In our continuing story, present your students with the task of retrieving some object that will be necessary in order to complete their task. They will have to go to a cave to visit a powerful beast, a magician or some other powerful being that possesses the needed object. Students must show their bravery and complete the task before going on.
"The inmost cave may represent many things in the Hero's story such as an actual location in which lies a terrible danger or an inner conflict which up until now the Hero has not had to face. As the Hero approaches the cave he must make final preparations before taking that final leap into the great unknown."
For this part of the Fantasy Camp, I like to make an actual cave and also touch on the symbolic cave theme. You can make a room look like a cave with brown wrapping or kraft paper. Here are some examples to look at.
Or, if you have a handy husband, you can make a cave wall out of wood and wire mesh. However you choose to do it, the point is to make the place a bit of a scary place and give them the hint that they will have to do something they may not want to do in order to get what they need to get.
Now that you have a cave, darken the room and dress in a dark costume to represent the being of your choice. In order to get the item, you tell them, they must come forward and give them reasons why they think that they are worthy warriors for the tasks to come. Have your students come forward one at a time and have them tell what they have done, what things they have worked on during the camp so far. Remind them, if necessary, of the traits of a hero that you have discussed. Take your time with this. Make it a bit scary to do, but reassuring once it is done. Make it a positive experience in the end.
"At the threshold to the inmost cave the Hero may once again face some of the doubts and fears that first surfaced upon his call to adventure. He may need some time to reflect upon his journey and the treacherous road ahead in order to find the courage to continue. This brief respite helps the audience understand the magnitude of the ordeal that awaits the Hero and escalates the tension in anticipation of his ultimate test."
You might also want to encourage other students to comment on each student's behavior that they have noticed. It is powerful for students to hear their peers assess them and note their positive traits. Either way, their fears should be recounted and how they faced them told. Always tell them that they will need these skills for the battle they will face and that they will also need to further work on their skills as the story unfolds.
If they do well in this task, they should be granted the item needed and the story continues on, with the warriors having faced their fears. They are now ready for their final ordeal.
Medieval Fantasy Literature
Medieval Fantasy Literature
In the literature discussion this week, discuss what examples of the "approach to the inmost cave" the characters they have read about experience. Discuss what heroic behaviors the characters exhibit. Are they human and have flaws, too? How do they overcome them?