Anl: Trauma and Psychosis in Harry Potter

I love the Harry Potter books. From Goblet of Fire onward, I read each book as it was published. Part of the charm of reading relies on revisiting stories from new perspectives. When I started reading the Harry Potter books, I was not diagnosed with my mental illnesses. Teenage me was unaware of disability. I didn’t notice the underlying messages regarding trauma and mental illness in Harry Potter. Here, I will only be focusing on Harry and Ginny for the most part.

 

Trauma and Harry

Harry is singled out by trauma. The Boy Who Lived. He was literally marked by a visible scar to note his trauma. Living with the Dursleys, an abusive family, he often struggles to find his own worth. For example, he questions Molly for her affection. He rejects his friends’ offers to hep often. And, he doesn’t see much hope for his future.

As the series progresses, Harry loses people repeatedly. From his parents to Cedric. The list grows longer. Hedwig, his companion–the literal connection he had to his friends and the magic world, is axed.

However, it is not simply “loss” that marks Harry.

He is haunted by crippling anxiety as he is pressured into a fight he never chose. Voldemort chose him as his equal, and as such, tries eliminate him. Moreover, the pressure of being the Chosen One is rather debilitating. Harry doesn’t perform well in school. He doesn’t make a lot of friends. By Half-Blood Prince, he doesn’t have much ambition for his future. It takes Professor McGonagall to remind him that he can still become an auror by taking Slughorn’s class.

 

Mental Control (Lack thereof)

Another aspect of trauma is control. I think this is the scariest idea presented in the text. Harry has very little control over his own mind (literally). For example, Voldemort and Harry’s minds are linked. They can tap into each others’ visions. Harry loses Sirius through Voldemort’s manipulation of his mind.

This idea of losing touch with one’s reality reminds me of psychosis. As someone who experiences psychotic episodes and schizophrenia, this bit of representation matters to me. I always connected to Professor Trelawney, the Divination instructor. The prophecy comes through her. She is a bit of an outcast, but still. The story would not exist without Sybil Trelawney.

What about Ginny? She loses her ability to reason in Chamber of Secrets as Tom Riddle controls her body. Terrified, she runs, but it is too late. She is trapped in a dark place because of her mind.

Again, the fact that Rowling gives these psychosis-based experiences is hopeful.

Finally, Neville’s parents are traumatized by torturous spells so much that they are in a hospital. It is shown that they have no recollection of their family. This is some sort of representation. But, the question is, does Rowling do much with it?

 

Reflection on Trauma and Psychosis

In a way, Rowling reflects on trauma through Harry Potter. No one chooses to be mentally ill. Harry never chose to be against Voldemort. He never chose to be prey for Death Eaters and dementors.  And, this is a positive idea to choose. However, it is not just about mentioning ideas. It is about what you do with them as an author.

It is not just Harry dealing with trauma that is interesting. I think of Cho Chang’s example often. Faced with the death of a boyfriend or classmate (Cedric), she is left into a state of depression. She cries a lot. She cries when Harry kisses her, in fact.

And, Harry, fellow trauma-survivor, doesn’t seem to sympathize. What truly hurt is that Rowling could have used Cho as a character who has depression resulting from trauma. Would it not be neat to see Cho be a central character? Instead, she is dismissed and replaced with Ginny.

Now, granted, Ginny survived the abuse of being in touch with Tom Riddle. It sounds like psychosis a bit. She doesn’t know her own reality or her own strength. But, she is literally rescued by Harry. And Harry in turn is helped by a phoenix. Rowling never revisits this trauma again for Ginny.

By the end of the stories, “all is well” and Harry’s scar doesn’t hurt anymore. None of this aligned with my own experiences as a person with PTSD. Ginny is somehow presented as a “cool” person. She is a Quidditch star, wife, mother. The world is all possible as she thinks  “Everything is possible if you have the nerve.” But, she is never faced with her trauma anymore. It just disappears.

That’s not good representation. It’s two dimensional and diminishes the complexity of mental illness and trauma.

Your Turn:

What are your thoughts on Harry Potter and the representation of mental illness? Share your thoughts in comments to get the discussion going. Don’t forget to check out posts by the rest of the Disability Diaries crew.

