The Orientalist Book of Boba Fett

Disney Plus released the first episode of its new series, The Book of Boba Fett, on December 29, 2021. In the series, the crime lord and previous bounty hunter Boba Fett take over the desert land of Tatooine and try to make a name for themselves as its new rulers. The planet of Tatooine denotes a representation of the Middle East as seen in western culture. The desert planet has cities and towns of crime, ruled by crime lords and dictators, and much of the planet is populated by the poor and lower-class laborers. The entire series plays on the stereotypes of orientalism and Middle Eastern culture. 

In his book, Orientalism, Said noted that Orientals were viewed as impossible to trust and strange by definition. One of the native species of Tatooine is the Jawas, who are strange, hooded beings that steal and raid scrap and junk from villages. These characters are developed around the theme of Orientalism and the idea of desert-men as being despicable and less human. They speak a language that the viewers of the show cannot understand, pushing the idea that they lack intelligence and human resemblance. 

In The Book of Boba Fett, the previous ruler Jabba the Hutt would be moved by servants as they carried him. In the second episode of the series, Boba Fett is offered to be transported just as his predecessor had. Boba Fett outwardly rejects this idea, criticizing it as being disrespectful and ostentatious. This scene relates to the theme of Orientalism in the show as it portrays the native ruler, Jabba the Hutt, to be cruel whereas the English-speaking new ruler, Boba Fett, is more merciful and liked. 

Goneril’s Influence on the Audience

In Shakespeare’s King Lear, the first female character to make an impression on the audience is Goneril. She impresses the audience with her superfluous words as she professes her love for her father. Using phrases such as, “A love that makes breath poor, a speech unable” (I.i.66). From the start, Goneril amazed the audience with her remarkable scope of love for her father. Fathers in the crowd are dreaming of love so remarkable. Daughters in the crowd are forced to ask themselves if they love their fathers so great. However, the play sharply shifts to prove that Goneril’s words are all but honest. This swift reveals surely takes the audience by surprise, pressing the people to question the truth of our loyalty to our blood and our elders, and our children’s loyalty to us.

As the book progresses, Goneril gains more power. As a female in power, this plot acknowledges the audience’s discomfort with women in power due to stereotypes and normality that have limited the idea of women in power. This causes the audience to view women as possible to hold positions of power, which can be difficult to believe in the era of this play. Due to that obstacle, Shakespeare wrote Goneril to be vile and sinful. Goneril said to her husband “Milk-livered man, that bear’st a cheek for blows, a head for wrongs…” (IV.ii.62-63). Goneril’s brash words give the audience a character to be against. While Goneril could have been an independent, strong-willed, and respectful Queen, the audience is influenced to view Goneril, and other powerful women, as deceptive and sinful. 

Poetic Postmodernism

Sincerity Is Scary” is a song by the Manchester-based band, The 1975, on their third studio album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships.  This song features an array of poetic devices used to propel the idea of the track. Right off the bat we see alliteration in the title.

The song encaptures a blatant truth of human interaction. Due to the fear of emotional vulnerability, communication problems arise that can interfere with intimacy and connection. Singer and lyrist Matty Healy and The 1975 uses self-awareness and self-reflection to open up about his experiences and struggles of connecting in the postmodern world. For most of the song, Healy seems to be addressing society as a whole, exposing the universal lack of emotion often portrayed in place of true connection. When it comes to the chorus, Healy targets his lyrics toward his lover and the personal struggles he finds in love and connection. An overarching theme depicted in this song and throughout much of Healy’s lyrics across his releases is the idea of postmodernism, a movement characterized by skepticism and irony. See below for my take on postmodernism.

“You lack substance when you say something like, ‘Oh, what a shame’ / It’s just a self-referential way that stops you having to be human”

The 1975 uses alliteration (substance, say, something, shame / having, human) to emphasize their message. Phrases like “Oh, what a shame” are often used ironically or sarcastically. Even when used genuinely, this phrase can sound dismissive of one’s issues. The 1975 claims that when you take sarcasm too far, it takes away true human emotions. After repeating the ‘s’ sound throughout the line, the switch to ‘having to be human’ makes these words stand out reader because these words are pronounced slightly longer than the quick ‘s’ sound.

“And why would you believe you could control how you’re perceived when at your best you’re intermediately versed in your own feelings?”

The 1975 rhymes throughout the lyric (believe, perceive, intermediately, feeling) in an ordered form, giving structure to the song and making it easier for the reader to fully hear and feel the message. A critical part of postmodernism revolves around the sensitivity of one’s image. The 1975 claims that it is difficult to be yourself when you are overly sensitive to others’ opinions, since you cannot truly control them. Only if you focus on your own opinion, a form of self-love, can you be and love yourself.

