Symbolic Interactionism and The Force Awakens

My paper revolves around Herbert Blumer’s Symbolic Interactionism theory. I mostly focused on Blumer’s four main principles of social interaction. In my paper, I explored the interactions between the characters in the film and how they gave their own individual meaning to the interactions they experienced and each other.

Annie Leibovitz- STAR CROSSED

I started off the paper by writing about Blumer’s definition of Symbolic Interactionism. I dove into the symbolism given to the lightsabers in The Force Awakens. One of the symbols given to the lightsaber by society is the understanding of power and honor in those who are able to wield the weapon. 

Orlik’s archetypes within The Force Awakens were talked about. I spoke of Kylo and Rey’s archetype and how they reacted towards one another. Rey is the representation of the rebel character while Kylo represents both the Byronic hero and the villain. 

The main focus of my paper was Herbert Blumer’s four main principles of social interaction. The first principle is about individuals acting accordingly to the meaning they have placed on objects. For this, I spoke on Kylo Ren and his meaning on the “object” of family. Kylo sees his family as weak and therefore they have a lesser value in his life. 

The third main principle of Blumers social interaction is about how an individual’s meanings originate from interactions with other individuals and with society. I brought up a couple of examples for this principle since there were so many in the film. The main characters this principle is seen in are Kylo and Rey. Rey starts off seeing the father killing character J.J Abrams created; the same character who tried to kill her on multiple occasions. Rey somehow managed to beat Kylo, even though he was supposed to be seen as more powerful than her. She starts to empathize with Kylo the more interactions she has with him and tries to get him to abandon the dark path.  

The last principle is meanings an individual has created and recreated through interactions. Kylo’s view on Rey constantly changes. He starts off curious about her and through their interactions he falls in love with his enemy. Kylo gives his life up for Rey. 

Screen Rant, 2017

The second main principle involves the interactions that happen in a social setting where people, objects or situations are given meaning based on an individual’s portrayal of them. Throughout The Force Awakens we, as viewers, mostly follow Rey’s point of view and based our own meaning to the situation based purely on how she reacts. Through her perspective, the viewer is able to see interactions through her subjective meaning if they haven’t already formed their own. An example not through Rey’s perspective is with Finn and Poe, when Finn rescues Poe from the First order. They were both in a setting they didn’t want to be in and Finn used his  judgment on Poe and decided he was a person he could save; even if it went against everything he was supposed to stand for. 

Disney Fandom.com

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