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Star Wars' Place in the History of Chiastic Literature

Discussion in 'General Movie Discussion' started by Jayson, Jun 6, 2019.

  1. Jayson

    Jayson Rebel Official

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    INTRODUCTION
    The Star Wars Saga (herein referring to the so named, "Skywalker Saga", which spans Episodes 1-9) is a fascinating film series as it stands alone in being capable of provoking discussion of textual anthropology while at the same time maintaining a pop-culture level status that has absolutely saturated western society.
    I can think of no other pop-culture status film which does this.

    So I decided that we, as fans of this great series, should take a moment and discuss the narrative history that Star Wars is related to and look at understanding that narrative form a bit more than a surface layer of understanding it as "Star Wars Poetry".

    As such, I’m going to survey the narrative form technically named the Chiastic Narrative form, and then open it up for discussion, questions, and answers.

    The motivation that I have is to hopefully help some folks understand the narrative tradition a bit more, because it’s a fascinating one, and in turn, hopefully bring a little extra something to their appreciation of Star Wars.

    DEFINITION
    Most Star Wars fans, at this point, are familiar with the chiastic narrative form, though they may not be familiar with that term. They may know it by the other more common terms that float around the fanbase media: ring theory, or "Star Wars poetry".

    However they know of it, it’s likely that they do to some basic level. What that exactly means, and where it comes from are probably less likely known in any given detail beyond the most basic of concepts (e.g. something mirrors something from before).

    So let me start with defining what exactly this thing is with a bit of technical break down.

    Chiasmus is the proper term. It refers to a literary (or rhetorical) form of writing wherein the structure of the text is repeated in reverse order. It also applies to a story’s overall structure as well.

    Chiastic is the adjective form and refers to something having or denoting an applicable structure.

    Chiasm(s) (in this context) typically refers to an instance of chiastic structure.

    The word has a simple origin. It refers to the Greek letter Chi (which is an X), and refers to crossing or connecting in a symmetrical relationship (like the letter X does).

    In English, the obvious relationship is a bit obscured since we don’t make the "K" sound much with the letter X and instead refer to either "Ch" or "K" for that purpose.
    This is more visible in the Greek: χιασμός.

    TYPES
    Now that we have a basic working definition, let’s examine the types of chiasm that exist.

    There are two basic forms of chiasm:
    1. Mechanical: purely grammatical
    2. Structural: thematic inversion and balance, and climactic centrality

    The mechanical chiasm is much more common in appearance and doesn’t even have to be that in depth.
    The most famous of this mechanical variety is the quote from J.F. Kennedy, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

    The structural chiasm is less frequent, and also much more complicated to both create and to notice.
    The structural form comes in a wide variety in scope, and style.

    Some structural forms may only be a specific section of a text which the author wanted to highlight for some special reason by employing the chiastic form. Others may be of much broader scope and encompass the narrative plot points. Further, and more grand enterprises of work can take to containing chiastic structure in the plot points, and within scenes themselves. And finally, the most layered form includes the plot point, scenes, as well as the grammatical phrases.

    This last form is almost non-existent in pure form due to the complexity and rigidness that it requires. Most frequently, specific phrases in scenes are chiastic relatives of other phrases in related scenes.

    We’ll take a look at both of these forms in more detail later, but first, let’s do a bit of a round-robin survey of history as to why people wrote this way to begin with.

    THE MOTIVATION FOR THE CHIASTIC NARRATIVE
    Chiastic writing is very old. It stretches back to the Bronze Age when writing was just getting its legs going, and in many ways, the Bronze Age can be seen as the age when writing was at its peak performance. This seems a bit odd considering that we tend to think of our modern era as the prophetic permutation of the written language, but most of what we write is pragmatic and straight forward.

    During the Bronze Age, what we see is an exploration of what can be done with writing. This makes good sense because when a new technological advancement happens, humanity tends to dive into it fully and explore the boundaries of that new method of doing things. When electricity was harnessed into its infantile fashion, it rapidly took root and was explored in more dynamic ways than we readily bother tinkering around with today. We have long since refined our knowledge of electricity, found its applicable uses, appreciated forms, and now spend our time mostly using it as a means to an end as needed.

    The same relationship can be said of writing, and the Bronze Age was effectively analogous to the electrical 17th to 19th centuries when it came to writing. This is the root of why the chiastic form shows up in ancient texts much more so than later textual traditions, and especially modern traditions.

    Now, there’s basically two reasons for the chiastic form in literary history. To make something easier to remember, and to denote that something should be paid attention to.
    Both are essentially the same reason: to mark something as important.

    Just as the electrochemical boom of the 17th to 19th centuries explored a wide variety of combinations of different materials to discover new things, the Bronze Age was doing the same thing with text. Shuffling it around in a variety of patterns to see what kind of designs could be accomplished.

    Again, this shouldn’t be all too terribly surprising. We see the same behavior evident in early visual art. As soon as the artistic technical capability reaches a point where it’s easier to make patterned designs, there’s an explosion in a culture of interconnected geometrical patterns of a wide variety. They tend to follow a certain conceptual form within each culture, such that we can readily identify the difference between ancient Arabic art and Celtic art, but all presented the same behavior in exploration with visual art and its patterns.

    Pattern seeking, in general, is a rather prominent human behavior. We’re hard wired to look for patterns. Much of our early culture was interested in natural patterns and attempting to discern them, so it is likely unsurprising that we should see the same interest in patterns show up in the creative expression of our history.

    Chiasmus is then yet one more form of this pattern behavioral history. What’s somewhat interesting is that it links almost directly to the subsequent interest in hidden messages and codes that became a prevalent obsession of western culture dominantly through the medieval ages, and really began during the latter centuries of Rome’s dominance. Early Christianity, specifically, is rather dominated by an interest and fascination with mysticism and hidden codes. It’s littered all throughout its early artwork, even well before the founding of the Orthodox culture. This is worth note as an expression because previous cultural expressions religiously don’t readily contain secretive or exclusive symbolism quite so prominently.

    While an examination of these other behaviors of pattern expression is interesting, we’ll just stop there and leave it at the point that humans love their patterns and really slather it onto things that are considered important, and instead, we’ll refocus back to the motivation and history of the chiastic tradition.

    Now, the bulk of the chiastic traditions essentially spanned from texts as old as the Akkadian period (18th century BCE), all the way up through the rise of the Orthodox Christianity (approximately the 4th and 5th centuries CE), though it dominantly dies off around this latter period.

