A Rey of Hope: Feminism, Symbolism & Hidden Gems in Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Valerie Estelle Frankel
Published: January 5th, 2016 by LitCrit Press
Genres: Nonfiction, essays, feminism, media analysis
Trigger Warnings: none, phew
Pages: 98 pgs.
***I received a copy of this book free from the author in exchange for my honest review.***
The new Star Wars: The Force Awakens offers a world of diversity – its heroes span the races and genders. Yet under this, there’s much to explore – Rey is a butt-kicking heroine, but some might say she’s so overpowered she has no challenges left. Others might observe that from her clothes and skills to her friends and enemies, she’s excelling more at the hero’s journey than the heroine’s. Does Finn undergo the classic hero’s journey, or is his too subverted? There are fascinating symbols as well, as Kylo Ren’s lightsaber is as unstable as he is, while perception and sight dominate the story arc. From themes to novels and comics, this book explores the hidden depths of the series, revealing them for fans to enjoy. An unauthorized guide.
One of many pop culture analyses by Valerie Estelle Frankel, A Rey of Hope serves to provide a little bit more insight behind the character development and motivations of Star Wars’ newest installment to the main story line. In this, readers are presented with many short essays following a wide range of topics surrounding the saga’s break-out heroine, Rey.
These essays, however brief, present varying degrees of depth: the standard surface good vs. evil arguments are made, as well as more substantive arguments of whether or not Rey herself is a Mary-Sue. It’s basically like reading someone’s extra credit essays for their Feminism and Pop Culture class.
While some of these essays tend to get repetitive and reference the same pieces of the movie over and over again, it’s important to remember that we have limited source material surrounding Rey at this point: the movie, a few novels, a few comics. I don’t think Frankel set out to become the next major pop culture analyst, but it certainly was a fun time to revisit this universe and these characters with which I’m quickly falling in love.
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