When does reality battle fantasy?

Watching the latest installment of the “Star Wars” saga last Wednesday made me start thinking about lines we are taught to draw-lines primarily between fantasy and reality, fact and fiction, good and bad.

After participating for so many years in a society that speaks to its children and its young adults through fairy tales and alternate universes (many of us are excited about the upcoming “Chronicles of Narnia” movie as well), I began to wonder about how, and at what point, we should start accepting the fact that the lines aren’t always so clear.

Take Padm in “Revenge of the Sith,” for example. She can either choose life with Darth Vader, or she can choose death because she has lost Anakin. Anakin has a choice as well: to be good or to be evil. Their choices are clear, although not simple. They both know what their fate will be should they decide either way.

But it is not, and never has been, that clear-cut for those of us living in this world.

Movies and fairy tales always end with a moral-implying a lesson of some sort that the audience is supposed to take away. And we, as audience members, aren’t satisfied by stories that end without such morals. We want someone-in this case, the entertainment industry-to make the choices we face in life a little easier to understand.

But the truth is that the entertainment industry can never adequately address the complexity of our issues. People are not always either good or bad; they are often both. With that said, if we are supposed to use our “intuition” or our “gut-reaction” or our “instinct” to assess a situation, fairy tales do us a great injustice by never letting those internal forces fully develop. We grow up believing our hardest decisions will be between what is blatantly right and blatantly wrong.

At the age of 18, or even 21, when society deems us legal “adults,” we are supposed to magically morph into people who no longer buy into the same happy endings of the stories we have been told.

We learn the hard way that our relationships are almost never as simple as the fairy tales promise-our “knights in shining armor” or our “beautiful princesses” aren’t always such. And if we grew up thinking our “instincts” would lead us away from people who are bad for us and toward what is good, we cannot possibly choose if we were unprepared for such unclear lines.

So I’m not going to end this with a lesson such as telling you to trust your instincts or to always remember to fight for what is right. I’m going to end it by telling you I have no moral prepared-I cannot tell you how you should draw your lines or where to go from here, and sometimes that’s the best lesson there is.

[email protected]