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Road Essays
FF3366: orphans going offroad to rural places

FF3333: orphans in rural places along Blue Highways

FF3300: orphans left in rural places along interstates

FF00FF: orphans in the city by way of the cornfield

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FF3300: orphans left in rural places along interstates: 02/21/19

FF3300: orphans left in rural places along interstates

The last route to a rural destination for the orphan is the interstate or railroad. My one exemplar, The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee (2014) is actually via the railroad.

The orphan traveler is a lone traveler or a separated one or even a literal orphan. In the case of The Farmer and the Clown, the "orphan" in question is a young clown who has fallen off the back of a passing circus train.

More broadly speaking, this is where the orphan as traveler begins to dip into horror. The Farmer and the Clown isn't horror because the farmer is shown to be a caring, stand-in father figure for the clown for as long as they need to stay. Had the rural farm setting not been populated by someone willing to care for a child, then this narrative could easily become something one would find on Criminal Minds or in a horror novel.

The destination in this narrative is somewhere rural: a small town, a farm, etc. It must be populated. It must be recognizably touched by people. Without people, this destination would be higher up in the wildlands, but not as high as the cornfield, which while planted by man, has a power all its own.

For our example, the destination is a farm. It's a farm along the train tracks. It's otherwise implied to be far from civilization. It's far enough away that for the duration of this story, save for the passing of the train, it is populated only by the farmer and the orphan traveler.

Finally there is the route taken. The clown's arrival to the farm is on a circus train. The railroad with its fixed tracks and predictable (save for emergencies, weather, or other mishaps) timetable, serves the same safe, straightforward travel as the interstate. Thus the two modes of travel are grouped together.

Know of another book, tv episode, or film that fits into the his category? Let me know in the comments.

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