Christopher Varseveld

The Outsiders/Hero’s Journey Christopher Varseveld 5-14-14 Period 6

Usually when people think of superheroes they may think of Green Lantern, Batman, Superman, Spiderman, etc., however these are not the only superheros. Superheros are not just movie stars. In The Outsiders, there is superhero that most people do not know exists, but he has done the incredible things all of the other famous superheroes do in their everyday life. This hero happens to be named Ponyboy Curtis and is a greaser in Tulsa, OK in the 1960’s. In this realistic fiction novel written by S.E. Hilton, the main character, Ponyboy Curtis, goes through the hero’s journey because he travels through the three required phases of a monomyth.

Ponyboy experiences 'The Separation from the Known' when Bob is killed by Johnny because he might be accused of murder, so now he has to go undercover. When Ponyboy becomes conscious again after he almost drowns, he starts to realize what happened when he sees Bob lying on the ground. Pony askes Johnny what happened and Johnny replies, “‘I killed him,’ he said slowly, ‘I killed that boy’’’ (56). In the Hero’s journey, the 'Separation from the Known' is when the hero becomes noticeably different from the people around him. He or she does not want to be different, so their journey starts. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy’s 'Call to Adventure' is when Bob is killed by Johnny. This event is very traumatic because now they have to act quickly so they are not caught by the police. They think of all of the worst possibilities that could happen to them and this makes them feel that the safest thing to do is to run away. They believe that this is the best thing to do because they are greasers and outsiders which make them less likely to avoid being accused of murder. This is important because they acted in self defense. So, after they realize what they have done, they run to Dally for help. The killing of Bob is the best evidence of the 'Separation from the Known' for Ponyboy.

Ponyboy experiences 'The Initiation' when Dally tells Pony and Johnny to hop on the train, they act upon it. When they get to the train station they see the train stopping, “‘Now’, whispered Johnny. We ran and pulled ourselves into an open boxcar. We pressed against the side, trying to hold our breath...” (62). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of 'The Initiation' is when the hero is sent into a physical and/or physiological unknown and faces challenges. In the Outsiders, Pony goes through 'The Initiation' when he is at the train station. He does not know what could possibly happen next. By running away, a challenge is put into his hands and he has no other choice.

Ponyboy continues to experience 'The Initiation' when he wakes up in the old, abandoned and spooky church. When Ponyboy wakes up in the church on the top of Jay Mountain the day after Johnny kills Bob, he is confused and finds himself wondering, “I woke up late in the afternoon. For a second I didn’t know where I was. You know how it is when you wake up in a strange place and wonder where in the world you are, until memory comes rushing over you like a wave” (68). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of 'The Initiation' is when the hero goes through many changes and unexpected challenges. Also, he makes room for courage, enlightenment and independence. Lastly, he or she dramatically changes and looks at life through a different lens. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy experiences 'The Initiation' when he wakes up in the lonely church thinking he is in his house with his brothers (known), but then he realizes that he is actually in a old, creepy and abandoned church (unknown). His feelings change quickly from being happy because he thinks that he is at his house, to a gloomy dark feeling because he has run away from the known. His life seemed turned upside down immediately and he was not prepared.

Ponyboy experiences 'The Return to Everyday Life' when he comes back to his community with the gift of hope and courage. He however has to go through a few events before he can gain those traits. One of them is when he is so sick that he falls over and is out cold. One person sees him falling and cries out, “‘Glory, look at the kid!’ And the ground came rushing up to meet me very suddenly” (155). When he wakes up after he has recovered a few days later in his house, Sodapop asks him, “‘ Ponyboy, you okay?’ ‘Yeah,’ I said, ‘I think so’” (156). In the Hero’s Journey, 'The Return to Everyday Life' is when the hero comes back to the normal life they lived before the journey. He also brings back a gift to share with their community. In The Outsiders, the event when Sodapop asks Ponyboy if he is OK and Pony says yes this means that he is back to his normal self. He went through a dramatic change, running away and getting sick, but now he is stronger both physically and mentally. Pony’s gifts that he brings back is hope and courage. He brings courage because he was very courageous to run away and stay in the countryside. Also, Pony brings hope because after Johnny and Dally dies he feels so depressed, but in the end everything turns out to be fine. In the Outsider’s, when Pony comes back to everyday life after he experienced a dramatic change, it seemed he was in a dream. He then realizes that it is reality. Before he was in an absolutely impossible situation to get out of, but because he finds a way to get out of trouble he brings back two gifts, hope and courage.

Ponyboy has a great adventure through the Hero’s Journey because he travels through the three main and required phases of a monomyth. First, Ponyboy gets jumped by the Soc’s and he wants revenge. Then, Pony runs away with Johnny into a place that is unknown to them. Next, Ponyboy wakes up in the church not knowing what is going on. Lastly, he returns to everyday life with two gifts, hope and courage. Someone could have unreal powers like flying and super strength, but those types of superheros are make believe. Ponyboy is in a realistic situation.The Hero’s Journey is different because anyone can become a hero through this process, he or she just needs to be prepared at any given time to start their own adventurous journey. It will benefit everyone around them when they return with a gift.

My Essay Reflection

1.How would you describe your writing at the beginning of the year and how would you describe it now? I think that my writing at the beginning of the year was not as well explained as when I write now?

2. What do you consider your writing strengths? My writing strengths are description and length because usually my writing is long.

3.What writing skills do you need and/or want to continue to develop next year? I want to keep working on making my work as clear as possible to the reader.

4.What did you like best about reading this novel and/or doing this writing assignment? I really liked the book because it had a very nice plot and I loved the characters.

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay

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