This week, I want to take a step back from Flat Stan’s adventures and analyze the millennial qualities of Flat Stanley. First of all, Flat Stanley was created as the main character of a children’s book (1964), in which he has to live life as a completely flat person. But, in 1995, a teacher in England created the Flat Stanley Project in order to encourage pen-pals among students as they document where they have been with Flat Stanley. Already, this project exhibited millennial traits as it promoted globalization and “connectedness.” Children from completely different cultures used Flat Stanley as a medium to connect and share their experiences. As Strauss and Howe said, the millennial generation strives to stay connected and continues to become more globally intertwined.
As time passed, the Flat Stanley project evolved with technology, and adapted to the technological advances that now characterize the millennial generation. Instead of sending letters, students began to write emails with photos of themselves and Flat Stanley attached to the message. The process quickly became totally millennialized, as students could connect with each other after just a click of a mouse.
With internet capabilities, the need for a pen-pal, or anyone on the receiving end at all, became unnecessary. People could simply put pictures of themselves and Flat Stan up on the internet, and everyone could see it. Now, celebrities and political leaders have begun to participate in the Flat Stanley project to spread the message of literacy and globalization. For me, Flat Stanley serves two purposes at once. He serves as a medium through which I can document some of my experiences at Middlebury, while he is also an embodiment of millenialization himself.