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, Pt 6 Approaching the Innermost Cave, and Pt 7 The Ascent and Resurrection
Quick Visual Reminder of the Hero’s Journey:
Returning with the Elixir and Return to the Ordinary World
The final stage of the Journey is the the return to the Ordinary World. The hero leaves the realm of the Special World after being purified and returns to the Ordinary World changed. They have earned “the elixir” which can be literal or figurative (for example, a magic potion or wisdom and love) and then uses this knowledge to heal a broken world. Wanna see a great example?
Simba has faced death as Scar in the final climactic battle scene, defeats the enemy and emerges purified into KING SIMBA. He has earned his reward in the form of a Kingdom and will now take the elixir to the people. His roar, and significantly, the roar of his followers shows the broken land healing. Simba has completed his Hero’s Journey.
Classroom Implications of Returning with the Elixir
I certainly hope that students will emerge from the final battle with wisdom! I can also provide some in game item to show their emergence as a hero. Following the Civil Rights Ascent and Resurrection Battle with the Big Bad (Jeff? I still don’t know about that name…) students will return to the “Ordinary World”. In my mind students have been on an actual journey into the past which is the “Special Realm” and are now returning to their present ordinary world. They need to heal this current broken land and which leads to the final part of this series. They will need to take all of the knowledge they have gained. Everything about the Gilded Age Civil Rights movement, the Red Summer and Tulsa Massacres, the Civil Rights Movement elements, and apply them to a comparison of the Modern Civil Rights movement. Compare the leaders of each era, the way the movements have been portrayed in the media, the response from the Black, white, and other communities, the possible gains and backlashes. I want them to take this knowledge, this elixir, and spread it to as many people as will possibly listen. The question is how do we do this? Student’s modern tools are tech based. They have access to people and circles that were unknown in my youth. I would hope to harness this. Allow them to write, create, and advocate and take there message to adults in our community. I don’t know right now what that will look like but that will be the job of the student as the receive the elixir and decide how to best apply it. Will this be “graded”? If they ask, sure…
My hope is that their journey does not end at my classroom door.