Visible Only in Literature


From Cinderella and Oliver Twist to Anne of Green Gables and Harry Potter, Etan Smallman muses on the paradox of why so many of literature’s most celebrated protagonists are orphans:

Many of the most powerful characters in our best-loved stories are orphaned, adopted, fostered, or found. At the same time, many of the most powerless citizens in our society are orphaned, adopted, or fostered children, and the marginalised adults that so many become. Why have so few of us even noticed this centuries-old disparity?

Katie O'Brien is an English major at Cornell University, where she writes for kitsch magazine, DJs for a rock station, and complains about the cold. Find her on Twitter @abluekite. More from this author →