The Strength of Stranger Things

HALLOWEEN 2016: BY CAROL STARKEY

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From the moment I first started watching Stranger Things to its stunning finish, I couldn’t get enough. Not only does the show borrow heavily from the 80s, Steven Speilberg, and Stephen King, it tells a good story.

While the whole show, from the Demogorgon, to Barb, to the solid friendship of Mike, Dustin, and Lucas, was flawless, one of my favorite parts was Eleven. Taken from her mother when just a baby, she’s raised in a lab where her many powers are encouraged and trained. She uses her mind to crush, maim, and kill, but never wants to. In the beginning, she wants only to please her “Papa”, the scientist responsible for taking her from her mother and honing her into a killing machine. Once she escapes, Eleven befriends three boys and tries to help them find Will, their missing friend. Though she speaks very few words, she’s able to tell them where he is and help them rescue him.

Eleven, or El, as she goes by later, is a complex character. She wants to fit in, wearing a wig and a dress to look “pretty,” but she’s not afraid to stand up for her friends. As the show progresses, she figures out that friendship is more difficult than she realized, though it can be boiled down to the phrase she repeats, “Friends don’t lie.”

After El escaped from the lab, the scientists went after her. She’s the link to the monster and without her, they have no control over it. Though she doesn’t want to, El destroys her Papa and the other scientists. She also travels through to the Upside Down, the creature’s home, in search of Will. In the end, her bravery saves almost everyone. Though she’s just a little girl, not even a teenager, she’s the strongest character on the show.

She learns to speak a handful of words through her friendship with the boys, but she teaches them much more than she learns from them. She takes it literally that friends don’t lie, that a promise is not to be broken, and that friends stick by each other no matter what.

Eleven, hidden away her entire life, tasted just a small amount of life before her sacrifice, but I’m hopeful that season two will bring her back and that she’s be even more fearless and amazing than in the first season.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carol Starkley lives in New England with her husband, three daughters, and numerous pets. She likes to read, write, bake, and dabble with the clarinet. She also infrequently blogs.

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