Who is Ryan Atwood? Social Mobility and the Class Chameleon in The OC

Elizabeth Bullen


In the first season of the Fox television series, The OC (2003–2004), a teenager from the wrong side of the tracks finds himself in wealthy Newport Beach, Orange County — the OC of the title. Rescued from an implied future of juvenile delinquency, 16-year-old Ryan Atwood is at first perceived to be a threat to this world of luxury, ostentation and conspicuous consumption. Over the course of the season, Ryan is able to win the heart of rich girl-next-door, the troubled Marissa Cooper, and, it seems, transcend his class origins.

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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680