Alexander Evans

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay

The Outsiders Essay Reflection

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

A.) At the beginning of the year, my only goal in my writing skills was word choice. Instead of trying to build a structure for my writing and analyze key ideas, I only paid attention to my word choice and ignored the details and emotion they can paint.  But now, I value all the depths and meanings in words and treasure them as important tools for creating an essay and evoking different feelings.

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

A.) I have very strong word choice and writing.  Because it was my first goal for English for the past year I have made an effort to select more intense words and lay them out to create more feeling

.  I am also very good in fluency.  I can now more easily connect sentences together rather then leaving my writing choppy and unclear.  However, my most powerful skill in writing is organization.  I can organize and arrange my writing together like a puzzle or a good story and I try to keep in mind how the parts all make a whole.

Q.) What writing skills do you need or want to continue to develop next year?

A.) I really hope to improve on analyzing or explaining key points in my commentary. Sometimes I can sound unclear or I do not give enough information for my audience to clearly understand the concept that I am writing about.  My contextual use of words is not as good as it should be and sometimes I get things wrong.  More reading is helping me understand where and when words should be used correctly.

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

A.) I really enjoyed creating a real essay. I have only made essays in a short form or they would lack details and structure.  I had also enjoyed creating this portfolio. I am able to create my own designs and colorful patterns and for me that is wonderful and creative visually and that helps me get motivated and creative.

The Outsiders Essay

The Outsiders/Hero’s Journey Alexander Evans

5/5/14  1st period

Life is full of change and new experiences. Changes can sometimes be positive and other times tragic. Humans do not like to change because change is difficult. The first thing many people do is try to ignore it. Many people like routine and would rather hold on to their normal lives. Change is a theme in the novel The Outsiders and described through the experiences of the main character, a boy named Ponyboy Curtis. Ponyboy cannot accept change into his life. Instead of adjusting to his problems or accepting his changes, he tries to turn away from his problems. He encounters change and life experiences which are difficult to accept, like death and being taken away from his family.

Though the course of the story he experiences a monomyth, also known as a Hero’s Journey, which is comprised of three phases. Ponyboy enters the first phase of cycle of the Hero’s Journey when he experiences separation from the known. He endures this phase when Bob, an arrogant self absorbed member of the Soc, a wealthy gang, attempts to drown him for hanging out with his girlfriends. Fortunately for Ponyboy, his good friend Johnny was there to stop him. However, Johnny’s hate for the Socs took the best of him, so he stabs Bob with his switch blade. When Ponyboy wakes up after passing out, Johnny says “I killed him... I killed that boy”. This phase, due to the death of Bob, is named separation from the known because he leaves what was a normal life, and instead of being normal people, Ponyboy and Johnny are now dangerous. This loss or traumatic change is a wake up call, or call to action, for Ponyboy. He leaves his home and begins a new journey. The hero, Ponyboy, also meet helpers along the way in his journey called threshold guardians. This is all part of Ponyboy’s experience.

Panicked, they meet up with someone named Dally who has killed people and as a result, does not have a normal life either. Dally tells Pony and Johnny to leave their homes and hide in an abandoned church on top of Jade Hill so they won’t be noticed in public. It is crystal clear that Dally is a threshold guardian, or helper. Dally has experienced being a criminal and knows what to do in this situation. Ponyboy then decides to leave his own family, gang, and home, experiencing separation from the comfortable.

As part of his initiation into becoming a hero, Ponyboy is faced with challenges and temptations. During each phase there is usually a mentor or helper that helps him to survive. For the first part of his initiation Dally sends Ponyboy and Johnny to an abandoned church in order to hide from public notice. Dally says “there’s an old abandoned church at the top of Jade Hill”. Being a threshold guardian, Dally tries to offer as much help as he could, but he can only offer help, not life support. Once Ponyboy and Johnny reach the abandoned church, time moves slowly and they try to make time pass quicker. Though they are hidden from their community, many are seeking and looking for the two. Ponyboy misses his brothers and the gang life. It is very difficult and painful for him to leave his loved ones behind. He struggles to adapt to his new environment. But all Ponyboy can really think about now in this situation is to not wanting to be discovered. He must not be captured or noticed because he is a criminal, and the only people that he can trust at this moment are Johnny, and his mentor and helper Dally.

As Ponyboy continues his experience with initiation he finds out that he might be sent to a boys home. Ponyboy finds out this dreadful news when he returns home from the church. His brother Soda says “No, they ain’t goin’ to put us in a boys home”. But Soda is still unsure, which makes his brothers much more anxious. This only makes Ponyboy’s fear grow. This is the beginning of the second phase of the initiation which is called the abyss, or the lowest point in the Hero’s Journey. In this phase, the hero must face or stand up against his or her deepest, darkest, fears or enemies. In this condition, Ponyboy is experiencing both physical and mental challenges. The physical part of the experience in the abyss phase is when he is dragged away from his brothers. The mental challenge in the abyss phase is that he must accept life in a boys home if it is not safe to live with his brothers. Ponyboy and his brother Darry have an enemy relationship and are not fit to live together, which is why the government and boys home might be safer for him. Darry at the last minute chooses to be a good brother to Ponyboy and forget the sins of the past. Ponyboy’s brothers make sacrifices in order to help Ponyboy fight against the abyss.

During the last phase, Ponyboy wraps up his journey when he returns to his everyday life. In the hero’s journey, the return to everyday live is the third and final phase. The hero also can bring gifts of wisdom and items to share with his friends. Ponyboy has been transformed and changed and reborn into a new person. He leaves the unknown and returns to his everyday life when he goes back to his school. Ponyboy was absent from school for a very long time because he got a serious concussion which resulted with him missing school. Returning to school is difficult and his grades are worse in English class because he has missed so much. This change is a negative, and Ponyboy does not want to accept this change. Otherwise, Pony has learned so much and has become a better person. For example, he has learned to act tough when necessary, but behave and be kind in normal circumstances. Dally, on the other hand, knows how to be tough but he does not know how to behave in normal circumstances. Ponyboy can act either way depending on what is necessary, and this is precious wisdom that he can share to others. This is a considerable gift he has returned with from his long journey that he will share with many. In the end Ponyboy has returned to his normal, everyday life of being a Greaser.

In conclusion, Ponyboy experiences a special journey and transforms into a new person. This is what S.E Hinton wanted for his readers to understand in The Outsiders. He wanted everyone to learn about initiation and the different stages of the Hero’s Journey. The first part, or the Separation Of The Known, included struggles and obstacles to overcome. The second part, which is the abyss, is the lowest point for the hero. Finally, there is The Return to everyday life, when the hero returns to normal life with a gift to share with others. He also wanted to write about real world experiences and help people understand that criminals are not always bad people, and that sometimes people are faced with difficult circumstances.

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