Holland Parish

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?

Well I think at the beginning of the year my writing was somewhat rushed and my ideas could never really come out how I wanted them to. My writing now I feel has improved greatly. I have new ways to explain my ideas and can think them out better.

2. What do you consider your writing strengths? Explain

I feel like my writing strength is creativity. Whenever we write a narrative it class I almost end up writing a novel. I love to read and listen to stories and I use influence from my daily life to help write my own.

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

I think I need to work on slowing down and writing more neatly. Well, you can't see how bad my writing is here,  but if you were to see it you would agree. Whenever I have a thought in my head I always rush to get it down so I don't forget. I think I need to realize that the thought is not going to go anywhere and I can slow down. Another thing that needs work is my spelling, but I've been getting better at that over the years.

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

I liked reading the novel and putting myself in Pony's world. The story was very interesting and I enjoyed reading it. As for the writing part, I like to analyze parts of the story and find their deeper meaning. Sometimes that doesn't go the way I want it to, but I can just reread it and try again.

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay

The Outsiders/Hero’s Journey Holland Parish

May 5th, 2014 Period 6

Spiderman! Batman! Superman! These are the characters that most people think of when they hear the word hero. Someone who saves the day by defeating an evil villain and posing in front of giant explosions. Someone who has superhuman strengths that the “normal” person does not have. This is the classic image of a hero. There are also different kinds of heroes. Heroes such as Ponyboy Curtis who goes on a Hero’s Journey. He does not go on the journey to gain superpowers or save the damsel in distress, but rather to come back as a normal person 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 goes through the three required stages of a monomyth.

Ponyboy experiences The Separation from the Known when Johnny stabs on of the Socs that jumped them and they have to run away. Johnny uses his switchblade to stab the Soc. Ponyboy knows it is time to leave when he sees the body. He looks at Johnny and narrates: “He was clutching his switchblade, and it was dark at the hilt” (56). In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Known is when the hero receives a call to adventure. The hero is forced into action usually by having a dramatic change in the hero’s life. The hero starts their journey by going through the threshold of adventure with wisdom from their threshold guardian. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy experiences a dramatic change when he is jumped by the Socs with Johnny. Johnny goes and stabs one when the Soc is trying to dunk Pony underwater. This is the beginning of the threshold of adventure. Since Johnny killed a person, the police will come and try to find them. They have to get away since they do not want to go to jail. They are starting to run to get to their threshold. Pony and Johnny first run into Dally hoping to get advice from him. Dally acts as their threshold guardian because he gives them warm clothes, money, and a loaded gun. After getting wisdom and supplies from their threshold guardian, they run and jump on a train. The train takes them to the unknown. When the hero goes through the threshold, they find themselves in an unknown place with challenges they must face. Since jumping on the train was going through the threshold and continuing to the unknown, this shows that Ponyboy has gone through the threshold of adventure.

Ponyboy experiences The Initiation when he and Johnny wake up in a church in the middle of the countryside. Ponyboy and Johnny jumped off a train and spent the night in an abandoned church. Both of them have never been to this church before, and Ponyboy is confused at first when he wakes up. He narrates: “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 first part of The Initiation is when the hero journeys into a metal and/or physical unknown. They have gone through the Threshold and now find themselves in an unknown place with challenges they must overcome. In The Outsiders, Pony and Johnny run away and take a train to Windrixville. They spend the night in an abandoned church. Neither Johnny or Pony have been here before, making this a physical unknown for them. Pony wakes up to find Johnny has gone to get supplies, making this their first challenge. In the wilderness they need to find their own food and water. Both of them are from the city so they are not use to hunting or gathering. Usually they just go to the grocery store when they want food, they do not go chase rabbits with sticks. With very little wilderness experience, this is a big challenge for them. Afterwords Pony and Johnny realize they need to change how they look. If someone recognizes them, they will go to jail. Cutting and bleaching hair is a handful itself, but changing how you look is a very big challenge for a Greaser. Ponyboy is very proud of his hair, it makes him part of who he is. It makes him look “tuff”, which is the ultimate goal for a Greaser. It takes Pony a long time to let Johnny cut his hair, it was a big challenge for him. Pony and Johnny spend a few more nights in the church. When Pony and Johnny leave the church one morning to go on a walk, the come back to find the church in flames. They find out kids are in the church. The next challenge is to decide whether or not to go into the burning church, and if they do, they would need a way to get the kids out safely. Pony and Johnny face the challenge and save the kids in the burning church, but not without serious burns. The choice makes the community see Pony and Johnny as heros. These are the challenges Pony and Johnny faced in the unknown.