    The Akkadian tends to be among simpler chiastic forms, as well as more frequently not as well formed or incomplete, and that’s likely due to the idea being relatively new.
    As we moved into the Ugaritic textual period, it began to become more complex and more commonly formed.

    Each era and culture added its own complexity into their textual traditions.
    By the time we reach to the Hebraic 8th through 5th century BCE (where the bulk of their textual tradition arises archeologically), the form is rather far more complex and now can encompass entire story structures, specific scenes, and grammatical phrasing all at the same time.

    Homer, as a representative of great Greek literature, had accomplished chiastic structure with his plots and structure, but he didn’t tie in all three possible layers simultaneously. The Hebrew texts of the later period (as opposed to the texts of the earlier Kingdom of Israel, which is a different cultural tradition than the Kingdom of Judah; the survivor of the two was Judah, not Israel, so we lost almost all of the textual tradition of Israel) seem to do what humans do best creatively; survey the creative landscape and then attempt to one-up the predecessors.

    I would argue that in this endeavor, they very likely have accomplished that goal. Unfortunately, I don’t think the world at large readily is able to witness the accomplishment as easily as witnessing the great accomplishments of Islamic architectural artistry. The latter can be observed without any education and at least one working eyeball. This cannot be stated for the former. This exclusivity also happens to have made the chiastic tradition seem secretive and elite in some instances.

    Most great marvelous booms of society happen when someone new takes over an area and aims to put their stamp on things, and invigorate the region with passion and to be seen as great by their societal peers. The great Hebraic expression of chiastic art in their text is no exception. The 5th century BCE was when the Hebrew peoples were returned in an official tolerance to Judah, though this time as a province of the Persian Empire. Several of their population had spent a considerable amount of time (approximately 600 BCE to 540 CE) in and around Babylon, and don't seem to have wasted any time with learning everything that they could. The reason for the switch was that the Babylonian Empire fell to the Persians just around 540 CE, so a new administrative mind came on the scene. Once the Hebrews returned, archeologically speaking, there's a coinciding explosion of text. Texts which already existed, appear to have been reformed, packed up, and combined. The race was on to produce the best text possible. Much of the texts already existed before this stretching back to the 8th century BCE, but they would be treated to an improved quality of rendering and preservation during this new period.
    This period stretched through to the 2nd century BCE. So you have a period from 5th century BCE to 2nd century BCE where the written word became a sort of societal rock star of engineering.

    This was a new Judah. This wasn't the old Kingdom of Judah; this was a new and better Judah that would be grander. Houses would have paved floors, use more expensive support pillars instead of simpler wall structures. The second temple would begin its long history of construction, and endeavored to be bigger and better than before; leafed and topped with gold wherever possible.

    By the time we reach the text of Daniel in the 2nd century BCE, the art form of chiastic tradition has been developed into a mind bending tradition.

    It is for this reason that their work pops up so much in discussions on the chiastic tradition. It's somewhat akin to talking about arches and attempting to leave out mention of Rome to attempt to avoid talking of the Hebrew's when it comes to the chiastic tradition.
    We'll take a look at some of their work a bit later, but for the moment, we'll move on.

    Again, the chiastic tradition all seems to mostly die out around the turn of the millennium.
    By this point, the feverish obsession with the form dominantly dies off and in exchange, the interest is taken to symbolic patterns and codes.
    This could have, and likely did, happened for numerous reasons, but one important correlated reason that goes with the fall off of chiastic literary tradition is the dying out of new religious texts.

    Religious texts were prolific during the Bronze Age; not just with the Hebrews. Most of the religious texts we have are from this period (keeping in mind that most religious textual witnesses - that is, a piece of textual evidence - that we have are from religions that aren't even around anymore), and only a small portion which exist are from later times than this. Because of this, many of today’s surviving religious texts have at least some form of a chiastic tradition contained within them. It may not be a grand form, but it usually is present.

    Once religious texts stopped being made new, however, and the interest to create still existed, the creative and artistic fervor turned to other opportunities that weren’t considered culturally to be sealed shut. The most common of this was the rise of architectural symbolic artistry, which took to a storm during the medieval era. The cryptic history of chiastic structure was slid over to iconic mosaics and frescos. The conceptual spirit of pattern weaving represented by the letter Chi of the Greek alphabet, suddenly found itself very differently used in the Christos mythology wherein X (Chi) and P (Rho) were crossed and representative of Christos, as well as the later prolific patterning of the fingers of saints and Jesus; IC XC. Or, in English, JS CS, which are the first and last letters for Greek: JesuS ChristoS.

    This, however is about as far as we want to wonder in tangent away from the central point, and was only done for a provision of context as to where the textual tradition went, and where to look for it after the Bronze Age and within a more recent historical record where you can actually often see because not only was there an interest in symbolic encoding during the medieval era, but the chiastic tradition preserved in the religious texts meant that there was an almost inherent embedding of some chiastic patterns when the religious texts’ topics were symbolized in pictorial art. A good example of this is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last phrasing. This has produced a representation of the Greek Alpha and Omega symbols in juxtaposed positions in Christian art in various ways simply because it’s symmetrical and captures the imagination of the creative artist rather easily.

    Now, part of this newer secretive symbolism tradition is due to the seeming exclusivity and secretiveness of the chiastic form, and that isn't actually true of the chiastic tradition but it would seem that way to someone finding it after-the-fact, and part of what makes it seem so hidden is the wide variety of forms it can come in.

    So, having surveyed history well enough for the point, let's take a look at that variety a bit.

    THE VARIATIONS OF CHIASM
    This is a bit different than just noting the types of chiasmus. This is referring to the varying types of forms it can appear as a pattern; regardless if it is mechanical or structural.

    The simplest chiasm is ABBA (no, not the band, but yes…the band).
    This is a good representation of a simple reflective (or mirror) chiasm.
    When you break this out into a nested form, it’s rather easy to see the relationships.
    Code:
    A
                    B
                    B’
    A’
    
    The ‘ refers to the opposite form of a previous version.

    This form can quickly become more complex, nesting A through nth letter and then working its way back out.
    It can also be combined in a wave-like fashion of flowing in and out over a body of text.
    Code:
    A
                    B
                                    C
                                    C
                    B
                    B
                                    C
                                    C
                    B
    A
    
    And that whole set itself can also weave with other whole sections that work along the same pattern.

    Edgar Allan Poe’s work contains good examples of this weave and wave pattern; most notably the alteration and rhyming of The Raven. If you go read that with this concept in mind, you’ll find it just flooded with the pattern - mostly in terms of sound relationships, but sometimes concepts as well.

