Haiku Me Friday! A pivotal scene and the need to control

The hatred flows through
They took her away from us
My anguish blinds me

As much as I have trouble enjoying Attack of the Clones and finding moments to like about it, I do enjoy the part when Anakin goes in search of her mother, kills the Sand People and cries about it to Padmé.

It’s this tense chase we are on with him and I think Lucas does a great job of NOT showing us Anakin killing the sandpeople. As an audience, we are put in suspense until he reveals to Padmé that he did, in fact, kill them all. To make matters hit home, the fact that Anakin killed both the women and children as well was deftly played by Lucas.

I think it was hard to feel sorry for the Sand People and hard to connect with them as a species. We never see them doing anything interesting; much less have feelings towards them one way or another. For the most part, the Sand People were annoying to me. They always showed up at an inconvenient moment as a plot point to spur the movie along. In fact, they are kind of like savage animals.

Yet, by having Anakin kill the entire village of sandpeople, and confess to doing the unthinkable by killing the women and children, we now feel pity.

Who kills women and children?

Even in war, it’s deplorable, almost everyone can agree to that. It’s part of what makes the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki so heart wrenching. There were thousands of innocent people living in those cities. On top of being innocent people, there were women and children – the future.

By killing the Sand People’s women and children, Anakin is preventing further life, preventing the future. And with that, George Lucas spins how we feel about the Sand People. Anakin says “They are like animals. And I slaughtered them like animals. I hate them!” Yet, now we feel pity and sadness, which brings the Sand People to a human status.

We also feel foreboding towards Anakin’s actions. This anger and rage comes from his feeling of powerlessness. He wants to control everything around him, including death. How can you control death? It is the one certainty in life – that everyone dies. Yet Anakin does not want to accept that.

If you watch Padmé’s face during this scene, you can see that she has fear. What has happened to Anakin? Who kills women and children? Why can’t he understand that it was out of his control and that Shmi’s death was not his fault?

Shmi’s death is a turning point in Anakin. He always feared loss, even in TPM when Yoda points it out to him. When Shmi dies, and then he has dreams about Padmé’s death in ROTS, it spurs him to use his hate and anger to try and channel it into what he thinks is something good.

Shmi’s death and this scene is so important to the entire saga. I often overlook it due to my frustration with AOTC but it shapes Anakin as a character and is a pivotal step for the Skywalker story.

I, too, can be a control freak. I like everything to be just right and when something disrupts my schedule or plans, I don’t deal with it well. I think most of the arguments I have with my husband come from when I have something in my mind of how it should go, and he has something different, and I have a hard time being flexible.

In some ways, it’s a good thing. My control helps me be extremely organized which helps me run my business, keep my daughter at home most of the time, and be a wife.

Yet the need for constant control seeps into a lot of our daily lives. I believe the need for control does stem from fear. Fear of losing control, but a deeper level, fear of not looking like I have it “all together” or that I’m easily handling everything. It’s a fear of loss, though different from Anakin’s. It’s a fear of losing face, in some ways. I think having a child has made it better (they really are unpredictable!) but now I have new aspects to try and control which raises stress levels.

 

Do you or do you know anyone who are controlling? Who has fears that drives them to dangerous points like Anakin? Or, honestly, do you have any advice for me or others similar to myself?

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You Must Learn Control

Icarus left a comment on my blog post the other day that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about.  Actually, it wasn’t his comment per se, but was said by George Lucas regarding Anakin’s fall to the dark side from a CNN article in 2002 (AOTC era, pre ROTS):

In this film, you begin to see that he has a fear of losing things, a fear of losing his mother, and as a result, he wants to begin to control things, he wants to become powerful, and these are not Jedi traits.  And part of these are because he was starting to be trained so late in life, that he’d already formed these attachments. And for a Jedi, attachment is forbidden.

“He wants to begin to control things.”  This sat with me – mainly because of my terrible need to control things as well.  We all, at some point or another, want to control our life and our future, no matter who you are.  You can be the most chill person in the world, but there is probably some degree or need to control minuscule portions of your life.  Then there are others, like myself, who prefer to control every minuscule detail if possible and though I think I’ve gradually gotten better, I still fall apart when Plan A, B, and C aren’t quite working like I was hoping.

anakin angry

 

At one point on Dagobah, when Luke is training with Yoda, Yoda admonishes him,

Control, control, you must learn control!

So why does Yoda want Luke to learn control, yet probably wanted Anakin to let go of his control?  Isn’t that contradictory?

What is the difference between Anakin and Luke?  The way I read and think about the situation is that Anakin used his fear as a propeller to learn more and conquer more through his knowledge.  He wanted power to change the situations through his control of the Force.  We see this to be very true later on in ROTS when he wants the ultimate power – to stop Padmé from dying – and apply it to his life.  He believes he’s helping people but he is, instead, digging his own grave.  Would Padmé have died if Anakin hadn’t turned to the dark side?  Ah, the million dollar question.

With Luke, though, it seems a little different.  He wants to go to Cloud City to try and rescue his friends (which, again, would have fared better without his help) but his motivation does not seem to be as rooted in the need for power.  While it seems to be more altruistic in nature, it does also stem fromluke skywalker handstand dagobah this need to control the events around him.  As Yoda says, “If you leave now, help them you could.  But you would destroy all for which they have fought and suffered.”

Obviously I’m going completely off canon by suggesting Yoda would have wanted Anakin to lessen his need to control, but I don’t think it’s that out there.  What I believe is that both had the fear of loss ingrained within them (who doesn’t?) but where Luke needed to control more from a situation of distance and understanding, Anakin needed to lessen his control so that it could also bring him to a place of understanding and distance.

I’ve mentioned many times that I don’t think the Jedi had it right when they tried to rid their pupils from attachment.  In fact, most of the time I think it was just wrong.  As we saw, Luke used his attachment to his father to save Anakin from the dark side and also help the galaxy.  However, there is also a point where life needs to be played out for what it is without our involvement because sometimes when we mess around with it too much, we look back and realize that maybe we shouldn’t have tried to control it like we did.  Luke had to learn to take a step back and realize he couldn’t run to help Han and Leia with everything in their lives because it could just make it worse.  He had to control his need to always help and rein it in.  Anakin needed to learn that he couldn’t be all-powerful and that controlling everything too much could backfire.  The main difference I’ve found is that Luke’s control was rooted in love whereas Anakin’s control was rooted in fear.

The reason that quote has been bothering me so much is that I believe I lean more towards Anakin than Luke.  It’s when I get the most scared, the most fearful, the most anxious, that I begin to try to control events and people around me.  I use all the power that I have to influence what happens around me to make sure it happens the way I want it to go.  Unlike Luke, whose need for more control stems from a caring, kind, thoughtful place; instead, I feel like I completely understand Anakin.  I don’t want life to “just happen”.  I want life to happen according to my rules.

 

What about you?  Do you need more control because you always want to jump and help someone instead of letting them work it out on their own?  Or are you more like me and you need to lessen your control because you always want to make things go your way?