Lonely children

Jacob Proffitt Jacob at Proffitt.com
Wed Jan 24 02:00:38 EST 2001


On Tue, 23 Jan 2001 23:46:37 -0500 (EST), M Elizabeth Parks wrote:

>Really, on thinking about it, an awful lot of kids' fantasy is 
>written about only or lonely children. Kind of target market for the 
>genre...
>
>Nat
>--
>My children's lit prof had a spiel on this.  She says that so many books
>are written about orphans because one of the young adolescent's biggest
>fears is being alone, esp. in the case of losing parents.  Thus you have
>both teh books about orphans who get along well on their own--think Harry
>Potter--and the survival books, like Hatchet by Gary Paulsen which I
>never liked, which have kids surviving on their own in wilderness.  I
>think that if you think about it, most kids books--with teh possible
>exception of the baby sitters clubs type--is about kids being on their own
>in someway--either because of an alienating physical or persoanl trait or
>because they've lost their family or friends to something, be it death or
>moving.  At the end of most books, they've found some way of relating to
>the world again--and not just in fantasy.

My girls like to make up games where they are the little orphans.  I don't
think it is fear, I think it is wishful thinking.  Seriously, you have to
get rid of the parents if you want the kids to have any autonomy at all.  A
lot of the problems in kids books would be solved way too easily by an
attentive parent.

As for loner heroes, well, that's another thing altogether.  I think this
might be a function of audience self-selection.  I'm an avid reader.  I'm a
loner.  Loner books appeal to me.  I think many avid readers consider
themselves to some extent to be different or strange compared to the other
kids.  I mean, if you're involved with all the other kids, you don't have
that much time to read.  How many of us commented on an earlier thread about
how different we were from the other kids?
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