    However, it can become woven in much more complex forms than this.
    The first simple variation is to leave the middle alone: ABCB’A’

    This is often done when the central item is of specific interest because it conceptually says to focus on that thing which doesn’t repeat. Keeping in mind that everything else flips in form so that if UP was in A, then DOWN would be in A’.

    For example:
    Code:
    UP
                    LEFT
                                    HERE
                    RIGHT
    DOWN
    
    In this, it’s clear that directionally, "Here" is important, and that the supporting themes of Up, Down, Left, and Right support a focus on "Here".

    From here, it gets varyingly complex. Here are but a few variations in quick example notation.
    It helps to think of woven knots when thinking about how these patterns make sense.
    Code:
    A
                    B
                                    C
                    B’
    A’
                                    C’
    
    Code:
    A
                    B
                                    C
    Z
                    Y
                                    X
                                    A’
                    B’
    C’
                                    Z’
                    Y’
    X’
    
    Multiple themes make these even more complex. For example, let xyz represent the secondary theme, while the primary theme is represented by the ABC.
    abcxyz chiasm.png

    And it gets incredibly more complex when we start combining more advanced ideas like moving the secondary themes one conceptual slot to the right as we move through two primary theme chiasms.
    complex chiasm.png

    I don’t think it’s needed to continue into the countless variations that exist, but I think it’s safe to assume that what you can tell is that it’s not always a straight forward idea of just a simple ABBA, or a conceptual "ring".

    In fact…a moment if you will.
    A reason that I am not fond of the term, "ring pattern" or "ring theory", is that the chiastic form is not always reciprocal, nor does it return anything. It just inverts things in a complexly woven manner.
    OK, that's my moment.​

    So now that we have seen how the patterns can form, let’s look at the types of chiasms: mechanical and structural.

    MECHANICAL CHIASM
    The mechanical form, while simpler, is by no means inherently simple.
    It can entirely slip by unnoticed by anyone reading the text as unremarkable.

    Take for example the following:

    I am not afraid of the thousands of people that have set against me.
    Rise! O Jehovah! Save me, my god. Because you have smitten all of my enemies on the cheek. The teeth of the wicked you have broken.
    Of Jehovah is this salvation. On your people is your blessing! Selah.

    This is out of Psalms, and it’s easy to pass it right by, but it’s a chiasm.
    Code:
    A - I am not afraid of the thousands of people that have set against me. Rise!
                    B - O Jehovah! Save me, my god.
                                    C - Because you have smitten
                                                    D - all my enemies on the cheek.
                                                    D - The teeth of the wicked
                                    C - you have broken.
                    B - Of Jehovah is this salvation.
    A - On your people is your blessing! Selah.
    
    Another example that can pass silently by comes from an old Akkadian text, Atrahasis I, viii
    (This is the Akkadian "Noah and the Ark" story, whereby the Akkadian Atrahasis is told by the god Ea to build an ark to save himself from the coming flood that will wipe out all humanity for its evil)

    For context, Atrahasis is a simple man of lower caste (similar to Noah).

    Atrahasis received the command.
    And the elders he gathered to his gate!

    Code:
    A - Atrahasis
                    B - Received
                                    C - the command
    A’ - and the elders
                    B’ - he gathered
                                    C’ - to his gate
    
    The comparison of Command and Gate seems to not be an obvious inversion of each other, but the Akkadian word has a relation to advance and attack, as well as to send or order. In this way, the parallel of "command" and "gate" makes good sense.

    As mentioned before the Akkadian texts are some of the oldest showing this art form (this one is circa 1800 BCE, at the early days of the Bronze Age). So you can see that people had been at this for quite a while before we got to the 8th century BCE when Hebrew texts started to appear, or even Homer’s Iliad which is dated around the 12th century BCE.

    This is sufficient survey of what it looks like as a purely mechanical form, but let's now turn to the more complicated (and often debated) structural form.

    STRUCTURAL CHIASM
    Now, structural chiasm generates lots of heated debate because what is and isn't a conceptual match to another is a matter of human abstract thought; it's impossible without that capability that we have. However, that abstraction is always a bit subjective because all abstractions require associative thought, and what one person's thoughts associate with a given phenomenon of observation or thought does not inherently equal the same as another person's. The greater the cultural divide between two individuals, and the more nuanced the phenomenon, the greater the chance of different associations between the two individuals. The more fundamental, or primal, as part of the human experience the phenomenon, and the more culturally linked the two individuals are, the greater the chance of shared associations between the two individuals.

    There's also an issue of meaning and value. Sometimes individuals can disagree because one chiastic rendering causes a changing of the meaning of the text in such a way that is not aesthetically pleasing to the preexisting understanding of the text's meaning by another individual.

    If, for example, you held a text from an ancestral relative to be a great love poem to their spouse, and someone came along and pointed out that there was a chiastic structure involved which followed the ABCDC'B'A' form, and that the central line of D focuses the attention on eating chocolate, and that it appears therefore to be a love poem to chocolate and not to a person as was originally presumed…you might take issue with this interpretation.

    I note this because when I go over structural chiasms, it should be noted that I am inherently stepping into situations which are hotly debated, so it is incredibly easy to find arguments in varying manners regarding the subject.

    Rather than go into several, I'm just going to reach for the one that I think is the best example in antiquity for the weight in text. The text of Daniel.
    Daniel is hotly debated, but I think there's two propositions which when combined deliver a one-two punch that is impressive and quite possibly the most accurate take on the form.

    One comes from James M. Hamilton Jr. (theological professor), and the other doesn't come from anywhere specifically (or, has been lost to time), but is called the Double Chiasm proposal, which is based on Daniel having two languages in it: Aramaic, and Hebrew and asserts that each holds its own series.

    Hamilton isn't the first one to suggest that Daniel as a whole story is chiastic, but he has raised some eyebrows for the best laid out exposition of it. We'll call this the "Mono-Chiasm".