Ponyboy continues to experience The Initiation when he goes through the Revelation by remembering his friends are dead. Ponyboy is sick at home and wakes up from a nap. He stares at the ceiling and memories wash over him. He narrates: “And then I remembered. Dallas and Johnny were dead”(156). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero goes through the Abyss, battles it in the Transformation, goes through the Revelation, and ends in the Atonement. The Abyss is the hero’s greatest fear, the Transformation is when the hero battles that fear, the Revelation is when the hero lets go of one feeling for another, and learns to live their new life in the Atonement. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy goes through the Revelation when he is faced with a dramatic change in his life, Johnny and Dally are both dead. Dally took his own life after Johnny died in the hospital. This is a very dramatic change for Pony. He considers the people on his group family, and when two family members die very suddenly, it is hard for everyone. This makes Pony realize how valuable his brothers are. They are the only real family Pony has left. Pony has always loved Sodapop, but never his brother Darry. After Pony’s parents died, Darry was never very nice to him. Part of Pony’s call to adventure was when Darry slapped him. After the traumatic change, Pony realizes Darry was doing all of this because he loved him and does not want to lose anymore family. This proves Pony has gone through the revelation. He traded the feeling of sadness (about the deaths) and hatred (to Darry) to love and understanding. This proves he is continuing through his Hero’s Journey.

Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he returns with the gift of the story of his life, which is the novel. Ponyboy sits in his room trying to write a theme for his English class. He thinks and comes up with this idea: “There should be some help, someone should tell them before it was to late” (179). In the Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday Life is when the hero returns from their journey and comes home with a gift. The hero’s journey is over and they go back to their regular life. Their regular life has changed though. Throughout their journey the have changed and now have a new outlook on life. In The Outsider, Ponyboy returns to everyday life when his concussion has healed and he is going back to school. For the end of the year assignment, he has to write a theme (essay) for English. Pony can not think of anything and gets in a fight with Darry. This makes Sodapop upset. After clearing the fight Pony gets the inspiration for his essay. His essay is about how he turn his life around, how he went from a sensitive Greaser to a kind but “tuff” Greaser. In other words, the novel. The wisdom of how he changed his life is his gift. He wants to share it to other Greasers to show how they can be a good person but still be “tuff” and not a hood. Pony use to see the world in black and white, but now he sees it in all its wonderful colors. Since Ponyboy returns to his everyday life with a new perspective and a gift to share with the world, he has gone through the Hero’s Journey and has came back a better person.

In conclusion, the main character, Ponyboy Curtis, from the realistic fiction The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton goes through the Hero’s Journey because he goes through the three main stages of a monomyth. Ponyboy goes through all the stages of a monomyth. He receives a Call to Adventure when Johnny stabs a Soc and they have to run away. He then goes through the Initiation when he and Johnny camp in an abandoned church. He continues the Initiation when he returns home to remember his friends are dead. The Return to Everyday Life is when he writes the novel which is his gift and he shares it with people. It is very unlikely that someone will develop superpowers outside of comics and movies, but the Hero’s Journey can be taken by anyone. The person just needs to be prepared with the challenges they will have to face. When that person returns home with a gift and shares it to people, everyone will benefit.

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