IHS Fandoms based off literature? Yes, please!

A new trend at Irvington High may be the ultimate wish-come-true for English teachers

By Hugo Vera


An obsession based off a popular tv-show, movie, or book that often results in t-shirts, memes, and unlikely friendships.

        In today’s world, we are overwhelmed by a plethora of fandoms. I cannot walk through the hallways of IHS without seeing at least one t-shirt with images of “The Walking Dead”, “Breaking Bad” or “Dr. Who” printed on them. All over Facebook, status-posts and memes dominate my newsfeed with memes about Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, and sure enough I click “like” on every one I see. No one can quite pinpoint when this phenomenon began, but the truth is obvious: fandoms have taken over the world. Once regarded as “nerdy” and “geeky”, it almost seems as though you have to be in a fandom in order to fit in at school. Especially at Irvington, we can see the many cliques based off fandoms. At one corner you have your “Whovians”, at the other you have your “Potterheads”, followed by the “Walkers”, later the “Tributes”, and if you look really closely in my hypothetical scope you can see a fight break out between members of “Team Walt” and “Team Jesse”. Spoiler alert: they hug it out in the end.

      The funny thing is, I have only seen successful fandoms come from novels that are not considered “academic” enough to be taught in schools such as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter saga and Suzanne Collins’ explosive trilogy of The Hunger Games.

      Until now. Until I met Mr. Phillips’ second period English 12 class.

      It all began when this group of seniors began reading George Orwell’s 1984. 1984 is a cautionary classic tale about life in totalitarian England, where freedom is a memory and a political party known as INGSOC rules over all of mankind under the three mantras “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength”. It’s the kind of drama that inspires such things like fandoms. However, students have never seemed to think of the books they read as potential fandoms, most likely because the book gives them enough schoolwork as it is and thus they want no reminder of it. But at last, these students finally figured, “What the heck? I have to read this book, so I minus well enjoy it”, and thus the 1984-fandom at IHS was born. The students became so immersed in the dystopian tale that they have gone as far as to design and order black t-shirts with INGSOC’s logo printed on the front, and the three mantras printed on the back. When I asked senior Krishna Basude about how he got the idea to create this fandom, he replied with this.

    “I got the idea from an obsession of the book and a strange fascination with the philosophy of the book. I think it’s a quirky and fun way to show off a student’s obsession with the book”.

     And why shouldn’t it be? English teachers have struggled immensely to get their students to show the smallest ounce of enthusiasm towards their required readings. And at last, via fandoms, students are enjoying reading and celebrating their newfound literature-based fandoms. It’s a “win-win” scenario as now both teacher and student alike cannot wait to discuss and dissect every aspect of the books they read.

     Mr. Phillips’ second period currently has 20 confirmed orders for their 1984-fandom t-shirts. Make that 21. I just couldn’t resist ordering one, and I’m not even in that class! And that, my reader, is why all novels should become fandoms.


Photo: www.wikipedia.org  The INGSOC logo from the film "1984" that will be printed on the front of the seniors' t-shirts.
Photo: www.wikipedia.org
The INGSOC logo from the film “1984” that will be printed on the front of the seniors’ t-shirts.