This essay is from Austin Johnson
Published on November 21, 2002
Frodo and the Force:
A Comparison of Modern Epic Stories
Obi-Wan Kenobi, Post-Modern Guru
Why is this the case? It is possible that it has something to do with the shift of our society from a Modern to Post-Modern viewpoint. To a Post-Modernist, all truth is subjective. Everything depends, as Obi-Wan Kenobi puts it, on "a certain point of view." What is right for one person may not necessarily be what is right for the next. The more traditional viewpoint states that somewhere there exists an Absolute Truth.
Now, one may ask what any of this has to do with Luke Skywalker, the Force, and paladins. In traditional medieval literature, magic is primarily an evil thing. There are a few exceptions. Gandalf is able to tap into mystical powers, but that is a result of the fact that he is an angelic being. Merlin is a wizard, but that is only because he is half-spirit. He lives backwards in time. Much of the time his magic is actually an inconvenience to him. His foreknowledge of events costs him his memory, which leads to his capture, and ultimately, Arthur's demise.
Post-Modernism, however, enables magic to become nothing more than a thing. It is no longer any more evil than a doorknob. Since there is no absolute truth, right, or wrong, nothing can be intrinsically evil, not even magic. This enables Luke Skywalker to use magic, provided he uses it for good.