Jaime Furlong

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 definitely believe my writing through the course of the year has improved in a few different perspectives. I have noticed that I now pay more attention to my word use, trying not to be repetitive or use lifeless or boring words. Also, I really strive for explaining everything I write about, checking for the " Who? What? When? Where? "  more than I used to, even though it took me awhile to begin to grasp.

2. What do you consider your writing strengths?

I think my writing strengths are grabbing the reader's attention and persuading the reader into really believing in what I am talking about, and being on my side. I wrote a persuasive essay in 6th grade, and I loved every minute of writing it. For me it's one thing to write about a random topic trying to get the reader to believe in me and what I'm writing about. But I think it's a huge component when the writer really believes what they are writing about, because if they don't, then what reader will?

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

I really think there are many things I can improve on, some will need more work than others. The biggest one for me I believe is really explaining all the details about what I'm writing about. Sometimes I tend to be vague with what I'm writing, and forget that the reader probably isn't following along very well.

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

I've never really read a book like this one before. The setting, the time frame, the personality of the characters, and so on so that was a cool thing to experience through a book. Also, I really enjoy how google docs works, giving you the ability to comment on your classmates essays, and them on yours.

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay

Hero’s Journey                                                                                                            Jaime Furlong

5/5/14                                                                                                                                       Period 6

Everyday, people perform heroic actions. But sometimes they are missed because people are looking for the wrong things. Many people believe that to do a heroic thing, someone has to be a superhero, fight evil, or save the human race. But what is not realized is that heroic things happen around us all the time. Men and women in the army risk their lives every day for others, firefighters put their needs aside for everyone, and even simply the kid that helps the target when they are being bullied. And that topic, normal people who are heroes, is what will be discussed. A young boy named Ponyboy Curtis never expects this to happen to him. He never thinks in a million years he will be called a hero, but the world is full of surprises. Pony embarks on a dangerous, emotional, and life-changing journey with his best friend Johnny that neither of them will ever forget. 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 runs away. To shield himself from possibly being put into a boys home, he must remove himself and Johnny from the situation, and go into a neighboring town. As Ponyboy and Johnny are planning their escape from their home town and everyone in it after Johnny murders Bob, they turn to their friend Dally for help, who gives them instructions, ‘“Hop the three-fifteen freight to Windrixville,’ Dally instructed. ‘There’s an old abandoned church on top of Jay Mountain’... ‘Sure Dally thanks.’ And we ran into the darkness” (61, 62). In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Known is when the hero leaves his comfortable and familiar world and ventures into the darkness of the unknown. Pony and Johnny must leave the town they have lived in since they were born, to somewhere they have never heard of before, and they do not know where it is, and they do not know how long they will be there. It clearly states in the text that they are running away in the darkness, which is almost exactly what the Threshold of Adventure is. It is the beginning of their journey right as they step out that door. Their threshold guardian Dally gives them advice, supplies, and instructions as they leave out the threshold. They do not know what will happen to them, but they do not have another choice considering they could go to jail if they do not leave. This is where they embark on their journey into the unknown. Where they are leaving their family and friends as they step through the threshold into the darkness. Fleeing his home town, the only place he has ever known, to protect himself and someone who is like a brother to him until the chaos dies down from a dead Soc, and running away into the darkness is the separation from the known in The Outsider’s Hero’s Journey.

