Orphans as Heroes

Discuss the June 2017 Book of the Month, Superhighway by Alex Fayman. Superhighway is the first book in the Superhighway Trilogy, so feel free to use this forum to discuss not only the first book but also the other books in the series.

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Storygamer88
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Re: Orphans as Heroes

Post by Storygamer88 »

I learned in my creative writing class in college that this was a common trope because it frees the writer from having to worry about parental or authority figures limiting the actions of the children. For example, how many parents would allow their kids to go off hunting horcruxes, within reason?

It also gives the protagonist an underdog background, which is nice.
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Post by Jeyran Main »

The ones already mentioned are quite good. I think the fact that authors use orphaned fictional characters sends a message.
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Post by rhiza021 »

Batman and Superman. Well,orphans in stories are either heroes or villains. Their past and how they were raised up without parents are what makes them more appealing.
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Post by e-tasana-williams »

Miriam Molina wrote:In Superhighway, Alex grows up without parents, an orphan since birth.
Harry Potter was also an orphan; his parents were killed by Voldemort when he was a mere baby.
It seems orphans are likely heroes because their life experiences give them compassion and readers easily empathize with them.
Would you know of other orphan/heroes in books and movies? I'm quite sure there are a lot.
I don't really see Alex as a hero in the book. He was born with supernatural ability, but not all of his choices were good, and they actually brought harm to others in some instances. A hero to me would be more likely to put his own desires on the back burner for the greater good. Alex, although quite generous with his ill-gotten gains, was immature and a bit selfish.
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Post by TheSeelieCourtJester »

I think the reason why orphans make such good heroes is because even though they feel alone, they still try to do the right thing. It doesn't mean they're perfect, and even they have doubts sometimes, probably more because they don't know where they came from. And in real life, there are a lot of instances where orphans don't end up being heroes; they do whatever it takes to survive, trampling on whoever gets in the way. There are also orphans who are heroes because they didn't have any choice, and would rather fight for themselves than fight for others.
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Post by gaporter »

I think that orphans as heroes is an overused trope. It's unoriginal at this point and makes the story boring because it's all been done before.

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Post by mamalui »

Being an orphan in itself is crippling because there is usually nobody there to look out for you. Nobody there to truly care about your well being and your direction in life. So when someone like that beats the odds its inspiring to say the list. Like Cinderella for instance.
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Post by VictoriaMcMillen »

I agree that orphans are built with much more than meets the eye and are capable of much more compassion than the average Joe. I recall orphan Annie, being the light of the orphanage. I cannot right now, recall other orphans as heroes.
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Post by Storm+ »

The literary tradition of orphans as heroes goes back hundreds of years. It occurs so often that you can find it in almost any series. Jane Eyre is an orphan. So is her counterpart, Bertha Mason. Frodo Baggins is an orphan. Practically every character in The 5th Wave is an orphan. The list goes on and on.

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Post by Eryn Bradshaw »

I think the orphan narrative is getting a little old. Why can't someone have parents who are alive and well and absolutely love them? Give the main character something else to fight for.
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Post by dbulkley »

I’m sure there are several examples out there. There’s of course Annie and Oliver. I do like the general idea regarding orphans rising up and overcoming adversity as long as it’s not overdone.
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Post by Atara Miles »

I'm glad someone mentioned Bruce Wayne near the top because he was the first character that came to mind and he is my favourite comic book character. I think that sense of loss, loneliness and abandonment (not intentional of course, but there nonetheless) awakens something inside everyone. In some cases it's not always good, as there are some that become the villains of the story with a background like that. It just proves how much of our experiences as children shape us as we grow older.

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