The Atlantic

The Deeper Significance of the Mall on Stranger Things

The Netflix series reimagines the role that a shopping center can play in the lives of American teens—especially for its young female characters.
Source: Netflix

This story contains spoilers for Stranger Things 3.

When Stranger Things’ Eleven (played by Millie Bobby Brown) sets foot in her town’s brand-new mall for the first time, she is equally overwhelmed and dazzled. Her friend Max (Sadie Sink) steers her to The Gap and watches Eleven touch everything in sight. Finally, Eleven pauses to stare at a mannequin. “How do I know what I like?” the young, telekinetic girl asks. “You just try things on until you find something that feels like you. Not Hopper. Not Mike,” Max explains gently, referencing Eleven’s adoptive father and boyfriend. “You.”

Netflix’s nostalgic sci-fi series introduces significant changes in Season 3: It’s the summer of 1985, and the nerdy kids who once played have blossomed into mall-going tweens, albeit ones who face supernatural monsters and, a show steeped in 1980s culture, would add to this canon with its own montage.

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