Maurice Wang

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?

            My writing at the beginning of the year wasn't as refined, versus its current status.

2. What do you consider your writing strengths?

          I consider my writing strengths, or rather my main strength, as writing in a more formal manner, along with a fairly interesting range of vocabulary.

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

           I feel like I need to develop a strong vocabulary, along with a better sense of writing with different voices.

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

          I enjoyed transferring my ideas from paper, and refining them into a final draft.

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay

The Outsiders/Hero’s Journey                                                                                  Maurice Wang

9/5/14                                                                                                                              Period 5

          Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and costumes! Though generally fictional, superheroes have an iconic presence in our culture. However, not all heroes must wear costumes, fly, among other things. Certainly not Ponyboy, who deems himself as such through his Hero’s Journey, returning to benefit those around him with a gift.

          Ponyboy experiences the Separation from the Known when he receives help from Dally, and runs away. After killing Bob, Pony and Johnny encounter a completely alienated concept, resorting to Dally’s help,“he [Dally] handed us [Ponyboy and Johnny] a gun and a roll of bills” (60). This is followed by their “r[unning] into the darkness”(62). In the Hero’s Journey, the Separation from the Known is when the hero steps through a threshold, encountering the unknown world (from their viewpoint). They will encounter a Threshold guardian, who then presents them with talismans to help them on their journey. In The Outsiders, they receive the talismans from their guardian, Dally. With a gun and rolls of money, each with possibilities of aiding them, Ponyboy and Johnny cross the threshold, or out into the darkness, representing the unknown world.

          Ponyboy experiences the initiation when he must alter his appearance. After arriving at a hiding spot, advised by Dally, Johnny realizes that they must cut their hair, “We’re gonna cut our hair, and you’re [Ponyboy] gonna bleach yours.’ He [Johnny] looked @ the ground carefully. ‘They’ll have our description in the paper. We can’t fit them’”(71). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of The Initiation is when the hero faces a series of challenge, appropriately called, “The Challenges”. Pony and Johnny cut their, or trademark as Greasers, categorized with signature long,


black hair. Overcoming this proves that Ponyboy has encountered the Challenges, as they must lose their mark as Greasers.

          Ponyboy continues to experience The Initiation when he is alerted of the danger of losing his family. After recovering from the recent fire, where he, along with Johnny and Dally, save a couple of trapped children, Ponyboy is shown an article centered around their endeavors, furthermore indulging in the heroes’ backgrounds. He then jumps to the conclusion, “‘...they’re thinking about putting me and Soda in a boys’ home or something?”(108). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of the Initiation contains a step known as “The Abyss”, where the hero is at their lowest point, physically and/or emotionally. In The Outsiders, the threat of being separated from his family emerges in the form of either the danger of being put into a boys’ home, or the danger of Johnny not fully recovering from the fire, perhaps even death. This acts as the Abyss, as Ponyboy is emotionally worried about his family’s fate.

          In conclusion, Ponyboy’s adventure qualifies as a Hero’s journey, fulfilling each required phase. He first encounters his Separation from the Known, after the killing of Bob. Next comes the Initiation, in the form of a haircut, or Challenge, which is followed by his Atonement. Lastly, Ponyboy Returns to Everyday Life, his gift being the book, or experience of his entire journey. Although superpowers may seem enticing, just about anyone, with or without them, can go through a Hero’s Journey, as long as they, too, fulfill each phase.

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