Christopher Hatch, Old Vs. New Media

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Christopher Hatch, Old Vs. New Media

  1. 1. Hatch 1Christopher HatchProfessor Renee HobbsCOM 410: Children & Media28 September 2012 Old Vs. New: Children’s Media Trends, and peer pressure can be a powerful force to combat anything a parent has tosay, especially if it’s of the opposite opinion. I was not planning on choosing a book for mycomparison, yet as I sat here thinking to myself regarding which form of media to discuss, Isimply thought of my favorite form of media as a child; and there was my answer. I loved toread, sometimes flying through a three hundred page book in a single day at only eleven ortwelve years old. With that in mind, it was easy to pick out a specific title, deciding on myfavorite series growing up: Animorphs. Animorphs was written by K. A. Applegate and published by Scholastic, was a long andengaging story of six teenagers who acquire the ability to transform into any animal that they
  2. 2. Hatch 2touch. Using this power, they secretly fought an alien overtaking and infiltration of the planetearth. Each book was told in the first person perspective, with one character being the narratorfor each title. Animorphs was definitely geared for the 9-13, though I started reading themwhen I was seven, even though the series could be rather dark at times with its themes whichsometimes included war, horror, murder, morality, innocence, right vs. wrong, and betrayal. Finding a series to compare to Animorphs was much easier to think of than finding theinitial series to discuss. Animorphs started in 1996, when I was just six years old, and I readthem all within the next five years, stopping with the last book when I was eleven, and justbefore I began Harry Potter. When I thought of a series, immediate Twilight came to mind.Twilight was much simpler to come up with because it is much more recent, became muchmore popular than Animorphs ever did or will, and there is a film franchise still churning outmovies with the final one to be released this fall. Twilight, a four part series detailing the life of Bella Swan and her first love EdwardCullen, who happens to be a vampire. This quartet details the struggles of their relationship, as
  3. 3. Hatch 3well as opposition to their union from all fronts. Twilight was written for a typically femaleaudience for readers as young as twelve. Twilight focuses a lot on issues of love, loss, death,betrayal, freedom, and making your own decisions. Recently this series has been turned intofive films, with the last being released this fall. So why did I choose to compare these two, I’m not exactly sure, but I’m glad I did. Thefirst thing that I’d like to point out is the target audience. Animorphs has a very set pre-teenmale audience, which in my opinion is pretty inflexible. Any younger, and the reader lacks theskills to understand the book, and any older and it’s too childish, and there are moreappropriate books to take their place. Animorphs was written with a very specific age group inmind. Twilight however, geared towards female audiences as young as twelve, has a muchmore fluid audience range, with some reports that even forty year olds were reading the series. This brings into question that as time has gone on, has children’s media adapted toinclude themes and interests much more blatantly adult than media in the same genrepublished before? Animorphs definitely has some heavy themes that can be on the darker side,such as when one character discovers that the mother he thought died years ago is really aliveand the commanding alien of the takeover of earth. As dark as that sounds, the idea of a secretalien takeover is laughable, keeping the series in its appropriate age range. Twilight on theother hand is about vampires, an inherently adult subject. One of my favorite authors of alltime is Anne Rice, a brilliant novelist that lured readers into her dark, destructive, and intenselysexual depictions of vampires. True Blood, currently a television show on HBO that is based off
  4. 4. Hatch 4a series of novels still being published, that has been called “vampire soft-core porn” is anotherblatant example of vampires in a very adult context. For these novels to attract such a large age range there has to be elements too youngfor older reader, and elements too old for younger readers. I also ask,does children’s mediawith adult themes make children more interested in media exclusively meant for a much olderaudience? For example, would a child with a laptop secretly watch True Blood online becausethey read and saw the Twilight? I see a huge discrepancy with this issue of adult themes too young in my comparison ofthese novels published years apart. Animorphs in its time was more than likely consideredviolent, but left out themes of love, sex, and teen pregnancy, all which occur in Twilight. I wouldask if there was a series that managed to blend the best of both worlds for children and adults,as non-offensively as possible, but I already know the answer: Harry Potter, which did a greatjob of keeping all ages interested but was written in a way that younger readers would seemagic and good vs. evil as the main themes, but adults would catch all of the themes the kidsmissed. What once seemed to be age appropriate (Animorphs) has turned into a quest togather as many readers as possible with in my opinion no regard to the lowest age of theintended target audience.

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