Orphan Art Imitates Life

Why do you think that a movie like orphan got made in the first place?  Do you think that adoptees, orphans, foundlings, whatever you want to call us weren’t perceived as creepy before?  Don’t fool yourself.

Horror movies at their very heart are morality tales.  They work on appealing to our sense of order.  If something isn’t quite right, all hell can break loose.  That is the hook.

Horror works on universal fears.  The thing in the dark, the thing we don’t know, the thing in close proximity.  Orphans always work because they are all of those things.  We come from, if not a bad place, many times an unknown place.  We are born one thing and are expected to be another.  We are by our births and or abandonment, changelings.  That it is a bit creepy cannot be denied.

The movie Orphan is not playing to anything new.  Orphans are perceived as being not right, weird, something that needs to be fixed.  If they were not there would be no such thing as adoption.

I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I’m certain that it doesn’t differ from most other movies of the genre.  It’s good versus evil.  Most likely good intentions versus evil, and that’s the really scary part.  Especially for adoptive parents, I think.  It plays to their most basic fears concerning adoption.  What if good intentions can’t make it right?  What if they fail?  What if the orphan remains an orphan?  What if good really can’t fix evil?

As to the adoptees, the orphans, the foundlings that are upset by this preception, too bad, so sad.  Make no mistake, to some degree you are stuck with it.  We are different.  We do come from an unusual place.  This will always be perceived as somewhat creepy by some.  We do interfer with the general sense of order.

But it is just a movie.  Little Esther is no more real than Frankenstein.  She’s no more real than Damien, than Rhoda, than all the things in the dark.  She’s no more real than the foot steps in the hall that wake you at night.  She is just a figment of our collective imagination.

How powerful can that be?


24 thoughts on “Orphan Art Imitates Life

  1. It’s just a work of fiction. It’s no more or less appropriate than Juno… also a work of fiction. It’s funny how everyone wants to celebrate one and curse the other, and vice versa.

  2. Interesting analysis. However, may I remind you it was the “monster” and not Frankenstein that you are referring to above? But, that novel is a great social critique of “unwanted.” I’m not interested in seeing the movie either, it just looked stupid. And, it does give people a vibe about orphans.

  3. You bring up an interesting point, P2H. I’m usually the first one to jump on someone for confusing the doctor with the monster. I wonder if it was one of those unintended but telling slips on my part. The doctor, the creator, is really the scary one. Maybe I was thinking about the reanimation like aspect of adoption. I don’t know.

  4. ‘The reanimation aspect of adoption.’
    Yup. The monster as a manifestation of the monstrosity that lurks within Victor Frankenstein, the overarching hubris that seeks to reassemble nature and pretend that things are other than they are.

  5. Ok, please. Do not kid yourself that you are smart, though you obviously are trying to sound that way. This is a ridiculous unfound claim, that orphans and adoptees are “different, or weird, or alien. Honestly, until this movie came out I’d never heard anybody who thought that way. Until I read this article. Sure, we don’t “come from” the place that everybody else comes from, but what difference does that make? It really is all about who your raised by. Sure there are some cases where it doesn’t work out, or the adopted child/orphan still doesn’t turn out well but that it a rare circumstance, and usually the reason that happens is because the kid is shifted from foster home to foster home. I am adopted and my parents never treated me any differently than if I was their own child. And neither did anyone else in my life, and I never felt any different. Sure, us adopted kids often feel like there’s maybe a little piece of the puzzle missing, which is why so many go searching for there real families, but that is no reason they can’t live a normal fufilling life. I’ve also known many oprhans that no one was ever “afraid of” or treated differently. So stop making these ridiculous accusations, I highly doubt that that was what the writer of this movie was trying to convey. He is playing on your fears, but more on your fear of the unknown in general and on the fear of the loss of innocence. Which could happen in any child not an orphan. So yes, thank you for these unfounded accusations, they really make you sound smart….

    • “I never felt any different. Sure, us adopted kids often feel like there’s maybe a little piece of the puzzle missing, which is why so many go searching for there real families, but that is no reason they can’t live a normal fufilling life.”

      I won’t even go into pointing out the number of grammar and spelling mistakes made by someone who was calling someone out for trying to act smart. But I will point out the irony of saying that you never felt different but that you did feel like something was missing. You don’t think that’s different?

  6. ooooh someone sound the fog horn!


    No, really you are right Conseula, some of us were the “prettiest baby in the nursery, chosen special” by our adoptive parents and are even better than real kids.

    See Addie, you are not so smart 0=0 so stop pretending So there! 😛

  7. Someone got lost in the gaseous eminations of the rainbow farters aka “the fog”.

    Addie, you rock girly. And you’re Mensa group called, you’re membership is up for renewal.

  8. Well, I always was the dumbest kid in the smart class. Mara, they kicked me out of Mensa for chewing gum on line. The are really tough.

    Considering none of us have seen that movie yet, I’d say I was more musing on the reactions to what little we know about this movie. I’m thinking that my unfounded accusations about a movie actually being written will prove to be valid.

    And yes, Consuela, you are the specialist kid ever. Just like me. Just like everybody else. The fact that you were adopted is completely unremarkable and normal as you are.

    Oh and Kippa, quit using words like manifestation and hubris, you making me look dumb.

  9. “It really is all about who your raised by.”

    So why again is eggs and sperm the more ‘natural’ way to create a child, Consuela?

    You tell me why it’s such a big deal in adopto-land while the loss of fertility is still impacting the person directly, yet loses all credit once the adoption process has started. In other words, a person who is fertile will usually want a child ‘the normal way’ and so they will go pay for treatment. Once the first option is no longer an option, they will then seek for adoption and say that blood does not matter since they were able to adopt.

    Funny how that only works if the first option was eliminated from the board.

  10. I want to go to Adoptee Camp!!! High Five!!! We’re very special dontcha’ know?

    And anyway, it is much more important to be pretty than smart. *SNARK*

  11. Well Issy we are both pretty and smart so that choice never had to be made. Although my pretty is changing since I am a woman in my 40’s. It’s a different kind of beauty and just as fun.

    I just want to add even though it has nothing to do with this post that I am so glad to have my daughter back in my life and I never take it for granted.

    Addie maybe instead of G&T summer school you can just have a G&T (gin and tonic)?

  12. Oh hell yes Issy, we can be roomies at camp.

    Yes we are all pretty and smart.

    Oh and Issy, you don’t have any objection to going to gin and tonic camp instead of gifted and talented camp, do you? It sure sounds like more fun to me.

  13. If someone is only gifted and not talented, do they have gifted summer school? Does gifted and talented summer school mean for gifted people AND talented people. Are they saying one is both gifted and talented?


    Are they saying BOTH gifted AND talented people may attend this camp?

    And if your brother or sister isn’t gifted and talented nor gifted nor talented then do they go to normal summer camp?

    And which is it better to be, gifted or talented? Or gifted and talented at the same time.

    I mean really can one be gifted without being talented?

  14. I’m sure if my adoptive parents see the ad for the Orphan movie they will think of me, especially in my teen years.(oH but I forgot, I was the cutest baby in the nursery and that’s why they picked me)
    Actually I just posted that I’m an alien. But perhaps I’m more like Frankenstien.

  15. As a former orphan, I found the movie’s premise an insult to those children waiting for adoptions. But, I’m sure WB calculated and manipulated the marketing very carefully and knew exactly what the outcome would be.

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