Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Popularity of Orphan Lit Explained

Monday's Daily Beast included a great interview with Daniel Radcliffe, the actor who plays Harry Potter. The interviewer, Kevin Sessums, called Harry perhaps the most well known orphan in all of literature, and there is quite a genre of orphan literature. As you can tell from my effusive review yesterday, I am glad Ren of The Good Thief has joined ranks with Oliver Twist, Harry, Anne Shirley, and Pippi Longstocking. I've begun reading The Mysterious Benedict Society aloud to my kids at night. That too has an orphaned protagonist. Why have I fallen for so many orphans? I certainly never envied their circumstances. Daniel Radcliffe gives some insight by quoting James Carville of all people, who said that Americans love an underdog but hate a loser. As far as explanations go, that works for me.

1 comment:

Karen Harrington said...

Good subject. I've studied Joseph Campbell and The Hero's Journey and your points are right out of those conclusions. And when you look at movies, too, it's the same thing - Luke Skywalker, James and the Giant Peach, Top Gun, An Officer and a Gentleman, Wizard of Oz. We must all identify with orphans in some way.

Thanks for the tip about the children's book about fog! Always looking for new ones for my tots!

Oh, and I LOVE your post on Punxsatawney. I have to admit, I've actually been to Gobbler's Knob for the unveiling of Phil. :)