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FF66FF: orphan home cornfield: or who lives alone in a cornfield?: 12/14/18
Midway through the orphan as traveler section of the road narrative spectrum is the home destination. When combined with the most dangerous or fantastical route, namely, the cornfield, weird things can happen.
The orphan as I've shown before is the most magical of travelers. They are the most protected from the dangers of the road, and if the trope is turned on its head, are the most dangerous of travelers to the road.
Home is in the middle of the road narrative destinations because it's so often in opposition to the road narrative. Travelers either leave home to go somewhere or are somewhere and want to get home. At the most extreme, they go somewhere impossible — a utopia — and need to get home. At the most banal, they leave home for the big city.
Home comes into play as the destination either for nostalgia — someone returning home after years away because they haven't found what they need or they have, and wish to make amends for previous trespasses against kith and kin at home. The prodigal son story is a classic example of the latter kind.
Or home can be used as a horror setting. Home should be safe from the road. If you're not putting yourself out there, danger should stay at bay. But sometimes horror comes home.
When home is placed in relationship to a path through the cornfield, it is either the start of a fantasy story or a horror story. What lies beyond the cornfield? Is it a path to the impossible — say a trip to Oz either by cyclone or by road?
An orphan at home in a cornfield could leave the safe and mundane, the safe space, for something unknown, potentially dangerous, and fantastical by crossing the cornfield. An orphan who choses to stay at home in a horror story will be visited by the fantastical and the dangerous that chose to cross the cornfield for a visit.
And then there's the twist of the dangerous orphan who calls the cornfield home. That's the premise of Wee Sister Strange by Holly Grant (2017). The picture book with a rather Dadaist poetic text follows a girl who lives by herself in the wilderness where she has numerous adventures: riding bears, climbing trees, escaping wolves, communing with owls, swimming in bogs, and so forth. But the innocent magic of that is called into question when she is drawn to a regular looking home where the very book you're reading is being read. On hearing her story, she makes a bed for herself in the yard of family and disappears, implying that she'll be heading to your yard soon to hear the story again.