When I was a middle and high school student, I’d always want to write about Star Wars in literature classes. My teachers frequently looked down on this predilection, and I had to learn to justify myself. The same pattern held true in college. It mattered to me that Star Wars be taken seriously as art. Some fans bristle at this and ask me why I’d want to take something that is fun and make it more than it is, but I feel strongly that something that affects me so deeply matters. It means something more than just a need to escape from reality–it, in fact, helps us comprehend reality.
For years, Joseph Campbell was a godsend. This mythologist was the kind of person that I could point to as an intellectual who considered Star Wars to be art. My high school teachers ate it up, but by the time I got to college, I learned that Campbell was no longer considered a serious scholar by the wider Academy. I had to come up with different reasons for why Star Wars was smarter than others said. I had to prove that it was standing the test of time not just because of nostalgia, but because there was something at its core that it shared with any work of immortal literature. Here are the five general categories I came up with to add to (and expand upon) Campbell’s work: [Read more…]