Katie Gibson

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 was very unorganized. I had one sentence after another that made absolutely no sense. Now, however, my writing is very different. I can actually string sentences together that make sense when put together.

2.) What do you consider your writing strengths? Explain.

My biggest writing strength is keeping my writing short and to the point. It may not look like I have written very much, but I have just hit all of the key points in few sentences.

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

The writing skill I want to continue working on next year  is monitoring my use of commas and periods. This is because I always overuse commas to separate items that don't need to be separated. I also shorten my sentences too much.

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

What I liked most about doing this assignment was sharing the project with friends. I think it was a good way to grow as a writer, and I also think we should do it more often. However, I didn't have a favorite part when reading the book.

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay

The Outsiders/Hero’s Journey Katie Gibson

5-5-14 Period 6

The Longman Dictionary Definition of a hero is, “Someone who is admired for doing something brave or good”. However, this is only part of the hero that the everyday human thinks about. Heros have costumes, girlfriends, challenges, but are normal people who decide to change the world. There is an everyday hero in The Outsiders. He too has challenges, he handles stress, but while he has these in common with superheroes, he is less celebrated. His name is Ponyboy Curtis. He never dreamed that his life would be anything but a normal greasers: fighting in rumbles, shoplifting stores, and beating up Socs. He does not know that he is in the ride of his life, whether it is just with a friend, or as a superhero in a flying cape. In the realistic 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 Separation From The Known when Johnny kills a Soc and both of them are wanted for murder. Johnny is stunned that he killed a living person, even if it was after the Socs attack them, started drowning Ponyboy in a fountain in the park, and beat up Johnny late at night, Johnny states,“‘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 leaves his familiar world and ventures into the darkness of an unknown world. This is saying that Ponyboy and Johnny are traumatized by the experience of killing a Soc. Now, instead of being relatively safe and protected, Ponyboy is thrown into the darkness of the unknown of being a convict. This also causes change because they cannot return home. They both must either run into the unfamiliar world that is not their home, or turn themselves into the police station as criminals. They are forced to make new life decisions that are a perfect example of The Separation From The Known. They both leave their familiar and known worlds and venture to somewhere that no one knows them. This shows Separation From The Known because the hero of the story, Ponyboy, is forced to leave his cozy little town and venture into a world he has never seen before and knows nothing about. Suddenly, Ponyboy and Johnny are not able to live their normal lives anymore.

Ponyboy experiences The Initiation when he is forced to be a hero by saving kids out of a burning church. Ponyboy sees a burning church while he is in the countryside after having to leave his town, on account that he and his friend are wanted for murder. He feels guilty that he started the fire because he and Johnny had been staying at the church for the past few days and he feels that he dropped a cigarette and started the fire, “All I could think was: we started it” (91). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of The Initiation is when the hero is faced to deal with an unknown physical or psychological challenge. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy feels responsible for the fire. This is the only reason he is throwing himself into an unknown burning building. This means that Ponyboy and Johnny are facing unknown challenges. They are tested for whether or not they have what it takes to be a hero. The test is seeing whether or not the hero will set himself aside from the others by helping people in need. Dally is not a hero because instead of thinking about others and how they will feel, he just goes ahead and kills himself without thinking about the consequences. Darry, however, is a hero because he saved Ponyboy and Sodapop from having to go to a boys home, and struggles everyday to keep them safe and out of danger. This matters because it shows he is well on his way to being a hero. Like a hero, Ponyboy feels responsible for saving the kids he is not familiar with.

Ponyboy continues to experience The Initiation when he releases that fighting is not going to get him anywhere. Pony decides he needs to find a good person to fight in the pointless rumble the Socs and Greasers are having in the middle of the night in a vacant lot, “Why do I fight? I thought and I couldn’t think of any real good reason” (137). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero’s fear must disappear to create space for the new . In The Outsiders, it says that Ponyboy cannot think of a good reason to fight. He asks everyone around him why they fight. This means that he is transforming into a more mature person. He no longer fights for an apparent reason. This matters because he might share this change with the rest of the world, and it means that he has changed from his prior identity because he no longer fights blindy for the sake of fighting and trying desperately to beat the Socs. If Pony did, it would cause a major change to happen all over.

Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he writes a theme about his findings. Ponyboy is assigned an English project once he returns from his Hero’s Journey, but decides to take it to the next level and write about the most personal and deep thing he can think about, all in 180 pages, “I wondered for a long time how to start that theme, how to start writing about something that was important to me” (180). In The Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday Life is when the hero returns home with a gift. In The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton creates a twist ending. The quote stated above says that the book is written by Ponyboy Curtis. This means that the Hero’s Journey Ponyboy went on was narrated by himself. He is the one who remembers every event of his story. This matters because Pony knows nothing about the Hero’s Journey, and yet he still brings home a gift from his journey, his book full of the wisdom he learned on his Hero’s Journey, that everyone is equal and everyone has struggles. Since Ponyboy returns with a gift, and that is the definition of the phase, that proves he goes on this step of The Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday Life.

In conclusion, the realistic fiction novel The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton is about Ponyboy Curtis’ journey that is formed by the three required phases of a monomyth. First, Ponyboy is a bystander for a murder. Also, he saves kids in the burning building out of a consequence. Thirdly, he questions himself deeply on whether or not he should fight in pointless and immature rumbles. Lastly, he writes a book about his Hero’s Journey. No matter where anyone is, a hero has affected them in some way, whether it’s saving them from being depressed, opening their eyes to a new part of their community they knew nothing about, or telling them how to behave in new situations. Everyday heros are in everyone's lives. Whether it is at school, home, or anywhere, there is a hero.

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