Created By: dragonslip on September 4, 2012 Last Edited By: dragonslip on September 5, 2012
Nuked

The three eternal youths

This is the three physical ages people who are suppose have eternal youth are described as being

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Fiction is chocked full of people who for one reason or another have been blessed…. or cursed with eternal youth. The problem with this is that exactly how old is “eternal youth”?

Basically “eternal youth” means “fully physically mature but not subject to the deterioration of age”. The problem you face when casting such a character for a film or even just describing them in a novel is deciding a what age in real life people are fully physically mature but not subject to deterioration of age yet? How would you find out such thing? What does that mean exactly, what qualifies as “deterioration”? Is it even the same for all people? Does it even exist in the real world?

Given the difficulty of saying exactly when the human prime of life is typically when forced to pick an exact age for casting or what ever, people will typicaly go with one of three age ranges

[[Number one, ages 16-21]]

despite patchy facial hair and skinniness being evidence to the contrary, writers often choose late adolescence as the age of eternal youth because the typical path from the cradle to the grave in western civilisation make it feel like it is owing to it being the one time in your life for many, when you’re allowed to enjoy adult pleasures like sex or drinking but yet at the same time don’t have very many responsibilities like a family or financial independence, to worry about.

[[Number two, age 25]]

Twenty five is often the age of eternal youth because common sense it’s around that sort of age

[[Number three, ages 35-50]]

despite the odd gray hair and wrinkle, early middle age is often presented to us as the age of eternal youth because often people with internal youth in fiction are meant to be hundreds of years old and very wise and it’s hard to believe a person’s wise if it looks like they need to take an ID to get into bars

Examples (Number one):

Literature
  • in the Ringworld books we’re told that by the 29th century mankind has developed a drug that prevents people aging past physical maturity which apparently is reached at 19 according to the descriptions of Louis Gridley Wu
  • although the characters in Logan’sRun don’t have eternal youth they do all get killed when they reach the end of physical youth which is apparently at 21

Examples (Number two):

film
  • the film In Time is set in a world where nobody ages past 25 physically and has to buy more time past that age to avoid being murdered by the state
  • the film Immortals somewhat unusually casts young looking actors to play the Greek gods


literature
  • in The Riverworld books every human who ever lived is revived on an alien plant after death with their youth restored. People are described as looking 25 years old

Examples (Number three):

film
  • john In The Man from Earth is suppose to be a somewhat wise 14000 year old man and stopped aging at 35
  • most of the immortals in the Highlander franchise fall within this range

Community Feedback Replies: 28
  • September 4, 2012
    captainpat
  • September 4, 2012
    dragonslip
    @captainpat

    no, it's not at all
  • September 4, 2012
    Jordan
    First, you mean "eternal youth" not "internal youth" (which I guess means that you are young on the inside)

    I'd have to say that this Immortality Begins At Twenty (at least the first two types probably are), or at least it is close to it.
  • September 4, 2012
    dragonslip
    @Jordan

    this the diffrent ways Immortality Begins At Twenty is presented
  • September 4, 2012
    captainpat
    So other than presentation this is Immortality Begins At Twenty?
  • September 4, 2012
    Tallens
    I'm inclined to agree with the other two. Unless you can produce a compelling argument for how it's different.
  • September 4, 2012
    dragonslip
    Captainpat

    No, Immortality Begins At Twenty is a concept this is it's different physical presentations

    There not the same thing shown differently as you seem to think

    Tallens

    I do no write flowingly lightly: "I'm inclined to agree with the other two" that is only because you fail to understand what this is

  • September 4, 2012
    Routerie
    You haven't offered any proper distinction between number one and two. So it seems we have now "People who have eternal youth either obey Immortality Begins At Twenty or they are some older age that is not yet truly old."
  • September 4, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    "...we all know that...", "...it is common sense that...", "...obviously..." etc. are red flags that this sentence (and all that follow it) should be read with extreme skepticism. Just say what you mean, please, instead of "what I am about to say is true". If you are about to hit "send" on something like that, consider the possibilities that it's A) wrong, or B) way more complicated than it's being made out to be. (For example, note that there are many different kinds of Immortality, which is an interesting conversation.) That sentence could easily be rephrased to avoid making sweeping generalizations.

