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Topic: Farm Boy Protagonist

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Subject: Farm Boy Protagonist
Date Posted: 8/31/2009 2:01 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2008
Posts: 123
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Okay, if there's a way to do poles, I don't know of it. So I'm just going to ask the question, and then I really want to hear what y'all think.

There have been a lot of fantasy stories lately in which the main character is a fidgety, over-eager farm boy--Eragon and Luke Skywalker, for example. Now, I want to know if most readers are getting tired of that stereotype, or if they think there's room for more. Is it becoming cliche, or not?

 

Date Posted: 8/31/2009 3:11 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2009
Posts: 1,564
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I think it is definitely becoming a cliche.  That and the "poor neglected orphan girl" storyline as well!

Date Posted: 8/31/2009 9:25 PM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2009
Posts: 360
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There have been a lot of fantasy stories lately.....Luke Skywalker, for example.

Um, Star Wars came out  in '77. Not sure what your definition of "lately" is?

Paul H. (PaulH) - ,
Date Posted: 8/31/2009 11:21 PM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2008
Posts: 146
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It's been a cliche for a loooooong time... it's kind of a staple of the genre.  The oldest I can think of off hand are Tolkien's hobbits, but I'm sure there are older examples.

Date Posted: 9/1/2009 3:10 AM ET
Member Since: 5/26/2009
Posts: 4,368
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Hrm... I never thought of the hobbits as farm boys.  Got to remember though, not too long ago, this was a farming society.  The "farm boy" coming from dirt, rises above adversity and becomes the "hero".  Totally cliche yet it still tugs at the heart.  I think we subconciously relate to that farm boy more than we'd like to admit.

Date Posted: 9/1/2009 8:58 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2008
Posts: 123
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I didn't really have a definition of lately--just that I keep finding new ones. I agree with PaulH and Michael. In my opinion, the farm boy is a symbol of the 'ordinary work-a-day kid.' There's nothing special about him (that we see at first), and he's not rich and famous. He's just a regular guy.

Even though it's used a lot, I still like it a lot. Kind of like the, 'child goes to live in a big spooky house,' kind of story. I have read a dozen of those, butI still love 'em.

Date Posted: 9/2/2009 8:46 PM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2009
Posts: 360
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Yeah, sometimes the cliches stick around because they work! :-)

Date Posted: 9/10/2009 1:35 AM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2009
Posts: 112
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Trying to recall the earliest "farm boy goes to space" that I read, and the earliest I can recall is "Bill, The Galactic Hero".  I also thought of "Starman Jones", but I think he just loved in the boonies, and wasn't really a farmer.    There was also "Farmer In The Sky", but the boy went to space to become a farmer.  Same for a short story abpout a family that homesteads in the asteriod belt  (anyone recall the title or author of the short story).

Date Posted: 9/11/2009 10:46 AM ET
Member Since: 4/13/2009
Posts: 285
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It's a classic plot device, no doubt about it.  But there's always room for a well-written story.   My favorite version of the story is Elizabeth Moon's The Sheepherder's Daughter (Deed of Paksenarrion)

Date Posted: 9/12/2009 2:47 AM ET
Member Since: 5/26/2009
Posts: 4,368
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Tracy I love Paks and I can't wait for the new book(s) to come out!!! It will be a joy to revisit.

Date Posted: 9/14/2009 11:50 AM ET
Member Since: 4/13/2009
Posts: 285
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New books???!  Oh, I hadn't heard!  Thanks Michael.

I haven't been following Elizabeth Moon's new releases closely because most of her sci-fi doesn't really appeal to me (although I loved The Speed of Dark).  But a new book set in Paks' world is worth watching for.



Last Edited on: 9/14/09 11:53 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/14/2009 12:32 PM ET
Member Since: 11/17/2006
Posts: 182
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I think the farm boy protagonist/hero is a variation of a much broader "rags-to-riches", or "ordinary schmoe makes it big" theme that has been in literature forever, not just fantasy (Oliver Twist comes to mind).  It rings true and works for a lot of people because most of us are ordinary people, or maybe even poor, downtrodden people who dream of succeeding big somehow.
  It may be a little cliche, but it still works, especially with YA and kids' books.  Take Harry Potter for example - not a farm boy, but a poor mistreated orphan who becomes the hero.

Date Posted: 9/14/2009 1:21 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,476
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JB has struck the nail on the head. It gets past literature, or course.

Sunday morning found him, beneath the red light at her door/ With a bullet in his side he cried, Have you seen Mable Joy?/ Stunned and shaken someone answered, She don't live here no more./ She left this town four years ago. Said she was looking for/ Some Georgia farm boy.

(Mickey Newberry)