Friday, May 18, 2007

The Lost Prince


Edward VI ( as a child)
by Hans Holbein ( the Younger)

They claim many children have fantasies that they have been adopted, stolen away from their true, noble parents, etc., etc., as part of a natural search for identity and place, as well as an awareness, a recognition of incongruity between themselves and their environment.

Of course, sometimes it's purely immature egotism, and a natural lack of discrimination between what is possible and what is probable.

As we know - though I don't believe Edward (above) was the subject of them - both history and myth are replete with assorted precedential rumours of the scion of a noble house, the young champion, the hidden and substituted child who will some day come into his own.

So is literature.

In general, writers often believe they are special. May have privately held this belief from childhood.

So I wonder, in my idle fashion - setting aside the fact that the secret hero is, objectively, both a popular and an endearing subject - if the tropes and themes writers choose to pursue may have a relationship with a particular and personal childhood fantasy.

I never ascribed to that specific fantasy of abduction/adoption - even though I did not seem to resemble my parents - but my heroines do navigate an unfamiliar world and must ramp their natural ( inborn?) talents to survive.

Perhaps I merely adopt a variant of a central myth after all.

Can you identify or relate your own?

22 comments:

kmfrontain said...

There's a similar sort of thing with people who believe in past lives thinking they were some famous person. Problem is, they can't all have been the same famous person. I think the need to be an individual of merit comes into play here. When we write, we often write or read about individuals of merit, but most of us know we're enjoying a fantasy when we do this. Fanfiction is vicarious merit, same with fan groups (think Star Trek and persons who dress the role). The need to stand out may account for art, to some degree.

Bernita said...

That's a good observation, Karen.
A need for power of some kind, for respect.
Related to it is the Channeller - the Chosen to dispense wisdom from the Higher Beings.

writtenwyrdd said...

I'd have to weigh in on the side of tropes and themes in writing-- at least the earliest attempts, like Mary Sue quasi-biographical first novels-- come from our own personal mythos. I'd say that old imaginations at least haunt my work.

And kmfrontain, lol! It's so true, how many people believe they were Cleopatra or Napolean.

Bernita said...

And seldom an anonymous Cairo street thief, Written!

Carla said...

Maybe Really Famous People are allowed to be reincarnated from just a fragment of soul, thereby permitting multiple simultaneous reincarnations. Like that medieval saint who helpfully provided three copies of his body so that three different churches could have it.

Scott said...

I think we all just want to be somebody, and we freely borrow parts of past lives to suit our needs.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

As cliche as it is, I do explore issues with my father. I actually had a critiquer ask me, "Now here we have yet another dad who seems evil. I'm starting to think you have issues with your dad." I (not meaning to) stopped her in her tracks with, "Yeah, well, we're estranged."

When I was going through my midlife crisis a few years ago (I had mine at 34--I've always been an early achiever-hah) the characters I wrote were immortal. It's funny though--at the time of drafting I identified more with the twenty-some year olds. Now I identify more with the centurians. I guess I've matured. :)


I think there is actually a theory around fragmented souls--maybe not fragmented, but sort of an All is One, One is All type of mentallity. Interesting. Sounds like a fun theme to explore in fiction.

spyscribbler said...

I think my history creeps in. My childhood fantasies were not that I was adopted (since I was), and not that I had these great parents coming to swoop in (they were not anyone I'd want disrupting my life). More, I wished I could've lived in an orphanage, LOL, or a boarding school.

Not many schools in my fiction, but my characters have a curious tendency not to have parents at all.

Bernita said...

Saints were rather marvellous about their body parts, Carla.

And without effort, Scott, simply by "being" - since, unlike the hero, we know the Trials and the Quest are successful.


Not sure I would call that cliche, SS - more of "classic." Wonder if father issues are an identity variation of the child abandoned on the hillside for fear of their eventual power, etc.

Bernita said...

They always seemed to have so much fun and so many adventures in those boarding schools, Natasha!

raine said...

...writers often believe they are special...
You mean we're not?! :-O

...if the tropes and themes writers choose to pursue may have a relationship with a particular and personal childhood fantasy.

Oh, I think definitely.
It's more obvious with some people than others. Many, I think, actually use their writing as a form of self-therapy.
Just as I'm sure that feeling like I never 'belonged' in my family is one reason I don't have 'parents' in any of my stories--just rumors of them.

Very insightful post.

Steve G said...

Yes, interesting post. I have never thought about it. Not sure I will after the next post.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Raine.
Yes, parents are singularly absent from mine too.
I really should have included readers as well as part of the reason why the product is so popular - going and coming.

Steve, I don't pretend that my blog posts should shake your world, so your dismissal is quite natural.

Charles Gramlich said...

When I was young I used to think that I was "destined for great things," or that "soon people would realize my stellar qualities." I imagine these are quite common for youngsters.

Steve G said...

Thank you, Bernita. I'm just being honest.

Bernita said...

People are beginning to realize your stellar qualities now, Charles!

I imagine that thought comes with the first recognition that there is no one quite like you in the whole world, you are individual, unique > therefore great things!

jason evans said...

I tried to talk my mother into admitting that she had relations with another man, thus producing me. So far, she's denied it.

Seriously, though, I did (and do) feel a substantial disconnect from my parents.

December Quinn said...

Yeah, I was thinking of this not long ago when I realized almost all of my characters are either orphaned or had parents who neglected or abused them, and most of them are damaged and lonely people who find a way home.

Take what you will from that.

Bernita said...

Distance can't always be measured in miles, Jason, that's true.

"...lonely people who find a way home" - that is very nicely put, December,

EA Monroe said...

Bernita, I've been enjoying your posts, even though I haven't commented much lately. Too much going on in my life lately. I'm pretty sure your psychic abilities are at work, because a lot of your posts reflect what I've been talking about with friends, or thinking.

Maybe some of the "myths" spring from Jung's archtypes, or the "universal mind." I always like to think maybe "ancestral memory" plays a part, too. I use "ancestral memory" as myth in my neverending series.

~laughing~ Talk about real life conjuring up lost princes. I've recently discovered there is a "real life" case of lost princes and princesses in my own family. I'm working on a story about it.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Elizabeth.
Jung gets the blame for a lot; however, at times I do give credence to the genetic/ancestral memory.

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