There's an empty place in the American literary canon where orphan stories belong. With the shift away from orphanages that began in the ‘60s during the Civil Rights Movement, the unclaimed baggage of America's underclass became invisible, swept under the shifting rug of foster care where the word "love" isn't in the contract. The American orphan has also been kept in the literary shadows. Are we too much of a contradiction to this country's shiny image of prosperity? Were our buildings embarrassing monuments to social failure?
Quick, hide the evidence.
Lacking authentic orphan stories, Americans have been pacified on a synthetic diet of mostly foreign tales like The Harry Potter series and Slum Dog Millionaire. Even Good Will Hunting thuds with inauthenticity.
There are no magic solutions. Orphans don't win lotteries. We aren't geniuses. Though honest efforts of creative excellence, these works were nevertheless created by non-orphans who lack the depth to articulate an authentic experience of a child abandoned to the state.
We deserve better than caricatures like Little Orphan Annie and Huckleberry Finn. We need realistic truth, not Horatio Alger exploitation.
We are today a mix of creeds and races numbering more than ten million. We are part of the national landscape, and we didn't just beam down. We came from somewhere, and deserve an authentic literary presence.
Besides, who knows what new avenues to success will emerge when some light is thrown onto this unexplored social realm?
Causes Monty Heying Supports