Stranger Longings: Belonging and Adoption in Stranger Things 2
Stranger Things 2 feels like coming home, even though many characters are still searching for it. Will is stalked by trauma; Mike is pulled between survivor’s guilt and hope; Max faces abuse; Hopper has a secret that hurts to keep; even Dustin’s dance-floor dread points to the desire to belong. Then there’s Eleven, who aches deeply for a home she’s never had.
Eleven experiences a taste of friendship (and something more) with Mike, companionship with the other boys, and even glimpses of Joyce’s maternal love in season one, but now she wants more of that community—and it’s denied her. She’s confined to a cabin for her own safety, and the only person she gets to see is Hopper. Her frustration builds with every moment she has to spend by herself, every time Hopper is late, every time she remembers her lost friendships. Eleven longs for somewhere to belong more than most, though almost every character in Stranger Things 2 mirrors this struggle in some way.