Kennedy Herron

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?

I would describe my writing at the beginning of the year as proficient because we hadn't learned all of the steps to our writing process. Now, my writing is more "experienced" and I feel that my writing projects are more professional.

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

My writing strengths are getting a lot of information in my essays and writing projects because I like to write all of the details out.

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

I would like to have the skills to be able to figure out the theme of a book faster because, for me, it's hard to actually find the theme while reading the book.

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

I really liked the book itself because I thought it was very clever and it was also very interesting. I enjoyed watching the movie because I got to see all the characters I read about come to life.

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay

The Outsiders/Hero’s Journey Kennedy Herron

5/5/14 Period 1

When most people think of heroes, they think of superheroes with super powers who fight injustice. They think of superheroes in colorful costumes and capes. This is only a certain type of hero: Superman, Spiderman, and Batman. Superheroes are the type of hero people think about because of all the publicity. Superheroes have a sort of mystical aspect to them, which makes them so interesting. However, there are many more types of heroes. Not the type who dress up in costumes. Ponyboy Curtis is this type of hero, a hero who goes on a Hero’s Journey. This type of hero has the ability to return to everyday life 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 travels through the three required phases of a monomyth.

Ponyboy experiences The Separation from the Known when he is jumped by Socs in the park and Johnny kills a Soc. After Johnny kills Bob, the Soc, he explains to Ponyboy what happened, ‘“I killed him,’ he said slowly. ‘I killed that boy.’ Bob, the handsome Soc, was lying there in the moonlight, doubled up and still” (56). In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Known is when the hero leaves what he is comfortable with on a Call to Adventure. The hero feels unhappy about his situation, and is seeking justice/honor. A horrible or sudden change occurs, and there is a guardian who offers wisdom, advice, and help. The hero is now forced into action. In The Outsiders Darry hits Ponyboy, causing him to run away to the park with Johnny. When a


group of Socs jump them and almost drown Ponyboy, Johnny stabs Bob. This killing is sudden and traumatic because it forces them into action, causing them to run away. This is the Call to

Adventure and the Separation from the Known. Once Johnny and Pony realize they will be accused of murder, they decide to run away. They need supplies, so Ponyboy and Johnny go to Dally, in the hope to get help from an experienced criminal. Dally becomes a Threshold Guardian when he gives them clothes, a gun, money, and advice. These items are talismans, or powerful objects, that help the hero in the Hero’s Journey. Pony and Johnny now flee the country. This is the Unknown, where the characters experience something they have not before, because the city is the only place Pony and Johnny have really experienced before, so the country is not familiar, and therefore uncomfortable to them.

Ponyboy experiences The Initiation when he runs away to the country with Johnny. As Ponyboy and Johnny approach Jay Mountain, Pony narrates their arrival. “We climbed up the road to the church, although it was a lot farther away than it looked. The road got steeper with every step”(66). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of The Initiation is when the hero faces a series of physical or psychological unknown challenges. In The Outsiders, as soon as Johnny kills Bob there are many challenges. When Johnny and Ponyboy run away they have to take a train, climb up a mountain, and finally set up in the abandoned church. This tests Ponyboy because Pony might give up, which makes it hard. Pony now has to the choice to be a Hero or be a “Dally”, meaning he can be optimistic about it or he can hate the world, thinking there is absolutely no light in it. After a while, Dally comes to visit Johnny and Pony and takes them out to eat, but when they


come back the church is on fire. Ponyboy and Johnny run into the fire to save the kids stuck inside. Johnny and Dally end up in the hospital, and these are just some of the challenges.

Ponyboy continues to experience The Initiation when he is threatened by being separated from his family. As the doctor tells Johnny’s critical condition, Pony thinks about his life without

Johnny. “If he lived...if? Please, no, I thought. Please not ‘if’”(102). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero experiences The Abyss, or the low point where he must face his worst fear. He must get over his fear (The Transformation). The hero then changes the way he views life (The Revelation and Atonement). In The Outsiders, Ponyboy faces his worst fear, losing his family, when the doctor tells him about Johnny’s condition. He also faces his worst fear when he realizes he could be sent to a boys’ home and be separated from his family if he was considered guilty at his trial. Ponyboy experiences The Transformation at the rumble when he questions why they were even fighting in the first place. He does not fully understand why they would beat each other up except that there is so much rivalry and tension. After that, Pony’s relationship with Darry is much more positive than the beginning of the book. At the end, Pony experiences a very peaceful, normal moment with Darry and Soda. Ponyboy is not afraid to be unique as a Greaser anymore.


Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he shares his knowledge to the world by writing a book. After Johnny dies in the hospital, and Dally dies by committing suicide through the police, Ponyboy reads a letter that Johnny left for him. He gets inspired from Johnny to

write his theme. “And I decided I could tell people beginning with my english teacher”(180). In the Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday Life is when the hero returns to everyday life with a gift.

His gift could be knowledge, acceptance, or wisdom. Now that he is done struggling, the hero can give back to the world. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy returns to his life, and everything is back to normal. When Pony reads the letter Johnny left him, he decides he will get his perspective out through his theme. Pony’s theme ends up being 180 pages of his wisdom. It is about how there is beauty and light in the world. He decides to mostly get his message out to the “Dally’s” of the world, meaning Pony wants to let them know about the good things in life before it’s too late. His book benefits everyone because now they can read about how Pony thinks.

In conclusion, Ponyboy Curtis goes on a Hero’s Journey by going through all the phases of a monomyth. By getting jumped by Socs with Johnny, Ponyboy experiences Separation from the Known. When Pony runs away to the country with Johnny, he faces his first set of challenges through Initiation. This is also The Unknown because the country way of living is not familiar to Johnny and Ponyboy. Pony experiences Initiation Part 2, or The Abyss, when he is threatened by being separated from his family. Finally, Ponyboy returns to everyday life when he shares his wisdom by writing a book. In the Hero’s Journey, something spectacular does not have to happen to the hero for them to experience the phases in a monomyth. The hero can be a normal person


who receives a call to adventure. The important thing is that the hero returns to everyday life as a new person with a gift that will benefit everyone.

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