Pierce Barrientos

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay

From left to right: Steve, Sodapop, Ponyboy, Dally, Johnny, Two-Bit, and Darry

My Essay Reflection

I think my writing has an expanded vocabulary since the beginning of the school year.  This vocabulary is my prime strength in writing, for a use an interesting or perplexing word nearly every sentence.  I want to be able to recognize the topic and write accurately about it.  That way, I don't have to go over my work and re-work the entire topic.  I liked writing about this topic (The Outsiders) because I like using a combination of my vocabulary and great literature.

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay

The Outsiders/ Hero’s Journey essay                                                                  Pierce Barrientos

5/5/14                                                                                                                                           Period 5

When people say “hero”, what are they thinking of? Most people would answer “superheroes”. Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Thor. They are all awesome, and most people know them from the even awesomer movies that have been coming out lately ( The Amazing Spider-Man 2 came out around 5/3/14! ). However, superheroes are not the only heroes. There are heroes who go on a Hero’s Journey. An example is Ponyboy Curtis. He goes on a Hero’s Journey to change, transform, and come back home with a gift. In the realistic fiction novel, The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton, Ponyboy Curtis follows the three phases of a monomyth, indicating a Hero’s Journey.

Ponyboy experiences The Separation from the Known when he accidentally falls asleep in the lot with his buddy Johnny. Pony( a nickname for Ponyboy) goes home at two o'clock in the morning, and his older brother Darry slaps him in anger. Pony grabs Johnny and runs away for some time to cool off. They are attacked by Socs, and Socs hate greasers like Pony. As a Soc attempts to drown Pony, Johnny kills one, inducing them to run to Dally, another Greaser friend to gear up for running away to the country. “Dally walked us back to the door turning off the porch light before we stepped out. ‘Git goin”!’ He messed up Jonny’s hair. ‘Take care, kid,’ he said softly. ‘Sure, Dally, thanks.’ And we ran into the darkness”(62). In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Known is when the hero experiences a very traumatic or jarring change in their lifestyle that forces them into action. They must leave the familiar world behind to “set things right.” They are also usually looking to redeem themselves, restore honor, or bring justice. The way The Outsiders coordinates with The Hero’s Journey is because Johnny kills that Soc. This is very traumatic because Johnny would never kill anyone and now they are both wanted fugitives. It forces Pony to run away to Windrixville with Johnny. All of this comes together to equal The Separation from the Known.

Ponyboy experiences the first part of the Initiation when he finds himself in a dusty old church for a week and looking desperately for a group of small kids within the blazing walls of that same church. Pony runs away to Windrixville and hides in a church on Jay Mountain with Johnny. He has a hard time getting used to his new living quarters. “I woke up late in the afternoon. For a second, I didn’t know where I was. You know how it is, when you wake up in a strange place and wonder where in the world you are, until memory comes rushing over you like a wave. I half convinced myself that I had dreamed everything the night before. I’m really home in bed, I thought”(68). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of the Initiation is when the hero faces many a worthy challenge. These hardships are called “The Challenges”. In The Outsiders, Pony has to stay in and uncomfortable church, cut and bleach his hair for the sake of disguise, and save kids from a flaming church. As a greaser, one of the only things Pony has other than friends and family is hair. Getting it cut and bleached is like parting with a favorite stuffed animal. Saving kids from a burning building is a challenge as well, because the building could collapse at any time and the heat must be blistering. This trial gave Pony a choice. Go save the kids and be a hero, or do not, and be a “Dally”.

Ponyboy continues to experience The Initiation when he watches Johnny on his dying bed and realizes that all he has is very important, because he does not have much. As Darry gets ready for the big battle between the Socs and the greasers, Pony realizes something, “I watched Darry going toward Tim and the leader of the Brumly boys. He shouldn’t be here I thought suddenly. I shouldn’t be here and Steve shouldn’t be here and Soda shouldn’t be here and Two-Bit shouldn’t be here. We’re greasers, but not hoods”(140-141). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the experiences a low point, which transforms the heros some way and the hero harmonizes with his or her new life. In The Outsiders Pony experiences the Abyss, the low point, when Johnny dies. Pony sees Johnny as part of the family, as a brother, not just another buddy to hang out with. The transformation takes place when he realizes he needs to keep a firm hold on the rest of his family, because if they do not have each other who do they have? Pony then harmonizes with his new point of view by having a healthy relationship with his older brother Darry, because they used to argue very often.

Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he hangs out with Randy the Soc, and decides he is not so clueless on what to write for his English project in school. Pony thinks before putting his pen to the paper. “Someone should tell their side of the story, and maybe people would understand and wouldn’t be so quick to judge…”(179). In the Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday Life is when the hero returns with a gift from his or her journey and how he or she shares that gift. In The Outsider, Pony’s gift is an extra point of view to look through. This point of view is a Soc’s point of view. When Pony writes his English assignment, he really plans on writing a book. The Outsiders, to be specific. He write it as a voice of reason and a bridge between Socs and greasers. This bridge is the phrase “Things are tough all over”. Even though Socs are rich, they still have problems, just like greasers. For those who are not a soc or a greaser? The theme “stay golden” kicks in. It’s meaning is, enjoy good things while they last and ignore the fact they will not last. Otherwise, you may become bitter and angry like Dally.

In conclusion, Pony goes on a hero’s journey because he followed the steps to making a Monomyth. When Pony sleeps till two in the morning, he is participating in a hero’s journey. When he wakes up in a church, sees Johnny dying, and hangs out with Randy, he is participating in a Hero’s Journey. When he writes his book, he is saving socs from treating greasers inhumanly, and vice-versa, and he is saving people from becoming bitter and angry, like Dally. And this brings us back to super heroes. Spider-Man saves people. So does Pony. This proves that not only super heroes can be heroes.

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