Dissertation Title:

I Am My Father: Fathers, Sons, Star Wars in Depth Psychological Analysis


Robert Rivera

Date, Time & Place:

April 1, 2021 at 4:00 pm


The purpose of this phenomenological study is to investigate the original Star Wars trilogy (Kazanjian, 1983; Kurtz, 1977, 1980) as a modern-day fairy tale that meaningfully speaks to contemporary audiences about psychological issues. Throughout the trilogy, a powerful narrative thread between father and son is the continual physical and psychological conflict in which they exactly mirror each other: fear, anger, and each a loss of the right hand by the other, symbolizing his means of power and authority. Near the end of the trilogy, however, love and compassion overcome hostility and enmity. The overall aim of this study is to provide a depth psychological interpretation of that reconciliation and investigate its relevance to men who watched the films when they were originally released in theaters as sons, then again as fathers of sons. Open-ended questions were presented to collect data in order to detail the participants’ general situated structures. The findings were as follows. First, they had a fondness for the original Star Wars trilogy as a child and as an adult. Second, the personal meaning of the Star Wars trilogy as a child later became a story more about fathers and sons when viewed as a father. Next, they experienced feelings of abandonment by their fathers, and they dealt with issues of their fathers’ substance abuse. Finally, they experienced confrontation with their father and reconciliation with their father.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology Psychotherapy, T, 2013
  • Chair: Dr. Elizabeth Nelson
  • Reader: Dr. Karey Pohn
  • External Reader: Dr. Maria Tatar
  • Keywords: Alchemy, Anima, Animus, Depth Psychology, Fairy Tale, Phenomenology, Redemption, Shadow, Star Wars, Underworld