    This Mono-Chiasm basically goes like this:
    Code:
    A - Exile to the unclean realm of the dead
                    B - Four kingdoms followed by the kingdom of God
                                    C - Deliverance of the trusting from the fiery furnace
                                                    D - Humbling of proud King Nebuchadnezzar
                                                    D' - Humbling of proud King Belshazzar
                                    C' - Deliverance of the trusting from the lion’s den
                    B' - Four kingdoms followed by the kingdom of God
    A' - Return from exile and resurrection from the dead
    
    Now, the Duoble-Chiasm goes like this:
    Code:
    A - Prophecy of Four Kingdoms
                    B - Trial of God's Faithful
                                    C - Prophecy to Pagan King
                                    C' - Prophecy to Pagan King
                    B' - Trial of God's Faithful
    A' - Prophecy of Four Kingdoms
    
    Code:
    A - Prophetic Details of the Second and Third Kingdoms
                    B - Daniel's Prayers of Deliverance of God's People
                                    C - The Arrival and Purpose of the Messiah
                                    C' - The Death and Return of the Messiah
                    B' - Daniel's Prayers and Fasting of Deliverance of God's People
    A' - Prophetic Details of the Third and Fourth Kingdoms
    
    Now, if you combined these two together, you get:

    Code:
    A - Exile to the unclean realm of the dead
                    B - Four kingdoms followed by the kingdom of God
                                    X - Prophecy of Four Kingdoms
                                                    C - Deliverance of the trusting from the fiery furnace
                                                                    Y - Trial of God's Faithful
                                                                                    D - Humbling of proud King Nebuchadnezzar
                                                                                                    Z - Prophecy to Pagan King
                                                                                                    Z' - Prophecy to Pagan King
                                                                                    D' - Humbling of proud King Belshazzar
                                                                    Y' - Trial of God's Faithful
                                                    C' - Deliverance of the trusting from the lion’s den
                                    X' - Prophecy of Four Kingdoms
                    B' - Four kingdoms followed by the kingdom of God
                                    M - Prophetic Details of the Second and Third Kingdoms
                                                    N - Daniel's Prayers of Deliverance of God's People
                                                                    O - The Arrival and Purpose of the Messiah
                                                                    O' - The Death and Return of the Messiah
                                                    N' - Daniel's Prayers and Fasting of Deliverance of God's People
                                    M' - Prophetic Details of the Third and Fourth Kingdoms
    A' - Return from exile and resurrection from the dead
    
    Which is just topically dizzying, and that's not to mention that once you zoom into the text of Daniel, you're also met with further structural chiasms.

    For example, if you take the Fiery Furnace example from item C above, and zoom into that, it begins with a chiastic structure itself in events.
    Code:
    A - King orders the worship of a god not belonging to the protagonists
                    B - King flies into a rage because they will not submit
                                    C - King orders the men cast into a furnace
                    B - King is dumbstruck and astonished that they will not burn
    A - King orders the protection of the protagonist's god and worship
    
    And that's nothing to say of mechanical chiasms that then also exist within those scenes.
    For example, within that scene there is this moment, which is defined by a pattern of ABC D B'A'C':
    Code:
    You are commanded,
    A - peoples, nations, and languages,
                    B - that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble,
                                    C - you are to fall down and worship the golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.
                                                    D - Whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire.
                                    B' - Therefore, as soon as the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble,
                    A' - all the peoples, nations, and languages
    C' - fell down and worshiped the golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
    
    This places the focus on the threat of being thrown into the furnace.

    So this is the level of insane weaving that takes place in this text. If you tried to map it all out, you would have the most amazingly complicated weave of line that put the most complicated conspiracy theory board of connections to shame.

    This is how structural chiasms work. The mechanical chiasms, more commonly, come and go. They don't tend to be so specifically woven in like they are in Daniel. Most advance to the layer of having the whole story organized caustically, and then too the events in scenes, and finally only a few mechanically chiastic lines.

    The text of Matthew is written like this, and in fact it is the text of Matthew that bears the strongest relationship to the chiastic structure of Star Wars. This is because Matthew is one of the few texts written in a chiastic form specifically with intention of connecting to scenes and moments in a previous text. Most chiastic texts only consider their own content, and not other texts. Matthew, however, takes effort at moving things around to connect its central protagonist to previous figures in other texts. Jesus is chiastically connected to both Adam and Moses, for example, and given similar moments. These aren't the only two figures that the author takes time to connect Jesus to; others are brought in to make the figure of Jesus noble and important, as well as not something new, but something renewed from the old.

    The difference between Matthew and Star Wars in this respect, however, differs in that Star Wars actually aims to have each story that is being crossed in a chiastic narrative form nearly match multiple moments and overall arcs with each protagonist, while Matthew makes chiastic links more like a skipping rock - skipping vast expanses of prior stories and touching down to pick out just a moment to echo and then skip whole vast expanses again, etc…

    In this way, Star Wars is far more complex and impressive. It holds a chiastic narrative across multiple stories and attempts to line up as much as is possible between stories, rather than simply single token moments between vastly skipped sections.

    Which brings us to our object of appreciation: Star Wars.

    CHIASTIC STRUCTURE IN STAR WARS
    Now that we have examined and looked at the history and forms of chiastic literature, let's look at how it's been employed in Star Wars.

    Before I begin, it is helpful to remember that writing in a chiastic fashion doesn't require that every writer be the same writer, nor that the writing be planned out to extensive details ahead of time and handed off between each writer like a holy relic or secret plan in a briefcase.

    As see with texts like Matthew, people can write in a chiastic fashion and make connections without having even ever met the previous author, and can do so in remarkably good form.
    Revelation, for example, nearly reads as Daniel: Part 2 and nearly pulls the same chiasms off.

    Also, the connections that I outline below are my own summaries and are a culmination of lots of reading other folks' work as well as doing my own analysis of the stories.​

    Star Wars takes the chiastic form to whole new heights, and is so nested and complicated, that it is almost impossible to map out in one pass.
    The current form actually appears to have taken 9 films and turned it into effectively 10 chiastic positions by having TLJ serve the work of two films in one go; more than any film in the series has done previously. For this reason, you'll see TLJ appear four times in the below outline - because it is two thematic positions combined.

    The first principle set up is rather simple, back when it was just the OT.
    Code:
    A - ANH
                    B - ESB part 1
                    B' - ESB part 2
    A' - ROTJ
    
    This was accomplished by making ESB a nearly perfect mirror with the second half being a chiastic inversion of the first half of the film.

    Then the PT came along and things were still relatively simple.
    Code:
    A - ANH
                    B - ESB
                                    C - ROTJ
                                    C' - TPM
                    B' - AOTC
    A' - ROTS
    
    Now, technically, if you wanted to fully annotate the continuation, then it would be like this:
    Code:
    A - ANH
                    B - ESB part 1
                                    C - ESB part 2
                                                    D - ROTJ
                                                    D' - TPM
                                    C' - AOTC part 1
                    B' - AOTC part 2
    A' - ROTS
    
    Which effectively says the same thing, but with an added layer of granularity.