For More:

 

Potter and PTSD 

 

What Harry Potter Taught Me About Trauma 

 

 

When watching Poldark, most people feel passionate about Ross and his story, but I am
I knew I would love Swiss Army Man from the moment I saw the trailer. Granted, I
I read Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close a few years ago and it moved me tremendously. So,

Anl.: Gatsby, Poldark, Who is the Man?

When watching Poldark, most people feel passionate about Ross and his story, but I am starting to wonder if it an echoing of the Great Gatsby from F. Scott Fitzgerald. Maybe that is something we are meant to examine, this connection between Great Gatsby and Poldark.

Ross Poldark

Essentially, Ross’ story is a response to the idea of the self-made man. To him, nobility is not a given, depending on wealth. It is that of breeding, which reminds me greatly of Tom Buchanan. However, it plays out differently for Ross.

The story is about the common man and champions ethics over riches. For Ross, it is about finding ways to be his authentic self without being controlled by money.

Often, he sells most of his possessions. He takes risks financially to provide for his family and tenants, not to gain social status.

Francis Poldark

Quite opposite to his cousin, Francis discovers that family outweighs social status, which would make Gatsby completely baffled. He tries to shake off his father’s pressing comments on his worth as a Poldark in comparison to Ross.

In fact, Francis redeems himself by getting to know the common man (servants and farmers), by being compassionate towards them, by respecting Demelza (who happens to be the token of a woman rising to ranks by love and marriage).

 

George Warleggan

George is considered the villain in this story, but I am not sure about this anymore. Think of how he is the modern American hero: self made, from rags to riches, and he is trying to attain a girl. Elizabeth Poldark represents aristocracy at its finest. And, he needs her badly.

It’s the assumption that once he has her, he will be noble. He will be worthy. He will be respected. After all, she is well educated, socially appropriate, and, quite frankly, all the dudes want her.

But why?

The Daisy of It All

Elizabeth is pretty much the green light that George reaches out for. She is unattainable (for now) because she’s married, she’s rich, she plays fair. Like Gatsby, George tries to please her with his money. He practically tortures Francis to have her ask for his help.

Very much in the same vein is his relationship with Ross. Ross, the noble who became a champion for the poor, and George, the leech who feeds on them, are at odds.

George tries to control him, to make his friend, to make sure he can contain this personified fire that is Ross. In a way, George, the grandson of a miner, is fighting his own past, trying to squash it, make peace with it, and most importantly, destroy it.

Sure, there is the obvious connection between him and Demelza, who tells him that she, too, is a lady, even though she is a miner’s daughter. He hates her for pointing out their background, for not being ashamed of who she was, a scullery maid.

This is where their difference lies. He is a banker and she was a scullery maid. In his eyes, he has fought to change his circumstances and he deserves to be rewarded with the best shiny things: connections, control, and, of course, the Daisy of it all–Elizabeth.

 

For More:

Is Poldark a True Story? 

 

Your Turn:

Do you see any connections between your favorite shows and classics you have read? Share in the comments!

 

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Over the past week, I have inched my way through the second season of The
Shows are a rare thing in my life, because I always worry about committing to

Anl. Swiss Army Man and its Themes

I knew I would love Swiss Army Man from the moment I saw the trailer. Granted, I adore Radcliffe and Dano, but I also loved the tone of the story in previews. What I didn’t expect was a movie  that was so moving and heartbreaking.

Freedom and Innocence

Essentially, the film communicates plenty of messages regarding freedom, as symbolized by farts. I know it sounds silly, but sometimes, we need simple ways to convey deep messages.

The way Manny is unrestrained and open is admirable. It’s what literally gets him places. While I partly consider Hank is projecting a bit onto Manny, I do think that his friend reflects his conflicts regarding freedom of expression.

Openness is reiterated throughout the story as Hank teaches Manny about various aspects of life: relationships, emotions, sexuality, pleasure, and self awareness.

Sexuality

Speaking of which, I loved how sex was explored in this movie. It was not a shameful, gross, or primal thing. I am torn regarding how Manny’s penis was used as a compass, because it can be foreshadowing for  Hank’s attachment to Sarah.

On the other hand, the relationship between sexuality and Hank’s stalking relates to innocence because I don’t find Hank and Manny creepy as people. They don’t fetish-ize Sarah or women in general. They don’t turn Sarah into a fantasy. It’s more of a coping mechanism for both of them.

Friendship and Acceptance

Through Manny’s questions, Hank is able to unfold different issues he has. For instance, he talks about his mother’s death and his inability to do things that pleasure him (through the masturbation and sex symbolism).

