Sydney Liu

The Outsiders


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

At the beginning of the year, my sentences were very choppy, and my essays were very unorganized. I jumped from topic to topic not explaining each one clearly. Now I can write an essay with clear topic sentences. My sentences are much smoother and complete.

2. What do you consider your writing strengths?

I consider my writing strengths to be having powerful ideas and having few grammar errors. My essays are pretty detailed and understandable.

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

Next year, I want to work having strong introduction and conclusion paragraphs. I am not very good at summarizing all of the events in my conclusion and am not very good at hooking readers in with an interesting topic sentence. I also want to continue developing strong details that support my claim.

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

Reading this novel made me realize what it is like to go on a Hero's Journey. I also got to experience what stereotyping was like, judging people by the way they looked. I enjoyed writing an essay that explains what a Hero's Journey is. What I enjoyed the most was actually making this Tackk. I got to design it in any way I wanted.


There are many different kinds of heroes in the world, for example, sports heroes and superheroes. These people are all considered famous and have all been on TV. Spiderman, Batman, and Superman all have superhuman powers which make the well known. Michael Jordan, Jackie Robinson, and Joe Montana have made a difference in the sports world by just being good athletes. However, those are not the only kinds of heroes. There is a hero that any ordinary kid can become by going on a Hero’s Journey. A hero like Ponyboy Curtis did just that. He did not make a huge difference in the world, but came back with a gift that benefits many. 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 Johnny kills Bob with his switchblade. Late at night, Johnny and Pony encounter the Socs at the park. With the belief that they were stealing their girlfriends,  the Socs wanted to fight. As Pony regains consciousness after a close call of drowning, he sees Johnny sitting there with wide eyes looking pale. Johnny’s voice arises, “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 the comfortable and familiar world and ventures into the darkness of the unknown. In The Outsiders, Pony receives a Call to Adventure. The event where Johnny kills Bob is is very sudden and traumatic because nobody sees it coming. A skin fight all of a sudden turns into a knife, catches everybody by surprise. It is not expected and did not look good for Johnny in terms of his reputation which made the event sudden. It is also traumatic because it was shocking and Johnny and Pony become criminals. Nobody could imagine a kid like Johnny who is so innocent to kill a Soc like Bob. Being a criminal is very distressing which makes it traumatic. Even though Pony was the one also being harmed, he could not leave his gang. He and Johnny had to avoid being electrified. Before leaving their journey, they visited Dally who gave them supplies and directions. This makes him the Threshold Guardian because he provides assistance and wisdom for their journey. By taking this action, they separate from the known.

Ponyboy experiences The Initiation when he finds out that he and Soda may get put into a boys’ home. When Two Bit shows Pony the newspaper article titled “JUVENILE DELINQUENTS TURN HEROES” in the kitchen, Pony reads about how he and Johnny became heroes after rescuing kids from a burning church. He sees another column about Darry, Soda, and him. After finishing it, Ponyboy tells the reader, “The meaning of that last line finally hit me. ‘You mean...’ -- I swallowed hard -- ‘that they’re thinking about putting me and Soda in a boys’ home or something?”’ (108). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of The Initiation is when the hero faces challenges of the unknown. In The Outsiders, Pony experiences a terrible challenge that makes him feel insecure. He has a chance of being taken away from his brothers right after they start feeling comfortable with each other. If he is not with his family or somebody he loves, he will not trust people making him insecure. This becomes a because Pony never knows when an action of his leads to him with no family.

Ponyboy continues to experience The Initiation when he fears the loss of his family. After an interview with reporters in the waiting room of the hospital, Darry, Pony, and Soda were trying to find out how Dally and Johnny were doing after being burnt. They tried to get an update from the nurses and doctors, but the would not tell anybody except for family. Darry was convincing the doctor that they were practically family until the doctor finally told them their conditions. Pony narrates about Johnny, “He kept calling for Dallas and Ponyboy. If he lived… If?” (102). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero experiences a low point where he must do battle with his greatest internal or external fear. In The Outsiders, the Abyss occurs when Pony fears losing his family. He might lose Johnny and his brothers. This event where the doctor says “if” Johnny lives really hits Pony hard. He was trembling and about to cry. He thought that he was dreaming indicating he was in total disbelief. A friend close enough to be family may lose his life saving other people’s lives. Johnny is the only person in their gang that listens to people’s problems. The thought of losing him brings Pony close to tears every time. Besides losing Johnny, Pony still is at risk of getting separated from his brothers. He and Soda might get taken to a boys’ home. He has already lost his parents and if he loses Johnny and his brothers, that will be five family members gone from his life. This fear is the Abyss.

Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he reads a letter written by Johnny containing a wisdom. As Pony opens the book Gone With the Wind given to him by the now deceased Johnny, a note slips out. On the note, Johnny talks about how it is worth giving his life to save those kids. He also tells Pony “There’s still lots of good in the world” (179). In the Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday Life is when the hero returns with a “gift” which can be leadership, enlightenment, acceptance, and more. In The Outsiders, Pony returns to everyday life with a gift. The wisdom is actually given to him by Johnny in a letter and he decides to share it with the Dally’s of the world. He wants them to know there is still good in the world despite the bad. He wants other people to understand Greasers. Pony hopes people will see that they are different on the inside. They both think that being a hero is better than a criminal. He shares his gift to the world by writing this book. This wisdom given to the reader is the gift.

In conclusion, Ponyboy Curtis becomes a hero because of going on a Hero’s Journey. He travels through the three phases of a monomyth. In the first phase, Ponyboy receives a call to adventure when Johnny kills Bob. He then finds out that he and Soda may get put in a boys’ home which is a challenge for him. He continues to experience The Initiation when he fears the loss of his family. Finally during the Return to Everyday Life, Pony returns with a gift of wisdom. Not everybody can become famous overnight, or have superhuman powers, but anyone can go on a Hero’s Journey. He or she may face many challenges, but it will be worth it in the end. He or she will benefit everyone with his or her gift.

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