    To keep things a bit easier for the next one, we're going to collapse the middle film parts 1 and 2 and just have ESB and AOTC because otherwise it gets rather a bit complicated.​
    Code:
    A - ANH
                    A - TFA
                                    B - ESB
                                                    B - TLJ
                                                                    C - ROTJ
                                                                                    C - TLJ
                                                                                                    D - TROS
                                                                                    C' - TLJ
                                                                    C' - TPM
                                                    B' - TLJ
                                    B' - AOTC
                    A' - TFA
    A' - ROTS
    
    Now, the way that TLJ goes about being both B's and C's is that B's are the primary themes, while C's are the secondary themes. Typically, the A', B', and C' positions of the Sequel Trilogy are motivated through Kylo Ren and connect to the Prequel Trilogy, while the A, B, and C positions of are motivated through Rey and connect to the Original Trilogy.

    In this way, the Sequel Trilogy connects to both the OT and PT by using two primary characters instead of one. In the previous films, only the Protagonist was the focus of growth in the story, however in the Sequel Trilogy, both the Protagonist and Antagonist growths are focused on in the story, and this allows the story to use Kylo as an Anakin connection and Rey as a Luke connection.

    So in full, you have AA-BB-CC [D] CC-BB-AA as the pattern that has emerged so far.

    So what you get visually is something like this:
    star wars chiastic map.PNG

    But It's actually quite a bit more complicated than any of this above because TPM, for example, doesn't just connect with ROTJ, but also with ANH. It's just that ANH is a secondary, or background, theme connection and ROTJ is the primary, or foreground, theme connection.

    Meaning, the main motivations for events in the film come from responses to ROTJ, but often times subtle surface instances come from ANH.

    This is because, if you'll recall, ROTJ is a chiastic mirror of ANH, so there's similar moments that appear in both films. They both start on Tatooine and leave it in a mad dash escape, one from a physical bondage, while the other is a social bondage. Both attempt to access the enemy's facilities by dressing as the enemy, one because they were captured and the other by intention. Both turn off a central system to the battle station in a battle, one involves a rescue, escape, and death of a colleague, while the other involves a capture, overthrow, and no one dies. Both involve a surprise about the battle station upon entrance to it, for one it is the station itself that is the surprise, while for the other it is that the shields are still up that is the surprise. The mentor dies in both and the protagonist is given a weight upon his shoulders as a result, in one the mentor dies willingly in battle, while in the other the mentor dies due to forces of nature beyond his control peacefully.

    That's just a quick run through; there's plenty of connections between the two.

    So this inherently means that if you set out to make a film that is positioned to chiastically connect to ROTJ, then it's going to vicariously connect to ANH, even if you don't make an effort to connect to ANH directly.

    With the Sequel Trilogy, this has taken up new tangents, and gets quite a bit more complex.
    If you're making a story and want to connect one part to ANH and secondarily to ROTS using two characters, then by proxy, you'll end up vicariously also connecting to ROTJ and TPM. It's a "two for the price of one" type of situation.

    So if you then decide to connect to ESB and ROTJ in one film like TLJ does as the primary, and the secondary also connects to TPM and AOTC, then you end up vicariously connecting to every Star Wars film on record since AOTC connects to ESB, and TPM connects to ROTJ which connects to ANH, and ROTS refrains ROTJ and by proxy ANH secondarily, which means even though you didn't directly connect, or even secondarily connect to ROTS, you end up having some left over sent of ROTS in there anyway because of what ROTS did (someone will be reminded of something in ROTS while watching TLJ because ROTS connects to ROTJ secondarily, and ROTJ connects to ANH…AHH! The loop never ends!).

    It's actually so complicated that it can't be well mapped using the lettering pattern above.

    You have to use a graphical map to keep track of what's connected to what in primary and secondary themes (which I've posted before).
    star wars chiasmus.png

    And this is to say nothing about moments within scenes and their mechanical chiasms. Self-contained mechanical chiasms (e.g. light is to dark as dark is to light) are not prevalent in Star Wars, but there are mechanical chiasms between films in what characters say often times is a direct inversion of the previous iteration. So it's not as nested and complex as Daniel is pedantic with its dialogue (thank goodness!), but it is far more complex as a whole than Daniel, or any other textual example of chiastic literature.

    CONCLUSION
    Star Wars is a massive accomplishment of literary marvel. The complexity and artistry of all of this weaving threads around is mind boggling. There are definite times that things don't work out as a result of this mess (awkward moment of Luke and Leia, the awkward bit of Yoda beating up R2 on Dagobah, the odd bit of Ben not knowing the droids…and several other moments that require mental solutions), but this actually isn't unusual for allegorical tales that use the chiastic form.

    In fact, I would venture to suggest that one of the leading causes of weird moments in allegorical texts not making logical sense is often a result of the text choosing to make chiastic sense over logical sense (e.g. the travel paths of Jesus in Matthew make very little logical sense and only makes sense at all when allegorically fit to the chiastic structure).

    On the whole, however, Star Wars revived the chiastic tradition from its death, dusted it off and breathed vigorous life back into it, and did so while simultaneously making a pop-culture hit that not only is a these two things, but also refrains our own cinematic history within it by using scenes and influences heavily from previous films of a bygone era, and further, it does something else remarkable - as if this wasn't already enough.

    It combines the chiastic form with a unified hero's journey, as summarized and consolidated by Joseph Campbell.
    Never has a chiastic narrative been so polished and part of such a well told story.

    It's unclear if the chiastic narrative form will continue on in culture beyond the end of the Star Wars saga, but it has definitely been one hell of a ride and one hell of an expression. It's a very proud cultural moment to appreciate Star Wars. It truly is a modern myth in every possible way.

    So…over 6,000 words later, lol…now I open it up to everyone else.

    (Sorry for any typos, I don't have an personal editor lol, and I try to proof it well.)

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #1 Jayson, Jun 6, 2019
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  2. Choose Light

    Choose Light Jedi General

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    @Jayson, impressive, most impressive! I can't believe you wrote all that just for us! :D

    I was first plunged into the nitty-gritty of chiastic structure in a biblical literature class, starting gently with the Psalms, and then going hard core by chiasming up one side of Daniel and down the other. :p But I really was introduced to chiastic structure, both visually and thematically, with George Herbert's poetry (this one is from "Easter Wings") and some of the altar poetry that emerged during the Renaissance:

    Lord, who createdest man in wealth and store,
    Though foolishly he lost the same,
    Decaying more and more,
    Till he became
    Most poore:
    With thee
    O let me rise​
    As larks, harmoniously,​
    And sing this day thy victories,​
    Then shall the fall further the flight in me.
    (Yeah, the thematic structure is a bit loose, but hey.)


