Every generation has its pivotal films, television programs, and books that seem to capture the “flavor” of the time, and convey what it means to be growing up and discovering one’s self in that particular period.  For this assignment, you will choose an example of ONE medium, one from TWO of the decades noted below.  In other words, you will choose two books, two films, or two television programs, with one of the books, films, or programs coming from a particular decade and the other book, film, or television program coming from another decade.  You will compare and contrast the two examples in order to illuminate some aspects of adolescent culture that were prominent during that time period.

The decades you will be examining in this paper are the 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s, 2000’s, and 2010 until the present. I am not going to tell you what examples to choose, and you can readily locate lists of popular teen media from each of these decades on the Internet.  Lists of books, films, and television shows from each decade can be found on Wikipedia and other sources….just google “teen films (books, television shows) of the (insert decade here), or you might even look on for suggestions.  Again, the particular media items are up to you, but some examples might be as follows:


1970’s – American Graffiti, Fast Times at Ridgemont High
1980’s – Porky’s, Breakfast Club, 16 Candles
1990’s – Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You
2000’s – American Pie, Mean Girls
2010’s – Project X, Easy A

1970’s – The Outsiders
1980’s – Babysitters Club series
1990’s – Harry Potter series
2000’s – Twilight Series
2010’s – Hunger Games Series


1970’s – Brady Bunch, Partridge Family
1980’s – The Wonder Years, 21 Jump Street, Full House
1990’s – My So-Called Life, The Wonder Years (again!)
2000’s – Drake and Josh, Dawson’s Creek, 7th Heaven
2010’s – iCarly, Victorious, 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom

I would think you can find most films and television shows online (Netflix has a bunch).  Teen Nick, Nick at Night, and MTV are full of examples of current and relatively recent teen-oriented programs, and libraries are obviously good places to locate books!

Once you have picked your a) medium, b) 2 decades, and c) 2 examples, one from each decade, you will write a 5-7 page paper focusing on the following:

Describe the films, television shows, or books that you have seen or read.  What are the characters like?  What is the plot?  What are the central conflicts?
How do your films/books/shows depict teen life at that time?  What are the major things teens appear to be concerned with?  What are the major problems they appear to be facing?  Knowing what we have covered in the class so far, do you think your media examples address any critical areas of adolescent development?
How are parents, teachers and the larger society depicted in the movie (if at all)?
Do you think these media examples are accurate portrayals of adolescent life during that particular time  (I realize you were likely not there in the 70’s or 80’s if these are the decades you have chosen, but perhaps you could talk to older relatives or acquaintances about their recollections).
What differences between adolescent life in these differing decades can you observe?  In other words, how did teen culture in the 70’s differ from teen culture in the 90’s (or between whatever decades you have studied?)  What are the similarities you notice?  (In other words, are things more the same than they are different?)

The final paper will be 5-7 pages, double spaced, and is due during the third week of class.  Make sure to appropriately cite the books and websites you have used.

For Assignment 1, please include a reference page with an APA reference of AT LEAST the movie/book/TV show you’ve used for the paper.

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