Charlotte Kadifa

The Outsider's/Hero's Journey Essay

My Essay Reflection

1. My writing at the beginning of the year had a throw-everything-on-the-paper strategy. It would have some missing words that I thought I had written, but really didn't. Now, I would describe it as more organized, and I don't have as many missing words I don't notice until I make my final copy.

2. My writing strength is editing. Whenever I see something not capitalized or anything like that, I need it to be fixed.

3. The writing skill that I need to continue to develop next year is the ability to commentate more descriptively and to the point. This part of writing is very hard because I rarely know what to say and how to say it.

4. The thing that I liked about reading this novel is that the novel dealt with some real life problems teenagers can go through.

The Outsider's/Hero's Journey Essay

The first thing that most people think of when they hear the word “hero” is superheroes, like Captain America and Ironman. That is quite easy for most people to think of because they have seen the movies about them that have been coming out recently. These heroes all have something common, unbelievable strength and powers that are used to save human kind from various villains. Although, there are other types of heroes. They are totally normal, no super powers or crazy strength. These heroes go through a process called the Hero’s Journey. These heros are like Ponyboy Curtis. They go onto the journey to return home nearly the same, but 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 runs away with Johnny after Johnny kills Bob. Pony and Johnny are at the park in the middle of the night because Pony is running away. Some Socs attack them, and after Johnny kills Bob, he says “‘We gotta get outa here. Get somewhere. Run away…”’ (57). In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Known is when the hero leaves the world he is familiar with and travels into the unknown darkness. In The Outsiders, Pony needs to leave with Johnny because Johnny kills a Soc. He is leaving his home and going somewhere he has never been. They go from the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma out to the countryside to the town of Windrixville. He does not know anything about the countryside and if it is safe for teenagers to be alone. The Separation from the Known is when the hero leaves his home, which Ponyboy does with Johnny. They have to leave because they are now criminals and have to escape from the police. This is a sudden change for Pony, who has never left his home without an adult. When the hero is in the Separation phase, he is going somewhere independently, or in this case a friend.

Ponyboy experiences The Initiation when he gets his hair cut and bleached. When Johnny gets back from supplies, he tells Pony “‘We’re gonna cut our hair, and you’re gonna have to bleach yours...’ ‘They’ll have our descriptions in the paper...’” (71). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of The Initiation is when the hero goes into a psychological and/or physical unknown, where the Challenges occur. In The Outsiders, one of the Challenges Pony observes is having his hair cut and bleached. This is a physical challenge because his hair is now shorter and lighter than he usually wears it. The cutting and bleaching of his hair is a slightly psychological challenge, for his hair symbolizes who he is, a greaser. Their hair is a greaser’s pride and joy. They like to keep it oily and long, so everyone knows who they are. Now, he is a greaser and a hood, and hoods have their hair cut when they are arrested, because that is the only thing that the police can take away from them.

Ponyboy continues to experience The Initiation when he goes to the rumble, or fight, against the Socs and does not know why he wants to fight. The greasers and Socs are having a rumble because of the killing of Bob. Right before the rumble, Pony asks everyone why they fight, then realizes, “...Soda fought for fun, Steve for hatred, Darry for pride, and Two-Bit for conformity. Why do I fight?... There isn’t any real good reason..except self-defence” (137). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero has a low point when he battles his greatest fear, which must die and lead to bravery, independence, and enlightenment. The hero has a dramatic change in how he views life, and learns to live with the new “him”. In The Outsiders, Pony starts to think differently about his life. A typical greaser views fighting in something they have to do, or want to do. But he changes his mind about the stereotypical greaser things. Pony thinks that the only reason for fighting is self-defense is a dramatic change because greasers do not think like that. He is transforming into a more sensitive person than he use to be. He now notices that fighting is not just a way of life, it is just something that people choose to do. Pony is transforming into a different person inside, and only slightly outside with his hair.

Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he returns home with wisdom for the Dally’s; or mean, rough, people of the world. Johnny leaves Pony with a copy of Gone With the Wind and in the inside cover he writes Pony a letter. After he reads Johnny’s letter, he remembers, “There’s still lots of good in the world...Someone should tell them before it was too late...maybe people would understand then and wouldn’t...judge...by the amount of hair oil..” (179). In the Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday Life is when the hero returns home with a gift of some source, like leadership, acceptance, or wisdom. The hero then starts “giving back” to the world. In The Outsiders, Pony is trying to give some advice to the people if the world who are negative about everything. He wants them to know that no matter what happens, there is always good in the world. People who usually think that everything is bad and nothing will change that or are self-centered, need to take his advice, like, one of the characters Dally. Some people could take his message the wrong way. They could think of that there is too much good, would do everything wrong so that there is not too much good. Except, there is no such thing as too much good in the world, only not enough. This is the gift that Pony gives to the world, the wisdom for the people who think just like, or similar to, Dally does. Pony is giving the world the hope of goodness in the world even in extremely harsh times when goodness seems nearly impossible.

In conclusion, Ponyboy Curtis goes through the three mandatory phases of a monomyth, which proves that he went on the Hero’s Journey. Ponyboy runs away with Johnny after Johnny kills the Soc, Bob. Not long after, he gets his hair cut and bleached, and later Pony goes to the rumble and questions his view of rumbles. Finally, he returns home with wisdom for the people who view the world as a negative place. It may be slightly possible to have super powers, it is very highly unlikely. Someone who goes on a Hero’s Journey can be anyone, not just someone who has amazing super powers. The traveler need to be prepared for all the challenges they will end up taking. The hero will help everyone after they return back with a gift.

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