Hank tries to teach Manny about what is acceptable and what is not as Manny posits that perhaps it’s okay to feel caged by these expectations.

Montages depict their developing friendship, particularly when they reenact the bus scenario.

Not so Much

However, what it boils down to is that while we may think of these things, they can be punishable by society. It pains me to see that ending, but I didn’t expect Manny to survive in a world where his farts wouldn’t be accepted and, by extension, his innocence wouldn’t be accepted.

The closer Manny and Hank get, the closer to civilization they find themselves.

Ultimately, it is a fun and thought-provoking story that I am glad to have on DVD to rewatch and analyze.

Your Turn

What is the latest most challenging story you have been exposed to? How did you come to terms with it? Please share in the comments!

 

For More:

 

–“Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe” 

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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

I read Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close a few years ago and it moved me tremendously. So, when I saw the movie on sale for 5 bucks (!!!), I picked it up, certain of its awesomeness. In particular, I thought of its mystery aspects and its exploration of human connections and love.

The story offers a much needed message: you should love people for who they are, and tell them you love them (often) because you never know when you could lose loved ones. Be it catastrophic events like 9/11 or just a dwindling health, nothing is certain.  Oskar loses his father for the terrorist attacks in New York City. William Black’s father gets ill and dies.

Another interesting theme in the story is connection. People connected with Oskar even if they never knew him or his mother. He discovers that even though he didn’t want any friends, he got them anyway. This blindness, tunnel vision, of just a goal and nothing more is very typical. We zero in on a tangible logical thing while forgetting that there’s more to life than just checks, high fives, and happy dances. There’s love to ground you and remind you that your loss fits in a larger context.

The thing is, Oskar isn’t the only one who lost someone. Abby did. William did. His grandfather did. Everyone has an inner battle and turmoil. They fight it the way they feel fits. Is it perfect? Do they pick the best way to do so? You may not think so. All you can do is try to understand where they’re coming from.

Finally, you sometimes find things when you stop looking in the “logical” places. Oskar found out what they key meant after he let go and let the universe unfold. When he went up to the swings and found out that his father’s quest was much simpler than he expected. Scary, but when your loss is great, you sometimes become braver and stronger than you expect. It still hurts, though.

Your Turn:

Have you seen the movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close? Or maybe you’ve read the book? What did you glean from the story? How was it communicated throughout the tale? Share your reflections in the comments!

 

For More:

A Boy’s Epic Quest

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close 

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Anl. Symmetry in the Harry Potter Series

 

One of my favorite aspects of the Harry Potter series is its symmetry. It is wonderful to see connections throughout the books and movies. In particular, I like the little bits and bobs linking the stories all together.

When it comes to Harry himself, his relationship with Hagrid, connects the story from book 1 to the last story. In particular, Hagrid was key in Harry’s development. He is the one who brings him to Hogwarts in the first book, and the last book, too. Hagrid takes him on a motorcycle ride as a baby and as a grown wizard man.

But the symmetry extends beyond Harry and Hagrid–it’s between other relationships as well.  The story begins with an orphaned Harry, and ends with an orphaned Teddy Lupin. Moreover,  mothers’ love is used as a device connecting Harry, Draco, Narcissa, and Lily.  Lily sacrifices her life for Harry, Narcissa does the same for Draco’s sake. Same goes with Molly and Ginny. She kills Bellatrix for her daughter’s safety.

Another lovely connection is between Harry and the Deathly Hallows. Voldemort is obsessed with power, so he takes the Elder Wand. Snape, connected to the ghosts of his love, is connected with the Resurrection Stone, and finally, Harry welcomes death like an old friend. He is okay with letting go and this is why he’s the true master of the Deathly Hallows. Also, in the series, Harry comes in contact with the other Hallows and lets them go. He is sincere when he first meets the Resurrection Stone; only wanting to find it to hide it from Voldemort. The same idea echoes in the way Harry discards the Elder Wand. Uninterested in power or living forever, he is our hero in the stories. 

I am in awe of the relationship between Ron and Hermione as well. In the first book, she teaches him how to swish and flick, the wizard way. In the last book, he teaches her how to swish and flick with a stone, the muggle way. Not bad, Ron and Hermione.

