Orphans in Literature


At The New Inquiry, Alison Kinney examines the use of orphanhood in literature and what attracts readers to this narrative. She goes on to discuss the similarities and differences between orphans represented in literature, like Jane Eyre, and orphans in our real world:

Fairy tales of stolen infants resonate with those of us who come from countries where babies are trafficked, birth families cheated out of their custody, and in-country childless couples wish to adopt but are barred by the higher prices set on the international market. We’re angry at solutions that perpetuate the injustices and needs they purport to solve. We’re angry that many of us are indeed fictional orphans with falsified papers and origin stories, commodified by institutions which helped to destroy our birth families and make us orphans in the first place.

Olivia Wetzel is a student taking time off to live and work in San Francisco. If she could be any animal, she’d be a penguin. She’s never eaten pepperoni before, and one of her feet is a whole size bigger than the other. More from this author →