|Now||2023||Previous||Articles||Road Essays||Road Reviews||Author||Black Authors||Title||Source||Age||Genre||Series||Format||Inclusivity||LGBTA||Portfolio||Artwork||WIP|
FF99FF: Orphan wildlands cornfield: 10/25/18
Sometimes in the road narrative, the thing which protects needs protection or needs finding. Sometimes only a single person can accomplish that task, even if it means going through the most untamed places. That is the essential pieces of FF99FF, the orphan, wildlands cornfield.
One example of FF99FF is the children's book, Zinnia: How the Corn Was Saved by Patricia Hruby Powell (2003). Corn for the Diné is a sacred plant and Powell's book (also translated into Diné bizaad) is a retelling of how corn came to be recognized as the sacred plant it is.
In most of the cornfield narratives I read (or watched), the cornfield is already there and well established. It is a place on the map but of indeterminate size that serves as a barrier between worlds. It guards, it protects, it incarcerates (if the story is horror). Rarely, though, does it itself need protection.
In these previous narratives, though, they are all created by authors of extra-American descent. They are primarily written by white authors. Corn, while often associated with death and the underworld or the supernatural, is most often associated with death as evil or death as demonic among white and male authors.
The cornfield as crossing point to the supernatural among Latinx authors is more of a neutral experience. There are good and there are bad on the other side. To protect yourself when traveling, it's best to be willing to connect with your departed loved ones.
In Zinnia: How the Corn Was Saved, the story is about a time when the corn needed protection. It needed protection to protect and nourish the people. It is a reminder of one's duty to the land.
In other corn stories, the protagonists are almost never directly connected to the corn they travel through. Exceptions to this are Anthony from "It's a Good Life" by Jerome Baxter, where the keeper of the corn is the monster of the story, and Stephen King's "Children of the Corn." In the horror genre, monsters grow corn.
Zinnia is also notable for Red Bird's need to take a journey through the wildlands to find someone who will teach him how to save the corn as the crops have begun to fail. In other stories, the corn stands in opposition to the road. The road is predictable; the cornfield is not. But to find protection for the corn, one must turn away from man and look towards nature for guidance.