One more great connection: the Black family has Sirius who betrays the family to join the light side. Meanwhile, the Weasley family has Percy who wants to be part of the treacherous ministry. Again, Kreacher and Dobby also switch roles. Dobby, coming from a “dark” family, helps Harry to avoid his death. Kreacher, also working for a seemingly evil wizarding family, gives him information and helps him in the final books.

Again, Harry and Ginny’s relationship completes the circle. Harry, with his messy hair, is often told he looks just like his father. He plays Quidditch. He is not very good at school. Yet, Ginny, with her read hair, is similar to Lily. Both are presented as unique. For the Weasleys, Ginny is the only girl out of their children. For Lily, she is the only witch in the family.

Last but not least, there is the element of betrayal. The Order of the Phoenix is betrayed by Mundungus. By the same token, the Marauders are betrayed by Peter Pettigrew.

Symmetry ties the story together, and brings a sense of conclusion and finality to the stories. It makes events and characters more than their own selves, but as elements of a grander story. Harry Potter mirrors the same relationships and connections from the first book to the last.

Your Turn:

What is your favorite story from your childhood? Why do you like it? Share in the comments!

For More:

“Harry Potter is Symmetrical” 

–Symmetry in Harry Potter

 

 

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Anl. Women in Sherlock’s World

I love the way women are portrayed in BBC’s Sherlock. It is refreshing to see women presented as equals, worthy of the men in the story. In particular: Molly Hooper, Irene Adler, and Mary Watson are wonderful women who are strong and clever. They play major roles in the story. 

Mrs. Hudson

Before I begin, I obviously have to talk about Mrs. Hudson. Without her, Sherlock says, “England would fall.” While she is often dismissed, however, she still manages to be central to the story. For instance, she embodies the show’s audience through her assumptions about John and Sherlock’s relationship. Often, she is surprised by John’s attempts at finding a girlfriend.  She provides commentary on Sherlock’s mess. Yes, she is sometimes comic relief. But, she is also the voice of common sense.

Molly Hooper

Molly is interested in Sherlock romantically at first, and her attempts are thwarted. She comments on his actions, seeing right through his ways of hiding his impending death. She whispers, “You look sad when you think he can’t see you.”

Sure, Sherlock thinks she can replace John. But, she is surprises the audience often. In the Abominable Bride, she is part of the revolutionary body of women. Even in the series itself, Molly is powerful enough to introduce Jim Moriarty to Sherlock.

She is crucial. She helps Sherlock so much, just to help humanize him, so much that she helps make him “dead” and then “alive.” He trusts her with his secrets–from his awareness of the necessity of his death, to the way he is hidden from John and everyone who knew him.

Irene Adler

Adler is the dominatrix who brought England to its knees. She is “The Woman.” She is presented as everything Sherlock is unaware of: sexuality and manipulation of people’s insecurities. She flirts with Sherlock openly, discomforting him with her recorded moans on the phone as text alerts.

I think more importantly, like Hooper, Adler presents a powerful connection to Sherlock’s humanity. She makes him care about her through their dialogue and connection over intellect. Unlike Molly, Irene successfully makes Sherlock uncomfortable. She threatens Mycroft, who is presented as the “clever one” (in series 3 and in the Christmas special). The Ice Man and the Virgin are manipulated by her and she almost wins. Her emotions, like Molly’s, give her away, but she is still respected and protected by Sherlock as seen in series 2.

Mary Watson

What the creators of the show have done with Mary’s character is also very inspiring. It’s awesome to see her have her own back-story, where she is a “very bad girl.” She is a capable and strong woman, who confuses Sherlock throughout their encounters at first.

He doesn’t know what to make of her, just like Irene and Molly. All he knows is that something is unsettling about her. But, that’s more intuition than cleverness. She is strong enough to shoot him, to spy on him, to hack into Mycroft’s carefully gated cyber world.

“I’m taking Mary home,” John says in the Christmas special, and then, “Mary’s taking me home,” which is rewarded with a “Better” from Mary.  She stands out as a woman who is able to help John “come around” when he is mad at Sherlock for his faked death (and she succeeds).

Like the other women in the series, she is often the voice of reason while Sherlock and John bicker. Do they need her? Yes! A resounding yes over and over.  She is a clever woman, anchoring John, who, in turn, anchors Sherlock.

What’s not to like?

Your turn:

Have you seen Sherlock? Who are your favorite characters on the show? Why do you like them?