    Anyway....as for Star Wars, the chiasmic structure can be contrived in a number of ways, but at its simplest, I am thinking we may simply have

    TPM
    AotC
    RotS
    RotJ​
    ESB​
    ANH
    TFA
    TLJ
    TRoS​
    or
    A
    B
    C
    C1​
    B1​
    A1
    A2
    B2
    C2
    We shall see!

    (And when we have all nine parts we can really parse this baby out. ;))
     
    #2 Choose Light, Jun 6, 2019
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  3. Jayson

    Jayson Rebel Official

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    Always a pleasure to do so!
    [​IMG]

    Daniel is hardcore indeed! It's trial by fire for many seminary students. :p


    The only reason that I don't list it this way is that it doesn't represent the relationship of TFA to ROTS (e.g. Kylo and Rey's fight is almost a beat for beat repeat of Ben and Anakin's fight), nor TLJ's relationship to ROTJ and TPM.

    This set up implies that TLJ is akin to AOTC and ESB only.

    Yet, TLJ pulls in AOTC, ESB, ROTJ, and TPM all in one film.
    It's why we have a very loud and clearly blaring "HEY I'M RIGHT HERE!" throne room scene in TLJ. Because it's answering to ROTJ.
    It's why we have the race track and Fathier chase scenes which are both TPM and ROTJ race scenes rolled up into one.

    And it's why the Canto Bight scene is both Bespin/Kamino as well as the Naboo/Endor, where not only is the neutral area involved in deals with the bad guys where betrayal happens, it's also the location where we go to get the "turn off the threatening technology" macguffin.

    If all we had was Rey's stuff, then we could be closer to this idea of lining up in this fashion because we would have an implication that there's another unfinished bit that needs to echo Anakin's stuff while echoing this trilogy.

    However, we have Kylo who is echoing Anakin's PT material simultaneous to Rey's OT echoes.

    That flips things around a bit.

    Currently, what's already been established is this:
    Code:
    A - ANH
                   A - TFA
                                   B - ESB
                                                   B - TLJ
                                                                   C - ROTJ
                                                                                   C - TLJ
                                                                                   C' - TLJ
                                                                   C' - TPM
                                                   B' - TLJ
                                   B' - AOTC
                   A' - TFA
    A' - ROTS
    
    What this means is that C' - TLJ is a parallel to C' - TPM, while C - TLJ is a parallel to C - ROTJ.
    Equally, at the same time, B' - TLJ is a parallel to B' - AOTC, while B - TLJ is a parallel to B - ESB.

    What we don't know for sure is where TROS sits in this mix.
    What we can see is that there's nothing left hanging of the chiastic parallels for TROS to fulfill. It can either do a round-robin and echo all themes, echo the overall saga theme, echo nothing, or some other thing.

    But it's likely that it will be a lone film in the pattern sequence because otherwise it will be stepping on TLJ's toes since TLJ wrapped up most everything to do with ROTJ.

    So while an ABC CBA ABC styling is the simplest, I think it happens to forgo showcasing the connections that have been made so far. :)


    Cheers,
    Jayson[/QUOTE]
     
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  4. Angelman

    Angelman Servant to the Whills & Slave to the Muses
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    Like the pagan kinds, I’m humbled… :oops:

    I too did some Bible exegesis at Uni two decades ago, but I cannot remember us delving into the writing structures like this (we worked more with etymology and surface reading, I guess… Yeah, “surface reading” and “exegesis” doesn’t really fit, but as far as I can remember we certainly didn’t do any chiasmic analysis). :rolleyes:

    This was a very nice overview & introduction, @Jayson . You took me just to the edge of mind-blank several times, but just as my brain couldn’t handle more you pedagogically moved onto something else. Thank you :D

    Still, I struggle to internalize and hold onto the gnosis you have imparted, so… could you, for us mentally challenged pupils in the back, give a quick chiastic analysis (i.e. spelling out the examples) of say… ESB (or whatever SW movie you prefer)? No pressure, sir! :p



    Now, some random questions.
    First, a question of particular interest to myself: Do you know whether Ancient Egyptian texts (i.e. Middle Kingdom texts c.2050-1710 BCE, a Bronze Age period wherein literature flourished) rely on chiastic writing? Like, The Shipwrecked Sailor or Sinuhe, are these stories in any way chiastic?

    And while we’re at it, do you know whether Germanic oral traditions (along with the few recorded examples we have, such as the Edda and Beowulf) make use of chiasmus?
     
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  5. Jayson

    Jayson Rebel Official

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    A bit of a side tangent, but....
    I'm what's called an apatheist. This means if there are gods out there, I certainly don't care.
    Now, firstly, I don't think there are, but even if there were, I wouldn't care. Just by a species of something existing, doesn't inherently mean I'm going to find them interesting or great on face value.
    That, to me, is paramount to saying that a type of human is great just because they are a given race. No. Your merit is still in question; no free passes.
    And as far as I can tell, if there were to be gods, their designs are far too large scale for me to care. I hardly care about the politics of my own country because I typically can't be bothered to be concerned about anything beyond my immediate family. Nothing beyond that really actually means much to me worth vexing over.

    On a side note, when I was a little kid, I had always assumed death was just the end and I was fine with that. It made sense. My cat died; done. My grandfather died. Done.
    There wasn't anything complicated in dying. It happened, it was sad for everyone still alive, and that was pretty much it. Then a Sunday school teacher dropped the idea of heaven casually in my lap one day when I was around five years old or so, in the typical wondrous and appreciative tonality, but to me it was a tremendous shock and the first experience with existential dread (obviously not something I knew the name of). The idea that we didn't just die and continued on, even in the most pleasant means possible, forever was absolutely horrifying to me. My hand shot up and I immediately asked what happens if we don't want it? Which, of course, was confusing to the teacher and not well understood or addressed; I was merely reassured that there would be no way that I wouldn't want it.
    So Christianity, and most religion as a whole, inherently was at a bit of odds with me from the start. I tried to fit in for years, but that works about as well as pretending to be straight when you're not. Eventually the dam breaks.

