Star Wars, Anthropology, and Me

Mara Jade's Father

Master Member
Working toward my second BS degree and I had to take a cultural diversity class as part of the curriculum this past spring. I took an Anthropology class and one of the big end of the semester projects was to write a paper. The paper was to pick a movie on the approved list and write about an anthropology related paper on it. Star Wars was one of the movies. I wrote about the need for mythology in todays culture and how and why Star Wars was an important to our culture.

I got 11 out of 10 on the submitted reference portion and 41 out of 40 on the actual paper. 52 out of 50 ain't bad.

The instructor wrote:
"Wow! As an anthropologist and a Star Wars nerd I REALLY enjoyed reading this! It was well written, well thought out and very well done overall. Excellent! I'm saving a copy to my computer!"

Once again, Star Wars comes through for me.

If you are interested in reading it, click here.
 
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sycor

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Sounds like an interesting topic. In college I wrote a research paper on the existence of aliens for an English class. It was less research than an argumentative style paper and the professor loved it. But the most interesting paper I had to write was for a philosophy of science class that I took where I had to argue whether or not I had a soul based on Descartes' (I think) principles. It ended up being easier to do the "no soul" side.
 

Mara Jade's Father

Master Member
It is not very long. We were suppose to do it at 5 page, 12pt font, double space. mine came out over 6 pages, 10pt font. I had to work at keeping it short. The challenge was covering the story as if someone who was reading it might not have seen Star Wars. I also wanted to give examples of other myths in comparison but it probably would have added another page or more.

I will try to get the paper up next week.
 

nickytea

Master Member
If you are interested in reading it, click here.

Good work on the essay!
You did a nice job summarizing how Star Wars conforms to the monomythic hero's-journey structure. My favorite part, though, was your last four paragraphs. Many have waxed mythological (rightly so) about the structural similarities of Star Wars, but the effect of this and its transformative potential for the individual are very interesting to me.

Thanks for posting!
 

Colin Droidmilk

Sr Member
On the other hand, though, the world is not as simplistic as the black and white morality of myth. Case in point: SW inspired you to join the American military, yet Lucas' inspiration for the bad guys in SW was... the American military!

For me, myth can only ever be a refuge, a happy dream in which to recharge one's moral batteries, perhaps - and that's very valuable - but not anything one can really live by; the world is grey, and we are forced into ugly moral compromises at every step... The joyous 1977 re-emergence of myth cheered us up and gave us (false) hope, but that's all, it seems to me.
 

nickytea

Master Member
Colin,
Myth itself has no morality.
You associate a morality with the specifics of this story (Star Wars), however, its mythic properties transcend the dialectic. The timeless aspects of truly mythic tales exist beyond the timely considerations of moral specificity.
 
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