Bella Hopkins

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? In the beginning of the year, my writing was more basic and I used the same words in every essay and piece of writing. I also used too many run on sentences and I didn't have good writing structure. This year, I learned better grammar and usage. I also learned better ways to structure my essays and how to end run on sentences. I would say my writing now is more complete and a lot better than starting seventh grade.
  2. What do you consider your writing strengths? Explain. In my opinion, I believe my writing strengths are good writing mechanics and getting my point across. I am good at editing other people's essays with punctuation and spelling. I can clearly state my point with strong topic sentences. The topic sentences may take me a longer time to write, but I think they're great when I take my time doing them.  I'm not perfect at those two things, but I think I'm good at them.
  3. What writing skills do you need and/or want to continue to develop next year? Explain. I need to be better about not slacking off on editing my first rough draft and trying my best on my drafts. I tend to be sloppy and I don't try very hard on spelling which is more work for me in the long run because I have to correct all of it when editing my final draft which takes a lot of time. I also would like to be better at improving my literary analysis essays which have a lot of explanation and usage such as no contractions. I need to be better at getting the best quotations from the text and providing better explanations for them rather than the most basic ones which I tend to do.
  4. What did you like best about reading this novel and/or doing this writing assignment? I liked being able to read a book that my mom always said was one of her favorite books when she was growing up. I could relate with most of the characters on feeling like an outsider, because sometimes I feel that way with my friends. I liked reading a shorter book because then that means there are less sections for the Hero's Journey!

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay

Bella Hopkins                                                                                              May 5, 2014

Period One                                                                                          

When many people think of heroes, they think of comic book superheroes like Wonderwoman, Spiderman, Batman, and Captain America. The thing that all of these heroes have in common is their superhuman, amazing powers that were given to them either by a freak accident, their birth, or a special suit. Not all heroes need to have a superhuman power to be extraordinary: they can be average people, such as Ponyboy Curtis. A hero like Ponyboy Curtis who goes on a Hero’s Journey not to get bitten by a radioactive spider but to be an ordinary person with a special 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 mandatory phases of a monomyth.

Ponyboy experiences The Separation from the Known when he and Johnny are attacked by the Socs in the park and Johnny is forced to kill a Soc who is about to kill Pony. Johnny, after getting jumped with POny, realizes he killed the Soc and says, “‘I killed him… I killed that boy’”(56). In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Known is when the hero experiences a sudden, traumatic event and is forced to leave “the known” of their life. The hero has feelings of discontent prior to the event. In The Outsiders, Pony experiences The Separation from the Known when he is jumped by the Socs with Johnny. Johnny is forced to take action by saving Pony from being drowned by stabbing his attacker with a switchblade. This results in the Soc dying and leaving Johnny and Pony reeling. This causes a sudden, traumatic event and they are forced to leave “the known” of their life. Johnny and Pony realize they need to leave town to avoid persecution. It changes their life because they are now criminals and they will now have to skip town, a traumatic event. The event is traumatic because Johnny takes the life of another person and he will live with the guilt forever. This event also causes The Separation of the Known and is the beginning of The Threshold of Adventure.

Ponyboy experiences The Initiation when Pony does not know what will happen to him and Johnny and whether anyone knows where he is. Pony is wondering about what will happen to him and Johnn y and if anyone knows where he is, “Maybe Johnny had been gone a whole week and I had just slept. Maybe he had already been worked over by the fuzz and was waiting to get the electric chair because he wouldn’t tell where I was. Maybe Dally had been killed in a car wreck or something and no one would ever know where I was, and I’d just die up here, alone, and turn into a skeleton”(69-70). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of The Initiation is when the hero starts his or her journey and enters a physical and/or a psychological unknown, which are known as “The Challenges”. In The Outsiders, Pony does not know where Johnny is and whether Johnny has been caught yet for the murder of Bob. He also does not know if anyone knows where he is. If Dally has gotten in trouble or if he is dead Pony and Johnny’s location will be unknown. Pony reacts to this situation by sensationalizing and overreacting to Johnny’s unknown location because he is a strange place, a church in the country and he has never been anywhere other than his neighborhood his whole life- this creates an unknown situation that makes him feel uncomfortable. He also does not know what will occur in the near future. Therefore, this shows that Pony is going through a challenge.

Ponyboy continues to experience The Initiation when Pony is worried that he will be taken away from his brothers and sent to live in a boys home which means he will lose more family, his worst fear. Pony is talking with Steve, Sodapop’s best friend about what will happen when Steve says this, “‘No, they ain’t goin’ to put you in a boys’ home.’ ‘Don’t worry about it,’ Steve said, cocksure that he and Sodapop could handle anything that came up ‘They don’t do things like that to heroes’”(108). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero must endure their worst fear which is either internal or external. This step is called The Abyss. In The Outsiders, Pony is worried he will be sent to a boys home because he will have to go to trial for Bob’s murder and the judge may think that Darry is not a fit guardian for him and Sodapop since they are legally minors. He has already been separated from his parents when they died and he was left to live with his brothers. His biggest fear is being separated from his family and his “family”. He is worried the judge will send him away and it is the threat of being separated that forces Pony to face his fear. He does not want to live without Soda, Darry, and his Greaser gang. He is going through a low point in his life (The Abyss).

Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he comes out of his concussion from a head injury from the gang fight and begins to view the Socs in a different way. He gains more wisdom and compassion towards others. Before Johnny passes away he leaves a note to Pony in Pony’s favorite book: Gone With The Wind. The note from Johnny inspires him to help the wayward boys and to tell their side of the story, “...someone should tell them before it was too late. Someone should tell their side of the story, and maybe people would understand then and wouldn’t be so quick to judge…”(179). In the Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday life is when the hero returns to normal, typical life, but they return with a real or figurative gift- enlightenment, courage etc. With his journey completed he can help the world with his newfound gift. In The Outsiders, Pony returns to everyday life when he comes out of his concussion. When he returns he has reduced coordination and forgetfulness and those two things result in poor grades. His teacher offers his an opportunity to raise his grade to a passing one by writing a theme on anything. When Pony is delivered his copy of Gone In The Wind a note falls out from Johnny telling him to try to tell Dally that there is still lots of good in the world. He knows that it is too late for Dally but he begins to think of the other boys on the wayward side of town, longing for a better life. He realizes he can help them by writing the theme and letting them know that there is still “gold” (good) left in the world. He uses his wisdom to write the theme and that theme turns into the book The Outsiders.

In conclusion, Ponyboy Curtis experiences the Hero’s Journey because he voyages through the three required phases of a monomyth in the realistic fiction novel The Outsiders by S.E Hinton. Ponyboy Curtis went through the monomyth structure of the Hero’s Journey by going through three phases: The Separation from The Known, The Initiation, and The Return to Everyday Life. He did this by going on a journey after a sudden, traumatic event, reaching a point of unhappiness, the transformation and then at the end of his journey he returned with a “gift”. In the real world, there are no superheroes. They don’t have special powers, and they don’t save our whole world. Instead we have everyday heroes that help people in need and provide wisdom. They do this by going through the Hero’s Journey and at the end of their journey they can share their gift with the world.

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