life.

Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when his view of Socs and other people around him, changes. Pony is not afraid of the Socs anymore. He does not feel intimidated or frightened. Pony narrates, “I didn’t feel anything - scared, mad, or anything” (171). In The Outsiders, Pony returns to his everyday life when he shares his gift to the world. This gift comes in the form of an essay his teacher made him write. It is about his adventure, his journey and his lost friends, Johnny, who died a hero, and Dally, who died wild, threatening and fighting the police. He is teaching everyone that everybody is the same in their own way, so do not treat people differently. Also, he learns to not judge people unless he knows their story. This is a very important lesson for everyone because it will help people get along and work together better.

In conclusion, Ponyboy goes on a Hero’s Journey because he took the required steps. He went through The Separation from the Unknown when he ran away from home. Pony journeyed through The Initiation, when he discovers that he could get separated from his only “family”. Then, he experiences the second part of The Initiation, when his best friend, Johnny, passes away, leaving Pony alone. Finally, he finishes his journey in The Return to Everyday Life, when he stops stereotyping or judging the Socs. He realizes that the Socs are human, just like him, and he starts to understand that is it not good to stereotype people. Not all heroes have super powers, like a magical hammer. Average people can be heroes too by traveling through the steps of a Hero’s Journey. All people need is discomfort or discontent (everyone does) and the urge to fix this unhappiness. Then, they have to follow the urge through a door to adventure... Leading them on a journey to be a hero! After the journey, this normal person or hero, would return with a gift to bring back to his or her everyday life to share with the world among him or her. This is a Hero’s Journey, and everybody is capable of achieving it.

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