Renle Chu

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey

THe Outsiders Playlist

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my Essay Reflection

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

I think in the beginning of the year my writing was all about using pretentious words and making my essays very detailed. I also have many grammatical mistakes. Now after a year, I think that my writing has gotten more organized, detailed but not meticulous, and now has less grammatical mistakes.

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

I think my writing strengths are voice and word choice. I tend to express the character I'm writing about with a lot of emotion and character. I think I'm good at choosing the best words to describe the situation or setting. I also think that I choose felicitous words for a character's thoughts or actions.

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

I think I would still like to develop better convention. I would like the reader to see more depth in my writing and figure out its theme/moral.

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

I really liked reading The Outsiders because I felt that the book truly expressed the way of thought for a teenager. It also has a very important theme. I think that "not judging someone by their cover" is a very important lesson that everyone should learn and do.

The OUtsiders/Hero's JOurney

The Outsiders/Hero’s Journey Renle Chu

5/6/2014 Period 7

        When most people think of the word “hero” they think of someone like James Bond, or a knight in shining armor. Whether its their ability to eviscerate a building by a brush of a hand, or their ability to always look flawless and brave. This is probably caused by all the popular books and movies that have come out in recent years. However, there are many more types of heroes. There are heroes like Ponyboy Curtis who do not have breath-taking superpowers or the ability to perform spectacular stunts, but he does return as a normal person with a gift to the world. 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 out of self-defense, Johnny kills Bob, a Soc, to save Ponyboy from drowning. After they realize that the Soc is dead, the boys decide to run away to avoid charges for murder. Johnny says, “I killed him (...) I killed that boy” (56). In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Known is when the hero leaves the comfortable and experiences a sudden traumatic change that forces them into action. In The Outsiders, The Separation from the Known occurs when Johnny kills Bob. This event is sudden to Pony because Johnny killing Bob is very unexpected. After Pony wakes up from being drowned he suddenly finds out that Johnny has killed a Soc. This is very sudden for Pony. This event is also traumatic for Pony because now he and Johnny will have to face charges for murder. Ponyboy feels lost and does not know what to do since he has not experienced anything like this before. They both believe that if they stay and turn themselves in they will not have a fair trial because they are Greasers. Since this is his belief, Pony and Johnny decide to run away to avoid being caught by the police. This event shows that Pony is in Phase One of the Hero’s Journey because there is a sudden and traumatic action that causes Pony to be separated from the known.

        Ponyboy experiences The Initiation when he decides to go into the burning church to save the children. After Ponyboy and Johnny arrive back with Dally from their lunch meetup, they go to the abandoned church on Jay Mountain. They see that the church is on fire. However, when a teacher of some students that were playing nearby realizes that some of his students are missing, Pony out of instinct says, “‘I’ll get them, don’t worry’ I started a dead run for the church (...)” (91). In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of the Initiation is when the hero experiences a psychological unknown or challenge. In The Outsiders, The Initiation happens when Pony and Johnny decide to enter the burning church to save the little children who were trapped inside. This is a physical challenge for Pony because by entering the burning church, Pony is risking his life to save the little children. This action is very dangerous. Pony has just entered a place where he does not know whether he is going to live or die in the fire. Pony has entered the “unknown” because he does not know what is going to happen in the church. By doing this Pony is acting very selfless and brave. He knows that he might die in the building, but Pony chooses to put the little children’s lives before his. This action shows that Pony is being a hero. Overall, this event shows that Pony is in the Initiation because he has entered the “unknown” by going into the burning church.

        Ponyboy continues to experience The Initiation when he no longer views the Socs and the Greasers in the same way. After Pony is let out of the hospital from the concussion he got by the burning church, he joins a rumble (a fight) against the Socs at the vacant field he and the other boys play football at. Pony feels differently about the rumbles now. He thinks, “They shouldn’t hate each other (…) I don’t hate the Socs anymore (…)” (143). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero experiences The Transformation. The Transformation is when the hero must conquer his fear and make way for courage, enlightenment, and independence. In The Outsiders, the second part of The Initiation, The Transformation, happens when Ponyboy starts to feel differently about the world around him. He no longer fears the Socs or think about them as conceited, wealthy teenagers from the east side. This is caused by Ponyboy’s talks with Cherry and Randy (Socs). In Cherry’s conversation with Ponyboy she states that, “you’ve only seen his bad side (Bob),” and, “He could be sweet…”. This made Ponyboy question his thoughts about the Socs. He realizes that he would help both Cherry and Randy if they needed help. In Ponyboy’s conversations with Randy, Pony notices that there is pain in Randy’s eyes. Ponyboy always thought that Socs were too “cool” for emotions but, now seeing Randy, he realizes that Socs are just humans too. In their second conversation, Randy shows that he is worried about Ponyboy being sent to a foster home. This, again, reveals that Socs have feelings. These actions causes Pony to conclude that Socs, too, are mere human beings with their own problems to deal with. He also thinks that Socs should not be judged by their cover. Since this is his belief, Pony starts to see himself differently too. He now wants to become someone like Darry who is very hardworking. He does not want to become a hoodlum like Tim Shepard’s gang or stay a Greaser. This is The Transformation because Ponyboy no longer sees the world around him in the same way. He feels differently about the people around him and himself.

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        Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when Pony decides to share his knowledge and wisdom through his theme essay for English. After the rumble Dally and Johnny goes and visits Johnny but unfortunately, Johnny passes. Not soon after Johnny’s death, Dally passes too by the Police shooting him after he robbed a store. Johnny leaves a gift for Ponyboy after his death, a copy of Gone with the Wind. With it is a note that he has left for Pony. After reading the note Pony thinks, “Someone should tell their side of the story, and maybe people would understand then and wouldn't be so quick to judge a boy by the amount of hair oil he wore” (179). In the Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday Life is when the hero returns to everyday life with a “gift” whether its leadership or enlightenment. In The Outsiders, The Return to Everyday Life happens when Pony decides to share the wisdom he has gained through his Hero’s Journey. Ponyboy decides to put his newfound knowledge into a book for his theme essay for English. This essay is the “gift” that Ponyboy brings back to share with the world. In the essay Ponyboy writes in first person. He wants the world to know, “Do not judge someone by their cover”. This is Ponyboy’s new point of view. Pony no longer sees the world in black and white, he now sees the full color spectrum. Pony has learned not to stereotype people and have empathy. Pony shares his gift by telling his side of the story so now people like Dallas Winston, a former hoodlum, can maybe change for the better. By settling down with his family and bringing back a “gift”, wisdom, Ponyboy is in the phase, The Return to Everyday Life.



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        In conclusion, the main character, Ponyboy Curtis, goes on a Hero’s Journey because he experiences the three parts of the phases a hero must travel through in a monomyth. Ponyboy enters The Separation from the Known when Johnny kills Bob out of self defense. Later on , Pony experiences The Initiation when he and Johnny decide to leap into the burning building to save the trapped children inside. The second part of The Initiation occurs when Ponyboy goes through a Transformation causing him to view the world around him differently. Ponyboy experiences the last phase of the Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday Life, when he settles down once again with his brothers and when he brings back a “gift” to the world. Maybe one day someone will be able to turn invisible with just a cloak, shoot laser beams out of their eyes, or have the ability to resurrect. However, a Hero’s Journey can be taken by anyone. It does not matter whether if one is a superhero or just a regular person. Going on a Hero’s Journey and bringing back a “gift” will always benefit the world.

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