Fathers, Sons, Redemption & Star Wars
To every child, boy or girl, a father must seem, at times, to be a kind of Darth Vader—large, tall, frightening, with a booming deep voice, insanely powerful, and at least potentially violent. For any child, boy or girl, a father is both Jedi and Sith—Obi-Wan Kenobi, gentle and calming and good, and Vader, fierce and terrifying. Of course, every father offers his own combination. But almost every one seems to have easy access to the Dark Side, at least to a child, and with his immense power, he appears capable of anything. One of the things Star Wars is most deeply about is fathers, sons, and redemption. In its own way, it points to the indispensability of paternal love, and it has a lot to say about the lengths to which people, boys or girls, will go to get it. The Redemption of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader transcends any individual’s personal struggles. Its real theme is universal. By their innocence and goodness, by their boundless capacity for forgiveness, and by the sheer power of their faith and hope, children redeem their parents, bringing out their best selves. And as every child knows, deep in his heart, any parent is likely to choose to risk his life to save his child’s, even if it means a contest with the Emperor himself. When he makes that choice, the Force is going to be right there with him.
Excerpted from The World According to Star Wars by Cass R. Sunstein; Photo by Everett Collection/Stephano Buttafoco/Shutterstock/AP/Paul Spella/The Atlantic
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