- All female.
- All in upper grades of high school.
- All attractive, but someone is always "naturally
- All "abandoned" by adults (they don't play a
major role in any of the books, unless as an evil or not-understanding
- In 4/5 books, the central character is a good student.
- All very social or close with their friends.
- All surrounded by good-looking guys.
- The central character is either super shallow (cheerleader
type) or super involved in the lives of others (caring about
all those around her).
- There are one or two in each book.
- Gender: one or the other.
- They are humans, ghosts, vampires, werewolves; all are
partially human but supernatural.
- Tend to be recognizably evil early on.
- Half seem to be repentant or feel sorry, half don't.
- Great variability in villains--no formula, which makes
it suspenseful--we can't guess from the start.
- The protagonist is almost always "the new girl,"
who moves to the Fear Street area. Everyone in the books
lives on or near Fear Street. She is always beautiful. She
does everything she can to fit in with the popular crowd,
and she succeeds. All of the characters in the books are
young teenagers. The books usually have a party or big social
event of some kind (carnival, camp, etc.), where the protagonist
is involved and there is no adult supervision. Weird things
happen at the event. One or more people get killed or seriously
injured. Suspicion flies, and everyone suspects everyone
else. There is usually a stock character who is suspicious/shifty,
who typically draws most of the suspicion. This is usually
a male. As it turns out, this person isn't the one who did
all of the evil things. It is at this time that the protagonist
usually discovers a cute boy, and he likes her too. There
is usually a twist at the end, and the person who is least
suspected "did it." We found that there were common
elements in the way.
- The characters died--many of them are water deaths, and
- There were some deviations to this plot line, especially
in three of the books we looked at, but only because they
were a series, and so, by the third book, the character
was no longer new, and was already a part of the popular
crowd. If all of the books were combined into a "super
Fear Street novel," the plot line would stand. We found
that the topics (of evil) in the books ranged from demonic
possession, to vampirism, to insanity. In the books where
the chapters were named, the entire plot line was told in
the titles of the chapters.
- From other groups:
- Money caused a major problem in 3/5 books.
- Murder was involved in the lives of 4/5 books.
- All central characters are always in serious danger at
some point in the book.
- In all books, the central character was involved in a
Structure of Fear
- Mini-climaxes keep your adrenalin running throughout the
- Two basic types: mystery and paranormal.
- A lot of foreshadowing.
- Death is assumed to be scary.
- There is always some relationship to the past: flashback,
or solving a mystery of the past.
- We noticed that in all of our Fear Street books, the style
of writing was very similar. The sentences were very short.
The words were mainly monosyllabic, and there were an excessive
amount of paragraphs. Just looking at one page of the books,
you can see indents all down the page. The reason for all
these paragraphs is because the Fear Street books do not
rely on a lot of descriptive paragraphs, almost the whole
of each novel is written in dialogue form. The punctuation
is also very simple: there are no semi-colons, or dashes;
the only punctuation is periods, exclamation marks, and
commas. The chapters are also very short, sometimes only
a page and a half.
- We also came to the conclusion that these books are very
colloquial; this would also be because they have so much
dialogue in them.
- We came to the conclusions that the Fear Street books
were very fast-paced, the events were short and occurred
one after the other. The books could be called short (paragraphs,
chapters, sentences) and non-descriptive.
- The fact that the books are non-descriptive allows the
reader some room to use their own imagination. The reader
can imagine the setting, what the characters look like,
the tones of their voices, what they are wearing, etc. The
fact that the book is very non-descriptive makes it seem
like it is impersonal and non-caring.
- His intended audience is young readers which explains
why he uses simple vocabulary, and sentence structure. It
also helps to keep the chapters short, because most readers
at least finish the chapter they are reading before they
put the book down. The novels are very uncomplicated and
easy to read.
- Use of Fear Street, Fear Street Mansion, or Fear Street
- All have some connection with Fear Street (they live there,
their boyfriend/friend/family members live there, they have
to walk down the street when it's dark, etc).
- Takes place in Shadyside or main character is from Shadyside.
- Bad things happen to the central character during bad
weather (thunderstorms, mainly).
Values and Meanings
- Middle-class American values: family, etc.
- Poor people and rich people stay that way--firm class
structure in place.
- It's negative to be poor; money matters.
- Attractive girl protagonist gets guy in the end.
- BUT: appearances are deceiving.
- Main character does not deserve what happens to her; she
- Evil never wins?
- Bad people deserve to be punished.