    See also: Word Cruft.
  • September 4, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    It is 3:1 (5:1 if you count the posts after the defensive "that is only because you fail to understand what this is") people saying "We Already Have This One" and they're the ones who don't understand? That is pretty arrogant.
  • September 4, 2012
    dragonslip
    @rodneyAnonymous

    "That is pretty arrogant"

    I'm sorry but I really really think thats the case

  • September 4, 2012
    abk0100
    When Superman is established to age at a slower rate, he usually stops aging somewhere around category 3. Examples I can think of right now: The Dark Knight Returns, Batman Beyond
  • September 4, 2012
    dragonslip
    @Routerie

    I've offered 4 years distinction

  • September 4, 2012
    Routerie
    That is not a distinction. The first range is itself more than four years, and the third is 15 years.
  • September 4, 2012
    dragonslip
    @Routerie

    Ok then, the distraction is that you're in school and university during the first range where as you're past is that by 25 (unless you're trying to be a brain surgeon or something I guess)

  • September 4, 2012
    Routerie
    Okay, but now we've pretty much covered all ages. "If you have eternal youth, you can either be in school or university, or a twenty-something, or a thirty-something or older." So, I guess this is "If you have eternal youth, you are not old?"
  • September 4, 2012
    abk0100
    Doesn't Dorian Gray stop aging at around 25? I can't find a number anyway, but it seems like it was close to that.

    This does overlap a lot with the examples on Immortality Begins At Twenty. Maybe instead of making a new trope, we can just categorize Immortality Begins At Twenty the same way you're doing here.
  • September 4, 2012
    Jordan
    There actually is one thing I think might be potentially tropeworthy here- Besides Immortality Begins At Twenty and The Older Immortal, IMO, the other tendency with immortal characters is to have their visual age be difficult to judge, which in casting/animation tends to mean features that are ambiguously between youth and middle age. In print, there will often be descriptions of old looking eyes in a young face.
  • September 4, 2012
    dragonslip
    "but now we've pretty much covered all ages" that was the point
  • September 4, 2012
    cygnavamp
    Twilight (turns head and spits) would fit under Type One.
  • September 4, 2012
    cygnavamp
    Come to think of it, there seems to be a fourth eternal youth, 8-12 years of age. (Younger immortals are very rare indeed.) Interview With A Vampire and Let The Right One In both feature child vampires. There was an episode of Highlander that featured a child immortal who had gone insane. Peter Pan is a more light-hearted example because he doesn't age mentally or emotionally either.
  • September 5, 2012
    dragonslip
    cygnavamp

    That's something different
  • September 5, 2012
    captainpat
  • September 5, 2012
    kyeo
    Yeah, there's totally no need for this.
  • September 5, 2012
    Routerie
    So, if you do not age, you may be frozen in early adolescence. You may be in school or in college. You may be in your twenties. You may be in your thirties. You may be middle-aged but not yet old. And if we were to remove the "eternal youth" restriction, you might be frozen as someone older as well.

    So, this trope doesn't seem to say much of anything.
  • September 5, 2012
    dragonslip
    @Routerie

    IS SAYS WHY THE CHOICES ARE MADE

    kyeo

    WHY?
  • September 5, 2012
    Routerie
    Okay, that's fine, but those reasons belong on the corresponding trope pages. "The reasons a story may choose each of several subtropes" is not itself a trope. You could maybe add some of this analysis to the main Immortality page though.
  • September 5, 2012
    dragonslip
    @Routerie

    "several subtropes" these are not subtropes yet

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=741evl4orh5p1iekv80szj2s&trope=DiscardedYKTTW