I watched The Force Awakens and I have been a fan ever since that late
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For whatever reason, I was always under the impression that the Pirates of the Caribbean

Anl. Disability in Me Before You

When I first heard of Me Before You, I was drawn to the cast. Emilia Clarke is adorable as Louisa. Sam Claflin is witty as Will. I didn’t realize how much it would irk me as a disabled person. Before I begin, here’s a summary of the story. Louisa works as Will’s care-giver after an accident leaves him quadriplegic. They fall in love over the course of six months. She discovers that Will had planned an assisted suicide. He’d set up his will and planned his death.

Focus:


The first flaw in the narrative lies in the focus. I wish we’d gotten the story from Will’s point of view. It would have been incredible to see more of a disabled person’s perspective. Will speaking about his own struggles. Or, maybe he could have been showing his pain and frustrations. It is important to shed light on the life of quadriplegics and other disabled people.

 

Helplessness: 

 

 

Louisa is presented as this cheery happy person. The brunette girl tries to “save” Will’s life with her chattiness. This disabled man is presented as a damsel in distress. But, he is not this. Moreover, he has all the reasons to be angry.  The movie touches on this aspect of disability subtly. Being diagnosed with an incurable illness is hard. Will loses so much more than his health. He can’t work the same way. Nor can he maintain physical intimacy with people. He cannot go on adventures the way he was used to.

Misrepresentation: 

 

Mental illnesses are misrepresented in this story as final unmoving things that cannot be treated. Will’s inability to see joy in his life is never addressed or confronted. Instead, Louisa distracts him from facing the real causes of his pain. Counseling would have helped. Antidepressants could have helped.

The problem is that the film presents disability as unbearably frustrating and that death is the only option to have. It’s not. Louisa shouldn’t be represented as the only one who researches activities for quadriplegics. It would have been great to see Will take control of his life in ways before deciding on death. I am not saying that death isn’t a valid option. That’s fine and understandable. However, Will isn’t shown as someone who had tried to live and cope with his new life.

It’s just odd to see Will’s message to live boldly. Yet he does not follow suit. He could’ve been presented as able to live happily as a disabled man.

Overall, the story of Me Before You presents a flawed portrayal of disability. It has some beautiful moments. I laughed a lot watching this film. I enjoyed it, for the most part. The more I watch it, the more I fall in love with it. My heart goes out to Will and Lou. They truly are memorable characters. It is still a pleasure to have known these people. I am glad I got to see it.

Your Turn:

What is your favorite movie with good representations of diversity and disability? Why do you like this adaptation? Share in the comments!

For More:

“Me Before You” Review from Paraplegic Amy
“Me Before You” Review and Ableism Discussion

While it is endearing,  My Big Fat Greek Wedding relies on stereotypes to communicate the difference
When I approached Since You've Been Gone, I slacked and hesitated. Then, one night, I
In order to minimize the effects of collision the ground, it is helpful to try

Anl. Cultural Stereotypes in My Big Fat Greek Wedding

While it is endearing,  My Big Fat Greek Wedding relies on stereotypes to communicate the difference between Caucasians and people of color. It is refreshing to see a family like Toula’s. However, I wonder about the portrayal’s accuracy. As a woman of color, I don’t think the society presented is realistic.
 It would have been more convincing to have different kinds of people of color. Maybe some Greeks are not meat eaters  Or, maybe some Greeks don’t over-share. Yes, there are stark differences between cultures, but not everyone within a culture is identical to others in that community. In a way, it is a gloss over all people of color as the “same.” It’s not as complex as I would have liked it to be as a story.
Conversation Starter 

It is still incredible to watch a story with so much diversity and culture. It’s rare to hear the perspective of people of color, without trivializing our views and dismissing them. This is a good start. The film comes from a well-meaning place. It is about acceptance of one’s background, culture, religion, and family. It is about familial love. I enjoy watching Toula get to accept her family and be proud of them. I know for me, it is challenging to be okay with how different we are as people of color.

Intergenerational Cultural Clash 

The cultural norms I grew up with are different from that of my parents, too, and I think this is partially what Toula experiences in both films. She is not like her sister: perfectly Greek. She’s a combination of Greek and American. So, she doesn’t quite fit into the mold of the perfect Greek girl or the perfect American girl either. I can relate to this a lot, because I grew up as a mix between middle eastern culture and American culture. And, even then, I come from a displaced family; wars tore through the routine, which is something touched upon through the character of Mana Ya-ya who is confused by her new surroundings.

