Bakari Spencer

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay

The Outsiders/Hero’s Journey Bakari S.

5-5-14 5º

Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Shaquille O’neal,Wilt Chamberlain are people you think of when you think of basketball heroes who did all the great things in the sport of basketball. But those are not the only type of heroes. In the realistic fiction novel The Outsiders by S.E Hinton the main character is Ponyboy Curtis goes on a Hero’s Journey because he travels through the three required phases of the mono myth.

Ponyboy experiences The Separation from the Known when Johnny kills Bob when they are running away and are in the park after PonyBoy gets drowned by the Socs. Ponyboy wakes up and he asks Johnny what happened. Johnny says “I killed him, I killed that boy”(56). In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the known is when the hero is put into a situation that is not normal to them and are separated from what they are familiar with. In The Outsiders, when Johnny kills Bob Sheldon, it changes what Ponyboy Curtis is used to because Johnny,his friend, is not a killer. This proves that he went through this phase because Ponyboy is uncomfortable about this situation can end up running away with Johnny to Jay Mountain to an abandoned church. And he is definitely not comfortable leaving Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Ponyboy experiences The Initiation he gets a haircut when they reach Jay Mountain at the abandoned church so that they can disguise themselves to not appear as “greasers”. Ponyboy is thinking about Johnny’s plan and once he realizes what he is doing he says “‘ Peroxide? A deck of cards...’ Suddenly I realized something. ‘Johnny you ain’t thinking of...’ Johnny sat down and pulled out his knife ‘We’re gonna cut our hair and were gonna bleach yours” (71). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of the Initiation is when the hero faces multiple challenges. In The Outsiders, the Initiation (part 1) occurs when Ponyboy gets his hair cut and bleached. This event makes Ponyboy not pleased with running away. Since this happened it causes Ponyboy to be challenged because of his physical appearance. This is challenging for Ponyboy because he will look like a Soc which is not a positive thing for a Greaser. But, he has to understand that he will lose his identity so police cannot identify him as a greaser. Another reason he is uncomfortable is because he thinks he is a hood (a really bad greaser) and not a regular greaser anymore.

Ponyboy continues to experience The Initiation when he rethinks about the Socs and Greasers rumbling. After the rumbling in the lot Ponyboy is injured and reflects, “ Why do I fight? I thought, and couldn’t think of any good reason” (137). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero changes what he/she thinks about the world. I'm The Outsiders, Ponyboy is changing his thoughts about the Socs, this is the second part of The Initiation because he is is changing his point of view about the world because the Socs are apart of the world. This is a phase called The Revelation because he is changing his personal view of all the Socs and how hard it is to be one of them. This idea came to Pony when he was thinking about the fight. And realized that the fight was pointless.

Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he changes his point of view about the Socs. When Ponyboy is not unconscious in his house when he hears that Dally died the same day and was looking through the yearbook of his older brother and finds a picture of the man that Johnny killed named Bob and thinks about what Cherry Valance said earlier “Sweet and friendly stands out from the crowd - that’s what she had said”(162) In the Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday Life when the hero comes back to the known and shares a gift. In The Outsiders, Ponyboy Curtis comes back home to Tulsa,OK, He is more wise and starts to think about the Greasers more. Darry earlier says that Ponyboy doesn’t use his head and since he is wise he uses his head more. Since he has this gift there is more hope for him to become "tuff".

In conclusion their are many other types of heros in the world like Ponyboy Curtis. And the proof of him having a Hero’s Journey is Johnny kills a boy, he gets his hair cut and bleached, he changes what he thinks about the Socs, and changes his point of view of the world. So you might not have a friend who killed a person but you should be kind to the everyday heroes who help you every day.

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