Ponyboy experiences The Initiation which is the action of something beginning when he has to face one of the hardest challenges of the story. Everything is going well until they return to the abandoned church on Jay Mountain that they have been camping out in for the past week. Pony narrates, “But he never heard Dally’s answer, for we had reached the top of Jay Mountain and Dally suddenly slammed on the brakes and stared. ‘Oh glory!’ he whispered. The church was on fire! ‘Let’s go see what the deal is,’ I said, hopping out” (90). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of The Initiation is when the hero must overcome a challenge they have to face. In The Outsiders the abandoned building burning down is one of the hardest difficulties for the hero. Pony returns from getting food accompanied by Johnny and Dally, and finds the church on fire, slowly crumbling to pieces. To come back to the one place him and Johnny have been hiding out for a bit of time, their temporary home. To see it engulfed in flames is indescribable. To know that there are children that could go down with it, and knowing that they are the ones who have to save them. The reason Ponyboy and his friends are put into the hospital, and his best friend is clinging onto his life. This is a huge challenge in the Hero’s Journey because in that moment the three of them have to make a decision about what they are going to do, and their decisions are not the same. Johnny and Ponyboy run into the church attempting to aid the children, while Dally attempts to drive away. Pony and Johnny could easily flee the scene, not giving a care about others’ lives, like Dally wants to do. But they put their welfare aside for the helpless kids trapped inside. That act of selflessness is something a hero would do. Not try to drive away before their spotted, or only think about themselves, but in those kids’ moment of need, Johnny and Ponyboy are there to help and save them They are those kids’ heroes.

Ponyboy continues to experience the initiation when he finds out that Johnny is going to die. When he finds out he will not have his best friend anymore. This is the lowest point in the story. Pony discovers that Johnny is in worse condition from being exposed to the burning flames in the church when he was saving the children than he and everyone else first believed, and doubt is brewing that he might not pull through this one. Pony narrates, “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... If he lived... If? Please, no, I thought. Please not ‘If’”(102). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero loses one of his best friends. In The Outsiders, Johnny is in the hospital and in critical condition. In the beginning of his stay at the hospital everybody was hopeful, assuring one another he is going to pull through, going to heal and get back home as good as new. But as time goes on, the assuring and the hopefulness slowly begins to die, along with Johnny. As his health becomes more serious, ifs and maybes are being said to one another rather than will and surely. For everyone in the “family” this is a devastating time, and everybody wishes this would just be over, and Johnny would just be ok. Ponyboy comes to reality that he will be losing one of his closest friends. Going on with his life knowing Johnny will never really have one. This quotation is an example of the abyss in the story, because this is Pony’s fear is coming to life once again. This is the part in the story that Ponyboy re-lives his loss. First it was his parents, and now it is Johnny. Pony knows what it feels like to be alone. Pony knows what it feels like to lose someone he love. And Ponyboy knows the pain that comes with it, and he does not know if he is ready to experience that again.

Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he goes back home and begins his daily routine again, spending time with his real family. Pony has a realization and Darry says, “‘No more fights. Okay, Ponyboy?’... ’Okay,’ I said. And I meant it. Darry and I would probably still have misunderstandings - we were too different not to - but no more fights. We couldn’t do anything to hurt Soda” (177). In the Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday Life is when the hero goes back to his regular schedule, but with a gift. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy returns home to continues his life as usual. But not everything will be the same as it was before. Ponyboy has returned home with a gift, a different view on life completely. First, he knows that family comes before everything. Not “family” but family. He is aware the impact he has he has had and still has on Sodapop and Darry’s life, and now he takes their feelings into account, not just his own. Second, another gift is that he looks at Socs differently. He let his experiences with the rude, cruel, and unpleasant Socs control how he sees every Soc. But now, he knows that every person is different, and to not let stereotypes determine how he looks at the world. And his final gift, he knows that no matter who he is or where he is from, he can make something of his life. Whether he is a greaser or a Soc, he will not let his social status determine what he does with his life.

In conclusion, Pony embarks on a Hero’s Journey, because he travels through the three necessary phases of a monomyth. First Ponyboy runs away with Johnny. Then, begins the initiation when he has to face one of the hardest challenges of the story. Next, he continues to experience the initiation when he finds out that Johnny is going to die. Finally, Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he goes back home and begins his daily routine again, spending time with his real family. So now expectantly it is clear that heroes come in all shapes and forms, even someone in their everyday life. Nobody should let the fact that they do not have a superpower restrain them from doing something incredible, something great. So next time someone sees the opportunity, and holy they will hopefully perform random heroic acts like help a lost dog get back home, or help an elderly man or woman across the street, or even give money, food, or water to a person less fortunate than many others, and anyone who takes action can be a hero, too.

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