Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Amity Reading

Second Advisor

Dr. Smita Rahman

Third Advisor

Dr. Brandon Hawk


This thesis is separated into three sections. Section I: “Resisting Bloodlines, Destinies, and Traditions” examines Luke Skywalker and Rey Skywalker’s respective character arcs in regards to their familial lineages through psychoanalytical and deconstructive frameworks; Section II: “Resisting Gender Norms and Expectations” outlines the depictions of the most prominent women in Star Wars films: Leia Organa, Jyn Erso, Padmé Amidala, and Rey Skywalker; an additional chapter interrogates the sequel trilogy villain Kylo Ren through a feminist lens; the third and final section, “Resisting Binaries and Absolutes,” again employs deconstructivism and poststructuralism to explore the utility of masks and helmets and their contributions to characters’ behavioral performances, the toxicity of the films’ enduring good-evil binary. My conclusion explores Luke Skywalker’s character arc as representative of the Star Wars films’ ubiquitous legacy of failure in order to explore the implications of considering the collapsing binaries that we find throughout the Star Wars franchise, and expanding that consideration to the binaries in our own world.