This is part of my Road of Trials series in which I am chronicling my effort to plan a Hero’s Journey based Lesson in my 11th Grade HIS202: American History from 1877 to the Present. Click Here to see Part 1 Introduction, Part 2 Call to Adventure, Part 3 Meeting the Mentor, Pt 4 Road of Trials, and Pt 5 Crossing the Threshold
Quick Visual Refresher on the Hero’s Journey:
Approaching the Innermost Cave
Now the hero is in the Special World. They have crossed the threshold but are still facing enemies and making allies along the way. There are various challenges that the Hero could face from Meeting a God/Goddess, finding love, or dealing with parental issues but there is typically a temptation leading to difficult choices. Those choices may require reorganizing priorities or rekindling waning moral. The challenges may also include reconnaissance and strategic planning for the central ordeal. In the diagram above we are referring to the Second Threshold. To go back to our original Star Wars Trilogy analogy this is Act II: The Empire Strikes Back. Luke is off galavanting on Dagobah with Yoda (a Supernatural Aid/Mentor) as he learns more about becoming a Jedi. At the end of the movie there is a second “test” – The Ordeal.
On Dagobah Luke was tested as he entered the Dark Side Force Cave and failed miserably. He them recieves a calling to save his friends on Bespin. Importantly he is not fully a Jedi yet. In the confrontation with Darth Vader on Bespin Luke faces his most difficult battle yet and nearly dies. Yet he is able to escape with new insights and purpose. This is a step in the “Atonement with the Father” arc but also represents the “Second Threshold” in the diagram above. These new insights allow Luke to turn fully enter into the final stage of his Heroic Arc as he begins the Ascent phase toward the final “resurrection” test.
Classroom Implications for the Approaching the Innermost Cave and Ordeal
At this point students have battled the Big Bad (Steve? maybe Jeff…) following a Road of Trials focused on the Gilded Age Civil Rights leaders and then Crossed the Threshold with the Red Summer of 1919. In this Approach to the Innermost Cave I am going to have students investigate the Tulsa Massacre of 1921. This will involve an investigation into the causes of the Massacre, a reconstruction of the events, and the fallout of the massacre on the Black community in the area. These will be a series of “mini-challenges” to acquire important primary sources that will then be used to build a case to combat the Big Bad’s effort to “disappear” the event out of the History Books. The final task or ‘Second Threshold” task will be to create a new textbook entry OR a Short Instruction video modeled on my Recorded Lectures that I can then insert into the general Unit Recordings.