Thursday, April 19, 2007

Orphan Fetish

So I noticed something when I was gazing into the Boarders near the bus stop and gazing at the Jr. Fiction shelves: Nearly all of the major heroes or heroines for young pre-teens are orphans. Think about it: Matilda, Harry Potter, the Boxcar Children, Lemony Snickett's threesome of siblings, the rebellious Lord of the Flies children, even dating back to Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer -- the Narnia kids were not literally orphans, but wherever their nefariously religious plot may have led them, it began by their absent parents dropping them off at the old professor's house.

My theory is that these stories lead a narrative of the rebellious child striking out on his or her own, making way in the world without supervision of an adult. I have no idea what the psychological ramifcations of this might be, but I suspect that it's a way for children to act out a sort of fantasy.

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