“You try and mask your pain in the most postmodern way”

 In this line, The 1975 directly links their song to the concepts of postmodernism, using alliteration with pain to add power to the word postmodern.

What is postmodernism, the central theme of this song? – Here is my explanation:

Modernism arose in the early 1900s, when technology and scientific discoveries advanced and religious devotion was seen as less important. Modernism was the idea that humanity was on the right track, following science and finding out the best ways to live. Then came the Vietnam War, the two World Wars, and decades of racism and sexism and horrid acts. This set the stage for postmodernism, the concept that no one really knows what is true or right except with ourselves, leading to self-awareness. However, since one could never know what is right, there was lack of trust with one another and a general disconnection between individuals as people avoided disagreement.

How Does One Get Used to Violence?

In Exit West by Moshin Hamid, lovers Nadia and Saeed live in an unnamed city that is being overtaken by militants. Throughout the chapters of the book, the narrator switches between Nadia’s perspective and Saeed’s perspective. There is constant violence and threats in their city, and the way the characters describe this violence speaks to how a war environment impacts them.

As Saeed sits with his family on their balcony, observing the stars, fighting breaks out in the distance. Hamid writes, “… Saeed’s family heard the sound of automatic gunfire, flat cracks that were not loud and yet carried to them cleanly. They sat a little longer” (16). The description of the scene provides insight into the lives of those who live in places of war. Saeed and his family are familiar enough with gunfire know it is automatic gunfire, and the description of its clean noise infers that they are aware that the shots are being fired not too far away. Though they know it is automatic gunfire, that they violence is taking place near to their home, they do not act startled. How can one hear gunfire, a threat to ones life and safety, and not immediately take shelter? As someone who has never been in a place of war, I cannot imagine how steeled one’s emotions and reactions must be to stay seated outside. How does one get used to violence? How does this living environment change other aspects of one’s thinking, such as other emotions like empathy or confidence?

Should We All Prepare To Be Guilty?

In The Stranger, a novel written by French author Albert Camus and translated by Matthew Ward, the main character is on trial for the murder of an Arab by multiple gunshot wounds. This character, Meursault, is ultimately found guilty, which is no surprise to him as he confirms the accounts of his murder. However, the verdict of the death penalty comes to him with complete shock, shaking him more than the murder itself. As he waits in his cell for his death, he finally begins to feel intense emotions that are absent in the rest of his narration. Though one would expect a dead man’s emotions to be that of remorse, sorrow, or fear, Meursault’s first intense emotion is regret over having not prepared for this situation.

“Then I blame myself every time for not having paid enough attention to accounts of executions. A man should always take an interest in those things. You never know what might happen.”

(Camus, 108).

This line provides inquiry to the question: Should we all prepare to be guilty? No ordinary person would live their life expecting to find themselves in a trial of this sort. Clearly, Meursault did not either. But he claims a valid point, ” You never know what might happen”. People are caught up in unlucky situations all the time. To be clear, I do not intend to say that committing murder is an unlikely situation. Is it true that an ordinary person could be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and commit an offense? If one were to be on trial, how would preparation for that moment really change one’s emotions? Meursault seems to think preparing for being guilty would be benefited him, but then again, Meursault does not seem to have emotional reactions that are entirely aligned with those of any ordinary person.

Shadeless Foreshadowing: The Sun

The Stranger, a novel by Albert Camus, writes about the life of Meursault from his own perspective. The book is written in first person, giving readers a direct path into the eyes and thoughts of Meursault. It is very interesting to find what Meursault notes. Oftentimes, Meursault will disregard typically emotional events, like the loss of his mother or animal abuse. However, he always seems to note the weather and the sun. This is no coincidence in the writing.

It appears as though the warm colors of the sun indicate moments of suffering or a bad turn of events. When Meursault takes notice of the damped mood of people walking home and the crying of children, Camus makes note that “The sky changed again. Above the rooftops the sky had taken a reddish glow…” (23). Warm, normally calming colors seem to be negative in Meursault’s life. Even more blatantly obvious is the color of the sky during his encounter with the Arabs on the beach. Just prior to the release of the bullet from Meursault’s gun, the novel states that “There was the same dazzling red glare” that was overhead during their first encounter with the Arabs (57). The sun clearly demonstrates insight into the coming of events in the book. As we continue to read The Stranger, it is keen to make note of how the weather plays a role in Meursault’s life.