    I actually ended up studying textual anthropology because one thing that bothered me growing up in a Christian household was that no one seemed to know from which culture the gospel texts came from. There was the traditional answer of the apostles, but that was clearly not the case, and among the Christians that accepted the archaeological position that the apostles did not write these texts, no one had an answer. When I researched the topic, I was a bit stunned to find that not much had ever been done regarding the subject. Lots of time was spent studying what was meant by things in the texts, and attempts at discerning the "original" versions of the texts, but quite often the provenance was simply assumed and not examined. So a spent a couple decades learning and studying the matter and worked out an answer that satisfied me personally. I still think it's a shame that the topic of textual provenance isn't a high priority. It seems to me that you can't very well answer what was meant, or what an original form might have been like of any given text if you don't know the culture that it came from and what that culture had at the time regarding its values.

    But...that's a whole different rabbit hole for another time! :)
    Back on track....​

    PHEW! Good! I was worried about that, actually.
    Often with heavy lifting topics like this I tend to insert a humorous tone to try to make it more digestible, but in this case I chucked that approach because otherwise the post would be much larger.
    So I'm glad it worked out!

    Regarding Egyptian writing. I'm not an amateur Egyptologist, so I can't say with certainty, but as far as I'm aware, chiastic literature is not prominent in Egyptian texts. I've read mention of sections or things being written using the method, but I haven't seen anything exposing a strong tradition with it.
    On the other hand, I haven't really been looking that hard at Egyptian textual tradition either.
    Most of my study has been in the Levant region Bronze Age focusing on Greek and Hebrew, with a cursory broadening to Phoenician, Nesite (Hittite language), Ugaritic, and Akkadian. I studied lots of the cultures of the whole area, so Egypt of course pops up quite a bit, but I didn't study too much of their textual tradition, but was more focused on their general anthropology as it was important for context of the issue regarding provenance.

    However, while I haven't examined it personally, I do know that Beowulf is attributed to having some form of chiastic form in it, however, exactly when this entered into the story and which culture added it is up for grabs since the only surviving "original" record of the story is from around 1000 CE when a scribe took to putting ink to a manuscript.

    I would love to, and you couldn't have picked a better film to kick off with.

    So firstly, Star Wars has two structural types of chiasms:
    1) Intra-Chiastic Narratives
    2) Inter-Chiastic Narratives

    The first type are where the stories mirror things within themselves.
    The second type are where the stories mirror things in other films.

    The second type is harder to cover, and for the moment I'll leave a link to Mike Klimo's massive undertaking of comparing the Inter-Chiastic narratives between the OT and PT.
    http://www.starwarsringtheory.com/

    But I do want to do my own exposition of this subject because he misses out (hold on to your hats - it's about to get nerd-level jargon in here) on Intra-Trilogy Inter-Chiastic Narratives and only focuses on Inter-Trilogy Inter-Chiastic Narratives.
    That is, he doesn't look at the chiastic relationship of, for example, ROTJ to ANH, or TPM to ROTS.
    He only looks at how ROTJ relates to TPM, for example, etc...

    And of course, due to when he wrote this, he doesn't cover the ST.
    I don't pretend to have the ability in time at this point to do what he has done for the ST (though one day I hope to do so ... maybe when I retire, lol), but I would like to do something to cover the topic.

    Anyway, so when I get a bit more time, I will do a top level type of pass at TFA and ROTJ to ANH.

    Now, for the Intra-Chiastic narrative, again, you couldn't have picked a better option than ESB.

    This is because ESB actually has had someone do all of the heavy lifting for us.
    Robert Lockard over at Deja Reviewer wrote an entire article outlining the chiastic structure of ESB.
    I've taken what he wrote and turned it into a bite-sized image that makes it a bit easier to see in one look.
    ESB symmetry.png

    Click here to download a big version of the image

    And here's the link to his full article:
    https://dejareviewer.com/2014/05/20...strikes-back-is-a-perfectly-symmetrical-film/

    So I hope that helps for the time being! :)

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     

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    #5 Jayson, Jun 6, 2019
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  6. Angelman

    Angelman Servant to the Whills & Slave to the Muses
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    Ok, that was a typo. I was supposed to write "pagan kings", which referenced your writing on the Book of Daniel above... My apologies for any confusion :)
     
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  7. Angelman

    Angelman Servant to the Whills & Slave to the Muses
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    So, I'm rewatching the RoS teaser and had a random thought/question. What is the difference between chiastic story points and straight-up call-backs? Like... Kylo's (presumably) TIE coming sweeping across the desert floor, right-to-left in the RoS teaser, is that a call-back or a chiastic reflection of BB-8's "sprinting" across the desert floor, right-to-left, in the TFA teaser?

    Angelman is trying so hard to learn... and failing at least as hard :p
     
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  8. Meister Yoda

    Meister Yoda Your Little Green Friend

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    As the teasers aren't telling a full story (well that would be fun, imagine after IX watching all trailers and teasers of the Saga, discovering they're telling their own story) I would call it a callback for now (because it rhymes).
    But depending on the context in which the scene happens to be in the movie it might be a "chiastic story point".
     
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  9. Jayson

    Jayson Rebel Official

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    I don't watch teasers/trailers because I prefer going in as ignorant as possible, but a chiasm is a callback.

    A callback is a general term which can refer to running gags, continuity tips, brick jokes, and chiasms. These are all examples of a callback.

    A chiastic structure or form, however, goes beyond a chiasm and therefore goes beyond a callback.

    So chiasm == Callback.
    Chiastive narrative != Callback.

    In the same way that "to weave" is equivalent with "to thread", but not with basket, even though you do weave to make a basket.

    To weave == To thread
    A basket != To thread

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #9 Jayson, Jun 7, 2019
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  10. NinjaRen

    NinjaRen Supreme Leader

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    I don't know about the other stuff, but story wise or at least visual story telling wise it's common to position the villain on the right side of the frame or let him walk from right-to-left.
     
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  11. Jayson

    Jayson Rebel Official

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    To further the explanation I gave before, now that I've got a few more moments, identifying a chiastic form as distinctly different from a callback, or just a film having things in it which are like something else is a bit tricky.

    In some ways, we are stepping into the philosophical theory of mind because in part we're asking, "What was the intention?"

    Was the intention to simply reference an earlier moment, or was the intention to weave a specifically designed narrative so that it inverts or reverses several moments from earlier?

