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, Pt 5 Crossing the Threshold, and Pt 6 Approaching the Innermost Cave

A Quick Visual Reminder of the Hero’s Journey:

Quick Recap

In the previous post I describe the Approaching the Cave and the Ordeal. In the image above This would be the build up to and finally the Supreme Ordeal. My analogy was to the Empire Strikes Back. Luke had to go to Dagobah and train with Yoda (Spiritual Aid/Mentor) and introduce the Atonement of with the Father in the Dark Side cave while Han and Leia are dealing with there own imperial problems. This all culminates in a final challenge (dual with Vader at Bespin) and Supreme Ordeal when the hero faces the biggest challenge to that point. After the the Ordeal the hero begins “The Ascent” and will face the Ultimate Challenge in the “Resurrection”.

The Ascent

In continuing our Star Wars analogy we are talking about Return of the Jedi. Luke emerges from his fight with Vader on Bespin as a full out Jedi Master. In “The Ascent” phase the new hero is ready to complete their mission. Luke shows of his newfound skills in defeating Jabba the Hutt as he seeks to reunite the original fellowship. Once the group is back together they rejoin the Rebels and find the stakes have been raised and the original danger is only stronger! A New Death Star and the ultimate evil – The Emperor – has emerged. This leads to The Resurrection.

The Resurrection

The Rebellion must defeat the new Death Star and begins the ultimate battle with evil. Our hero is part of the group that begins this mission but quickly realizes that his specialness means that they must sacrifice themselves for the good of the mission. This might be literal or figurative. Luke embodies the literalness of this when he decides to sacrifices himself by submitting to Vader on Endor to misdirect the Imperials. He will later continue the sacrifice by refusing to fight Vader and his refusal to kill the Emperor. It doesn’t seem like it to the evil doers but he is using his heroic nature to battle their wicked nature.

darth vader episode 6 GIF
wrong luke skywalker GIF by Star Wars

Luke then faces literal death as the Emperor shocks him with force lightning. In this moment he reaches atonement with his father (Vader) and is then saved by the “rescue from without” (Vader again). Luke’s sacrifice has been made and he has emerged victorious from the Final Ordeal.

Classroom Implications for the Ascent

At this point in the Student’s Hero’s Journey the have completed the Tulsa Massacre challenge and emerged with their new insights leading them onto the “road back”. The ascent is full of new challenges though dramatically building to the final resurrection battle. To this point the Mentor has been emailing with the student or communicating through the Google Site in the assignments. After the Tulsa Massacre Ordeal the Big Bad will be so angry that they will capture the Mentor who sends off one last desperate email as the source minions surround the Mentor’s secret location. The Mentor has learned they are to be held as the Big Bad tries to extract information on the locations of some important powerful Primary Source – something like an original handwritten copy of John Lewis’ speech at the March on Washington. The “road back” for our Hero will be based on finding and analyzing important 1960s Civil Rights era primary sources. These actions will allow the student to harness the power of these primary sources to take on the Big Bad in the climactic “Resurrection” or “the Third Threshold” Battle.

Classroom Implications for the Resurrection

Once the Civil Rights Era Sources are collected and analyzed the students will be able to attempt a rescue of the Mentor from the Big Bad. The students will enter a code from the source into a Digital Google Form Lock. Once the locks are completed and the form submitted then the student/hero will be “transported” to a Final Battle with the Big Bad in the form of a Boss Fight. The questions in the boss fight will center on the content that the student will have been expected to learn up to that point with additional attacks and defense coming in the form of questions specifically about the Civil Rights era information they learned in the sources. This is also where specific items and powers may come into play. The Boss Fight will need to be digital so that it can be “replayable” as success is necessary to enter into to final. In the end the Big Bad will be defeated and the students will gain “The Elixir” and begin on the journey back to “The Ordinary World”