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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.3/63544
- Bad fathers: reading the evil father in popular culture through Star Wars, Spider-Man and Twin Peaks
- Bainbridge, Jason
- The father remains an ambiguous figure in popular culture. In most media, it is the absence of the father that forces the protagonist to become the hero. But what occurs when the father is not only present, but also a figure of evil? This paper looks at the representation of the evil father in three popular media texts---Anakin Skywalker in 'Star Wars', Norman Osborn in 'Spider-Man' and Leland Palmer in 'Twin Peaks'. In each text, evil is manifested in the creation of a secondary persona, the alter egos of Darth Vader, the Green Goblin and BOB respectively. This offers the child (or surrogate child) of the father the potential to become as evil as the father by adopting his alter ego. But ultimately it also permits the father to be redeemed, to have the atrocities he has committed to be blamed on this alter ego and therefore insulates and absolves the father from blame. In this way, popular culture representations of the evil father provide an interesting way of mapping how we perceive the evil that fathers do (they are, quite literally, 'not themselves') and how we apportion blame.
- Publication type
- Book chapter
- Research centre
- Swinburne University of Technology
- Mis/representing evil: evil in an interdisciplinary key / Charlene P. E. Burns (ed.), Part 5, pp. 271-296
- Publication year
- Freeland, Oxfordshire, Inter-Disciplinary Press
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © Inter-Disciplinary Press 2009. All rights reserved.