Comment on how adoption is portrayed in fiction, either as a fiction reader or writer. Adoption in classic fiction often centers on the orphan experience, from Oliver Twist and Little Men, to orphan Jane Eyre living with her aunt and cousins. Today there’s the Twilight series and others that use adoption to explain “families” comprised of various vampires. Talk about other examples of adoption used as a plot device in fiction. What types of adoption stories or adopted characters have resonated with you? Or haven’t? Are the feelings and experiences described authentically, accurately? Discuss. As a writer, do you have a fictional adopted character? What issues is this character dealing with? What is their deepest secret or desire? If you have a desire to educate your readers about adoption, what do you want them to learn?
I have yet to read a popular book that portrays adoption in fiction that has reflected on how I feel. That’s not to say that nobody feels that way; no two adoptees really feel the same about various things after all But still, I haven’t seen anything that comes particularly close.
I think that adoption is this thing that tends to draw people in. It’s something that non-adopted people fantasize about. Who doesn’t wish they had a different family from time to time? It’s fascinating, a social experiment really. So it crops up in the media. Disney movies are filled with adoption (or adoption-like story lines , TV shows use adoption as a plot point, and writers love to write about the poor orphan child. And people buy into it, and they read it, even though most of the popular writers aren’t actually adopted.
I never felt a kinship with Anne of Green Gables. I never felt like Cinderella being forced to work rather than being loved. I don’t identify with Jane Eyre. And I don’t think I can really relate to Alice Cullen. My story is very different from theirs. I don’t feel as though I’ve been saved, something that I think is a valid theme in all of these stories.
I tend to shy away from adoption related books. It’s funny but when I was a kid, I never picked up on the adoption themes. I never really considered it. I mean, Anne of Green Gables never had to change her name. She didn’t become Anne Cuthbert; she remained Anne Shirley. Cinderella was my favorite fairy tale growing up, but I never considered her to be adopted though now I see the adoption themes (as in she was not raised by her biological family). Jane Eyre was sent away and poorly abused. I never felt like she did. The Cullen’s are vampires. I’m not. Now when I know there is a major adoption theme in a book, I tend to avoid it. I live it everyday. I use books as a means to escape my life, not relive it with another set of circumstances.
Maybe someday I’ll be more willing to delve into adoption related fiction. But right now, I’m sticking to non-adoption goodness. I’m currently reading Emma. What’s on your plate reading-wise right now?