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The orphan connection.

Recently I was pondering on the seemingly endless array of orphans that appear in the greatest books [and movies] to ever grace their medium. Just think of one of the greatest authors of all time-Charles Dickens. More people may be familiar with Scrooge than any other literary character ever produced, and admittedly he was not an orphan [but he may as well have been], but the other books written by Charles Dickens all feature the most famous orphans ever. Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and Pip from Great Expectations.  How about Anne of Green Gables [make sure and spell Anne with an “E”] how well loved is she? Then there is Little Men by Louisa May Alcott. I love Little Women, but I may love Little Men even more.  Don’t forget about Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess. One of my favorite books of all time is The Outsiders, again …orphans. Switching to movies some really great movies are adapted from these same books. Oliver! made in 1968 by Carol Reed and Oliver Twist from 1948 by David Lean. Both outstanding productions.  David Copperfield [the 1935 version by George Cukor],  and Great Expectations [again David Lean]. These are all cinematic gems. As for the Anne of Green Gables treatment provided by Kevin Sullivan in 1985 and the sequel Anne of Avonlea in my opinion probably the best thing that Wonderworks ever produced [maybe all of public television!]. I must admit to some “guilty” favorites Annie the musical from 1982 and Pete’s Dragon starring Helen Reddy in 1977.  Actually, in these last two I love all the songs, and secondary characters {“Why anyone would wanna be an orphan is beyond me”-Miss Hannigan}. So, what is it about orphans that makes for some of the greatest storytelling ever? That their  circumstance is such that we already have a sentimental attachment? That they are just so spunky? I think that I can go on and on [and have], and still not get to the bottom of the great orphan connection.  So what do you think? Can you think of one of your favorite characters, that happens to be an orphan, Let me know.
Posted by Estel


  • Eric R
    Posted September 1, 2010 9:20 am 0Likes

    I’m with you Estel on the Anne of Green Gables that aired on PBS. Megan Follows played Anne impeccably! My wife and I have watched the series countless times and find ourselves often quoting the characters. (I especially like using Gilbert’s playfully affectionate nickname for Anne -‘Carrots’- from time to time for my red-headed wife. I’m just glad she doesn’t have a slate to break over my head if I mis-time using it!)
    I was thinking about a few other well-known orphans that have played larger-than-life roles in my imagination: Peter Parker as Spider-Man, Bruce Wayne as Batman, and Clark Kent as SuperMan.
    Your right: orphans seem to make some of the most compelling figures in the entertainment media!

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