Cloe Tarlton

The Outsiders/ Hero's Journey Essay

My Essay Reflection

How would you describe your writing at the beginning of the year and how would you describe it now?

Towards the beginning of the year I could answer the writing prompt, but I never really understand the topic or really got in depth with the topic.  I would hope that my writing has developed enough that I could say I have evolved from a very straight forward kind of writing to a more mature writing style.  Now, I would describe my writing as less straight forward and much more understandable to the reader.

What do you consider your writing strengths?  Explain.

Some of my writing strengths are that I am a focused writer and am able to get things done on time.  I can get my ideas across easily so that people are able to understand my ideas.  In my opinion my writing is thoughtful, but doesn't stray to far from the main point.

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

My writing goal for the future is to keep building on my gained detail and it hopefully will be able as thoughtful a writing as possible.  Next year, I hope to be able to write more contemplatively.

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

I liked reading this book and completing this writing assignment because I learned a lot about the Hero's Journey.  This book was a very good read in the sense that I realized much about "Outsiders".  In the future, whenever I watch a superhero movie, I will watch out for a Hero's Journey.

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay

The Outsiders/Hero’s Journey                                                                      Cloe Tarlton

5/12/14                                                                                                          Period 1

        When someone says the word hero, most people think of the ones from popular movies. However, those heroes are not the real heroes people should be thinking of. These heroes, like Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman have stunt doubles, the car chases are fake and at the end of the day, are fiction. The real heroes that should come to mind are real people. An example of a real hero is Ponyboy Curtis. Ponyboy goes on a Hero’s Journey, like some other heroes, but his story is more realistic - without big explosions or flying people. In the realistic fiction novel The Outsiders by SE 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 Johnny stabs and kills Bob, a Soc, and they are forced to run away. Late at night, in a park, after running from their homes, Johnny and Pony encounter Socs looking for a fight. The result of this fight is Johnny killing Bob, he says, “I killed him… I killed that boy”(56). In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Known is when the hero leaves his everyday life and ventures out into the unknown. The hero experiences a brief and scarring change that forces him into action. Before this traumatic experience the hero feels discontent in his familiar world. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy leaves the comfortable, his world of gangs and rumbles, and travels into the unknown, a church in the country. Pony’s life before The Call to Adventure is difficult. His parents died when he was young and ever since he has had a negative relationship with his older brother Darry. Adding to that, his gang, the Greasers, get jumped by the Socs, the rich gang who think they’re better than the Greasers. Pony wants to achieve a certain toughness in order to be accepted by his friends. This quote is an example of how Pony experiences the Hero’s Journey because it is a scarring event. Pony is young and naive, but now he is considered a criminal.  He has watched one of his friends, Dally, get dragged to prison countless times but he has never realized what it meant until it happened him. Before the Separation from the Known, Pony was just a Greaser, now he is a criminal and this forces him into action.

        One part of The Initiation when Ponyboy repairs his relationship with Darry. In the hospital, Darry sees Pony for the first time since he ran away and was truly worried for his safety, Pony realizes how worried Darry was and thinks, “I wondered how I could ever have thought him hard and unfeeling” (99). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of The Initiation is when the hero travels into a state of mental and/or physical unknown. In The Outsiders, Pony experiences many mental and physical unknowns. One of those is a mental unknowns is with Darry. Before Pony goes through the first part of The Initiation, he had always believed Darry did not care for him. Though after completing The Initiation, part one, Pony realizes that Darry is only protecting him. For Darry was scared that he would end up like the rest of the gang - going nowhere with their lives. Darry saw Pony’s potential and wanted to be sure that he had a safe home in order for his mind to grow. This shows that Pony went through a psychological unknown because this is a sudden change that he had not experienced before. It shows that Pony does not know how to act around Darry now that he realizes how much Darry cares for him.

        Ponyboy continues to experience the Initiation when the doctor tells him that Johnny will die. After the fire in the church, Johnny is rushed to the hospital with a broken back. The gang bugs the doctor to see how Johnny is doing until the doctor gives in and says, “Even if he lives, he’d be crippled for the rest of his life” (102). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero experiences the lowest point of his journey, there he must fight his greatest internal fear. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy experiences the Abyss when his best friend, Johnny dies. This is his low point because ever since his parents died he has been afraid of his ‘family’s’ death. Here, at is low point, he battles his inner fear by seeing Johnny die. This shows Ponyboy experiences the second part of The Initiation because a traumatic event sends him to his lowest point that he fears which is the definition of The Initiation, part two. Pony does battle with his greatest inner fear by seeing Johnny die, he might not have accepted his death yet, but he witnessed it. This is the last part of The Initiation.

       Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he writes the theme explaining his journey for his English class.  Dally commits suicide, by pulling out a gun at the police after witnessing Johnny's death, because he believed Johnny was the last good in the world.  Pony finds a letter in Gone With the Wind, which is the book Pony was reading to Johnny in the church, reads it and thinks, “Someone should tell their side of the story and maybe people would understand then” (179). In the Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday life is when the hero literally returns to their regular life. Normally the hero’s way of thinking, identity and viewpoint changes. The hero also returns with a gift, this gift can be physical, an idea or a way of life. In The Outsiders, Pony returns to his everyday life after a week of bedrest and a concussion he received from a rumble with the Socs. When he returns he not only views life, people and gangs in a different way but he brings the physical and mental knowledge he gained. Pony’s new view of life is that everyone is the same, they’re all guys and ‘they all see the same sunset’. He goes from seeing the world as black and white to a complex color spectrum of a world. Pony gains a new identity and the letter Johnny gave him says to tell Dally there is still good in the world. Pony realizes since Dally is gone he can still share what Johnny told him, in the letter, with the rest of the world. So, in order to make up all the work he has missed Pony writes a theme for his English class, and his theme ends up being his gift.

        In conclusion, in the realistic fiction novel The Outsiders by SE Hinton, the hero travels through The Separation from the Known, The Initiation and The Return to Everyday Life, therefore completing a Hero’s Journey. In The Separation from the Known, Ponyboy witnesses a murder and is forced to run away from the police. Then he completes The Initiation Part One when a doctor tells him Johnny will die, his worst fear. And completes The Initiation Part Two when he repairs his relationship with Darry. Finally, Pony finishes his Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday Life, when he writes the theme for his English class. Car chases do happen and some actors do not have stunt doubles, but it is rare. However, people do go on Hero’s Journeys every day, they are common and universal. The hero might not save the world, but their gift might help a few people.

Comment Stream