    It's a bit like when archaeologists find a site.
    Let's say they dig down and find a remarkably complex structure; full of the best technology and materials available at the dated period.
    Does this mean that this structure is evidence of a larger city design, or is this just a really cleverly designed building that wasn't part of a bigger picture?

    To answer that, you'd have to pull back and survey the area as a whole and find more sites. Once you do, then you can answer if there's a specific city design evident, or if there's just a few buildings here and there which show that there was an interest in a specific look, perhaps even a look that emulates an architecture of another culture.

    Chiasms are a bit like this. Just because we see something in a film which reminds us of something previously, doesn't inherently mean we leap right to claiming it as a chiasm (a chiastic narrative point). It could just be an emulation, a callback, or a tip of the hat/nod.

    To determine if it's a chiasm, you have to show that there's a chiastic structure to the overall context that the moment is within, and you have to show how this moment fits within that chiastic narrative structure, because even if there is an evident chiastic structure, that doesn't inherently mean that every moment is a chiasm.
    It has to fit into the pattern of the chiastic structure.

    Going back to the archaeological analogy, it's like finding that there is indeed evidence to support the hypothesis of an overt city design plan, and then someone saying that a given building is part of that overt city design plan just because there is a city design plan evident. How do you know? It could equally be possible that the given building wasn't part of the overall city design plan, but instead a stand alone endeavor that wasn't part of the overall city design plan.
    You would have to show, in this case, how that building sympathizes with the overall city design plan, and supports that overall city design plan.


    Similarly, you have to show how a possible chiasm (a moment in a film potentially part of a chiastic narrative pattern) fits into a larger designed pattern, and isn't just an arbitrary nod or callback that isn't consistent with the overall chiastic narrative.

    For instance, if you're claiming that there's a chiastic narrative in TFA that inverts or reverses moments from ANH and ROTS, then you have a weak argument if you pop up a moment and say that it's a chiastic moment in the film because it looks like a moment from Empire Strikes Back.
    You'd have to show some sort of continual pattern in TFA to repeatedly referencing ESB as part of its chiastic pattern to make that argument.

    This gets a bit dicey with Star Wars because there actually are a some moments here and there that slide around a bit and don't follow exactly along the dotted line, and this is largely because there's still a three-act play structure that has to be followed and sometimes it just doesn't work to plop something into the film in a given location where it would pedantically match a chiastic relation to the previous moment.
    These aren't overwhelming, however, and usually are the much more minor components. Often they are the, what I call, "Star Wars parables" - little sub-stories that are usually contained within a few scenes (e.g. Jabba's palace and escape, or the Podracers) that aren't really narrative tales, but more little moral motifs...ergo why I call them "Star Wars parables".

    And it gets even a bit more murky because often times the parables mix and match elements with each other.

    For example, there's three such parables that are pretty common in each trilogy.
    1. Indulgent fun may come from inhumane practices.
    2. Neutrality will betray you.
    3. Good things can be found among the rejects of society, but it might cost you.
    Now, Jabba's palace of ROTJ and the Pod Race of TPM are both parable (1).
    However, Jabba's palace is also parable (3) along with the Cantina scene of ANH.
    It's a scum of the earth where you go into to get a gem (Han Solo in both cases) and flee in an escape.

    Jabba's palace has both elements in there.
    What it doesn't have is parable (2).

    However, Canto Bight has parable (2) and so does Bespin and Kamino.
    However, Canto Bight also has parable (1), while Bespin and Kamino do not, and equally none of these three contain parable (3).

    And the example in point is AOTC, for example contains parables (2) and (3) unlike the original trilogy's ESB which only contains parable (2).
    Parable (2) is Kamino, and parable (3) is the Outlander Club.

    You would have thought that the Outlander Club scene would have shown up in ROTS since ROTS is the chiastic connection to ANH, and ANH is where the OT tucks its parable (3), or at the very least that you would have found it tucked into TPM's podrace (which, one could argue getting Anakin is somewhat alike...and you wouldn't be out of line, because getting Anakin out of slavery is a mirror to ROTJ's getting of Han from Jabba, and as mentioned, Jabba's palace scene has an element of (3) in it...again, this is why these get dodgy).

    However, regardless, the inclusion of the Outlander Club scene is an odd inclusion into AOTC which seems to, for whatever reason, be plucked from the position it would likely normally have up with ROTS.
    Why this was done, no clue. Lucas, while he does talk about the PT's chiastic narrative form a bit, doesn't tend to go into the details as to which ones were done for what reason.

    However, since it was done, TLJ seems to have chosen to mirror that entire concept of including two such parables into film in Canto Bight, which contains parables (1) and (2), leaving (3) to TFA (Maze's cantina). And it did so by mixing the parables into one moment in Canto Bight, while simultaneously hitting the racing theme of TPM and ROTJ, mixing ROTJ's dual racers (Luke and Leia) who this time are being chased instead of doing the chasing, with TPM's racing sport moment where the protagonists are the observers instead of the racers in the sport.

    Like I said, it gets pretty challenging to not step over your toes and accidentally start claiming too much and going too far.

    A good example is Finn running out to see Kylo's ship leaving with Rey on board in TFA.
    You could claim that ESB's Leia running out to Han being taken by Fett at the end, and Padme missing the ship at the beginning are what Finn's moment is mirroring, but you'd have to also explain why TFA is mirroring the second film instead of either the first or third.

    That makes it inherently weaker because it breaks the typical pattern to do that, and it's much easier, considering this is at Maze's cantina location, to draw a connection to the Cantina escape since this is supposed to be a reversal of the previous variations, so you wouldn't have a Cantina where you get away, but one where you (the protagonist) don't. One where the antagonist does.

    And TLJ has the ship moment with DJ. TLJ actually makes a bit of a joke about the whole scene, because now the protagonists are the ones running to escape instead of an antagonist character, and where before the antagonist variations were missed, here the protagonist's ship was destroyed - ergo the joke bit made in that moment.
    Then DJ spins it around a bit by popping up to conclude the scene which causes the scene to end in reverse of Bespin's landing of the Falcon; this time the neutral betrayer is the one on the ship instead of off the ship, and this time he's helping you leave, not stay and hide, and you're chased off by two security ships instead of escorted by them.

    So drawing a parallel to ESB with that one brief moment in TFA that has some visual looks similar to it is a good example of being a tad too hasty with claiming chiastic relationships.
    Star Wars has lots of things that look similar, but that doesn't mean all things that look similar are chiastically related. You have to show what the bigger picture is.
    Which isn't something you can do in a one minute video collage (as neat as such a video might be).

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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