HARRISON FRAHN

THE OUTSIDERS/ HERO'S JOURNEY

My essay reflection

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

1. In my writing in the beginning of the year, I was much less sophisticated as a writer than I am today. I feel like I have matured a lot this year in writing, and consider myself a much better writer than the beginning of the year.

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

2. I think that one of my greatest strengths as a writer is that I always go back and edit my work after I have finished. I know that your first draft is nit the draft that you should turn in, and I always make sure to make my work better.

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

3. The writing skill that I want to develop next year the most is to not rush. I feel like I am always rushing my first draft, and would like to slow down and make it better.

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

4. The thing that I liked best about reading this novel is that I feel like it more accurately portrays teens than some other novels. Life isn't all sunshine and happiness, and this novel shows it.

The Outsiders/ Hero's Journey Essay

The Outsiders/ Hero’s Journey Harrison Frahn

English Period 6 5/5/2014 CINCO DE MAYO

Black vs. white. Us vs. them. Greaser vs. Soc. Life is full of conflicts.But do people ever ask themselves why? Why does someone dislike another person? If it is personal, okay, but what about on principle? On what principle? Why do people hate the people they hate? This is the question that Ponyboy Curtis attempts to answer in The Outsiders. Ponyboy is a “greaser”, whose friend, Johnny, is attacked by a rival gang, the Socs , and they kill a Soc in self defense. Pony goes on the run with Johnny, and they return to find that a fight has been scheduled between the greasers and the Socs, and they are the reason why. In the realistic fiction book The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, the main character 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 leaves with johnny to catch the train to Windrixville. Pony is separated from the known after he and Johnny have been jumped by the Socs. They go to Buck Rogers’s house and find dally, who gives them talismans (a gun, a coat, and money.) When they are leaving, Ponyboy narrates “ We ran into the darkness’’(64).

In the Hero’s Journey, the separation from the known is when the hero leaves his known and comfortable world for the adventure and darkness of the Unknown. This is usually the result of a sudden and traumatic change/event. The hero is usually helped by threshold guardians, who give them assistance and talismans. Ponyboy goes through the separation from the known when he leaves Dallys porch. In the before quotation, Pony says that he and Johnny ran into the darkness. In that quote, the author, S.E. Hinton, is using symbolism. The “darkness” symbolizes the unknown ,uncomfortable, and adventure. The definition of the separation of the known is when the hero leaves the known for the darkness of the unknown. Another reason why Pony experiences the separation from the known is because before he leaves, Dally gives him directions, a gun, money, and dry clothes. Often during the Hero’s Journey, the hero is given items called Talismans by the Threshold Guardian. Dally is acting as the Threshold Guardian for Pony and Johnny.

Ponyboy experiences the Initiation when he must allow Johnny to cut his hair. Before Pony has his hair cut by Johnny in the abandoned church that they are hiding from the police in, Johnny says, “They [the police] can not take anything else away from them, because they never had anything in the first place, so they cut their hair” (86). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of the Initiation is when the hero experiences Challenges that are some of his greatest fears, but not his worst fear, that is the abyss. In the Outsiders, Ponyboy goes through the Initiation. When Johnny says this, he is saying, he is saying that the cops cut peoples hair to demoralize them when they are arrested. Johnny is a Greaser, and like like all greasers, he values his hair very highly. He also knows that Pony is not just afraid to cut his hair, but that he is reluctant to do it because it is his last link to his life as a greaser. Johnny possibly knows that Ponys greatest fear is losing his “family” (Steve, Two-bit, Soda, Darry, Johnny, and Dally). So he thinks that Pony feels like he is losing his connection to all his friends . Johnny cuts Ponys hair himself because he knows that pony will be more comfortable having his hair cut by Johnny than by the police if they are captured.

Ponyboy continues to experience The initiation when he wakes up from his concussion. He got his concussion during the rumble, and he is just recovering from it. He is in lying in his bed after he has woken up ( it is about 4 days after the rumble) and he wants to know whether he has asked for Darry. He says “Soda, Did I ask for Darry while I was sick?”(136). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero goes through the abyss, the transformation, and the revelation. Respectively, these are when the hero faces his greatest fear, changes, and realizes that he has changed. In the outsiders, Ponyboy goes through the Transformation. Before Pony goes on the Hero’s Journey, he has almost no compassion for Darry, and thinks that Darry just likes to yell at him. After the Hero’s journey, however, Pony has changed. But what changed him? The thing that made him realize that his brothers have feelings is when he hears that Soda has asked his girlfriend, Sandy, to marry him. Sandy wants to say yes, but her parents do not let her. Soda is devastated, and Pony does not even know what happened. He realizes that his brothers have lives and feelings too. He realizes that they love him. To emphasize this, S.E. Hinton uses metaphor again.When ponyboy wakes up from his concussion, he is “waking up” from his before belief that his brothers did not have feelings or love him. This is a transformation from bad to good, as often happens in the Hero’s journey.

Ponyboy experiences the return to everyday life when he comes to terms with Johnny’s death. Johnny had died in the hospital after the rumble, and Pony had not believed that he had died. He kept telling himself that Johnny was still alive, but he was dead. After Pony comes to terms with Johnny's death, he writes his english theme about the whole thing that has happened, starting from the movie theater. He writes, “When I stepped out of the darkness of the movie house into the bright sunlight, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home. In the Hero’s Journey, the return to Everyday Life is when the hero returns to everyday life, sometimes with a gift. The gift can be physical, mental, cultural, or any number of things. In the Outsiders, when Pony returns to everyday life after he comes to terms with Johnny’s death, he brings a gift. This gift is the book the Outsiders! Well, not really. The gift is the knowledge that the book contains, which is that the world is not just greasers vs. socs, poor vs rich, us vs them. Ponyboy realizes that the world is not just black and white. Without this knowledge, the world world continue how it is, with socs attacking greasers and greasers resenting socs. The world may be a better place. The words that begin he book are the same as the ones that end it, because S.E. Hinton wants us to think that Ponyboy wrote the Outsiders, even though she did. She wants us to think that Ponyboy, after realizing something was wrong with the world, tried to fix it.

In conclusion, the protagonist, Ponyboy, goes through the Hero’s journey because he experiences the three required phases of a monomyth. Ponyboy goes through separation from the known when he leaves Dally’s porch, and he goes through the Initiation when he lets Johnny cut his hair. He goes through the second part of the initiation when he realizes that his brothers have feelings, and he returns to everyday life when he comes to terms with Johnny’s death. In the Outsiders, Pony attempts to answer a question: are the Soc’s really so bad? This is not only a question for books, but for real life. In real life, people discriminate against others all the time. People hate other people, and not always for good reasons. Ponyboy wants to know why. And while he may not find out the answer, he definitely does something to make the world a better place.  

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