Self Actualization: 

Another neat thing to see is Toula’s  growth as a person, as a girlfriend, a wife, and mother. She finds herself in the first and second film. Women are often told that they need to be “pretty” to “get a man.” It is nice to see a story where the characters are focused on more than just marriage. Toula goes to college, the first in her family, and tries to work somewhere other than the family’s restaurant. It’s a reasonable portrayal of the difficulties women of color face when it comes to career-related ambition.

Gender Realization: 

The challenges of gender relations is also refreshing. I like that the women are not presented as quiet shy “things” to be had. They are headstrong sometimes, they are confident and passionate. They’re not overly sensationalized as this exotic different “other,” a refreshing take on people of color for sure. I feel so happy to see such a presentation of a culture so close to my own.

Overall: 

It definitely sends good messages to people balancing different cultures. They don’t have to be at war; they can coexist in the way a person carries his or herself. She is a proud Greek American and this portrayal of a happy, proud and strong Greek American family certainly opened my mind to the idea of being okay with myself as an Arab American and I am grateful for these movies and Nia as a writer because she presents a different voice in a mostly white narrative regarding women (which is often also told by men, unfortunately).

 

When I approached Since You've Been Gone, I slacked and hesitated. Then, one night, I
In order to minimize the effects of collision the ground, it is helpful to try
Part of having an online presence is this weird isolation from real life, whatever that

Anl. Life Lessons In Star Wars

I watched The Force Awakens and I have been a fan ever since that late December of 2015. Afterwards, I have managed to acquire the original trilogy and the newest film on DVD and have been watching the daylights out of them.
Mental Power

What I truly love about these films is the lessons they posit, and the wonderful characters who are exposed to such pressures that push them to learn or at least understand difficult ideas. One of the most interesting lessons in Star Wars has to do with developing an understanding of one’s mental and emotional strength. The Force is not a literal blunt physical strength. It is invisible and yet very powerful. Darth Vader is seen choking people with the Force. Kylo Ren pauses a blaster in midair with ease by the Force.

But, as Han Solo puts in the original trilogy, the Force is part of an old religion and is all woo woo. Yet, by The Force Awakens, he openly admits otherwise: that it is all real. The Force is not too far from the imagination; it is a metaphor for spiritual and overall mental strength. It can lead to great strength, but one must train to be mindful and meditative. In essence, this is what Luke Skywalker and Rey learn eventually. They learn to still their minds in moments of fear and stress, and they concentrate.

Here and Now

In other words, the lesson is to stay present in the here and now.

Yoda teaches this lesson in the original trilogy: anger leads to hate and hate leads to destruction. Ultimately, he depicts various wisdoms: first, looks can be deceiving. Rey was shown as a scavenger who is inexperienced when it comes to the Force. Somehow, her awakening is registered on Kylo Ren and Snoke’s radar. She is an equal if not a superior Force user to Kylo, a man behind the terror across the galaxy. The same can be said about Kylo Ren, who is presented as a threat to the universe and yet, when Rey sees him without his mask, she finds him sympathetic and “sensitive.” This is very important to note because Rey’s initial assumption is that he’s just a “creature in a mask.”

 

Identity and Independence

Identity and independence are also themes in the Star Wars stories. We see it on both sides: Rey breaks free from Jakku scavenger life to become a Force user. Luke becomes a Jedi master after wanting to be a simple pilot with the resistance. Kylo Ren wants to achieve what his Darth Vader failed to do, and he rebels against his family in doing so. Finn was a nameless stormtrooper and yet Poe gives him a name, an identity, and they together accomplish missions for the resistance.

Love

The biggest weapon to be used in Star Wars worlds is love. It is Anakin’s love for his children that ultimately gets rid of the Emperor. Luke’s love for Leia drives him to save her in the first place (and even later on, he loves her and Han enough to save them from Jabba the Hutt). Compassion is a driving force (no pun intended) in these movies. Snoke accuses Kylo Ren of being too kind to Rey because he can relate to her. Why is this a negative thing? Well, it’s mostly a “light side” trait. Luke understands his father and is compassionate enough to believe the best in him is yet to come, which turns out to be the key to Darth Vader’s demise and the triumph of Anakin Skywalker (who knows what will happen to Ben Solo. I choose to believe that the best of him is yet to come. But, even if that’s not the case, I find his struggle so, so meaningful and powerful).

