The Graduate Review


A dramatic shift took place in the suburban conception of children in America during the early 1980s. The high-profile abductions and murders of a small number of children led to a profound shift in suburban thinking about child safety. Suburban parents embarked on a wild search for methods of safeguarding their children against the largely symbolic threats of stranger danger, but, in the end, many of the reactions to stranger danger only served to disempower children in the suburbs. In this paper, I contend that Matt and Ross Duffer’s Stranger Things enters into a symbolic discourse with the stranger danger movement in ways that reconfigure its symbolism, inverting stranger danger’s power structure and offering a narrative that dramatizes freeing children from the paranoia of stranger danger.

Note on the Author

Gregory Shea is pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching English at Bridgewater State University, and his paper was completed in the spring of 2017 under the mentorship of Dr. Heidi Bean. He completed his Master’s Degree in the spring 2018.

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