Friendship is another strength in these movies. There are epic relationships, iconic, throughout Star Wars. The companionship of cute droids, nonhuman beings, and even humans make the main characters have lots to lose. The stakes are higher than ever. R2D2, C3PO, and even BB8, they are all endearing that I wonder if there is a lesson there, too. After all, the most enduring friendship in the series is that between a human and a wookie. Always, this universe was able to bring to life wonderful characters and break down barriers in its vastness. In the new installments, we see female stormtroopers, black stormtroopers, female force users, and young people part of both sides. I cannot wait to learn what else these films have to offer.

For More:

Lessons from Jedi Master Yoda 
Star Wars Is Not About Good and Evil 
What Star Wars Can Teach Us 

Community is a show that is amusing, sure, but it is also about growth and development.
For whatever reason, I was always under the impression that the Pirates of the Caribbean
Set in 1960, the film opens with the death of Ellie's mother as she prepares

Anl. Community and Growth

communitygrowinapairCommunity is a show that is amusing, sure, but it is also about growth and development. All the characters grow up considerably over the course of six seasons (and a movie?). In particular, characters: Jeff, Britta, Troy, Abed, and Annie develop a lot throughout the series. They grow into their own identities. It’s not always perfect.
Jeff Winger
Jeff doesn’t quite go down the path we are told to expect of him. He openly admits that he texts all the time yet no one is on the other end. He longs for his father’s attention. He was bullied by Shirley when she was young. He is definitely not the cool and collected person we assume he’d be. He is competitive in the paint-ball matches. He fully embraces Abed’s movies and dialogues.

For his future, he defies what  he’d planned for himself. He wanted to get his old job back, but he’d changed too much. He’s unable to sustain the lifestyle he’d eagerly planned.

When he graduates college and gets his own office, his only case is related to Greendale. The school becomes the center of his world and he can’t get away. It is a community he cannot shake off. He participates in charades within the show. He joins Troy and Abed’s show, their dances, Glee club, the Save Greendale Committee.

Britta Perry 

Britta Perry starts out as a serious cynic. She is not impressed with the government, or politics, or Jeff. Out of everyone in the group, she is the least interested in connecting with Jeff because she knows that he sees her as a sexual conquest and nothing more. As the show develops, Britta becomes almost a caricature of her old self. Her lifestyle is held together by a facade as her parents are helping her behind her own back for the duration of the show.

She pretends to be a hipster out of choice. For example, she has CD player and knock-off phones. However, the audience learns that she can’t afford to be “cool” (whatever that means). This is presented as an-okay thing to be. It is a relief because, in college, there’s a pressure to conform to the rules of coolness.

Troy Barnes

 

He starts off as a failed high school football boy. Troy dons his high school jersey proud. Pierce tells him to lose the jacket. Annie reminds him that he’s not in high school any more. She tells him he’s not “prom king.” Jeff tells him that he’s deciding to keep it or lose it for other people. In conclusion: that’s not a way to live.

This football wonder then becomes attached to Abed. They go on adventures and do things together as much as possible. He goes from being a simple jock to a repairman prodigy. If you thought you saw this coming, remember that he becomes a young millionaire.

Abed Nadir

Speaking of splitting the unlikely duo, Abed also changes a lot and finds himself throughout the show. He goes from being an isolated person to being part of a pair (whether it’s with Troy, Annie, Jeff, or Frankie). Quite the eccentric, he adjusts to the “real world” as much as he can: by infusing it with his interests in film. He often refers to his friends as characters, often reenacts shows and movies, comments on themes in Community. He goes from being the most obscure and seemingly socially awkward part of the group, to perhaps one of its most promising participants. He is the voice of reason, the meta narrator, and he is in fact what brought the group together. He assembled it. He takes in Frankie.

Annie Edison

She goes from being a young girl to an adult. What comes to mind is her appearance. She started out wearing cute dresses and cardigans. Her hair up and pinned, and by the end of the series, her hair down and relaxed, her clothes casual and less rehearsed. She openly tells Jeff to kiss her, not for her sake, but for his. And, Annie is in charge of her life as she interns for the FBI.

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For More:

–Community Wiki 

–Why Community was Canceled 

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