Society’s Foundlings has been called “A modern day Outsiders” by a few reviewers. There are parallels that could be drawn, whether it is the financial situation the characters live in and their relationships to each other, as well as their relationship to others from a different socioeconomic status, especially Sampson and Nicole Brennerman. In a recent blog post on Pipe & Thimble, I even mentioned my book would probably be banned for the same reasons The Outsiders was banned.
The title itself, Society’s Foundlings, holds a similar meaning and can often evoke a similar feeling or reaction to “The Outsiders.” When searching for a title, I wracked my brain for a good one that emphasized the meaning behind the story. I played around with titles like “The Lost Boys,” and eventually wound up looking up synonyms to “orphans.” Orphans, of course, did not sit well because the issue was not that they were without an influence of the society around them or orphaned from their families.
What it boiled down to was abandonment. They felt abandoned by the society around them and each other. That’s when I remembered the term from Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. A foundling is someone who has been abandoned by their parents and is discovered and cared for by others. Though, not necessarily in the everyday vernacular, the obscure term seemed a perfect fit for my four boys.
They feel very much, as Gina Capobianco puts it in one of her poems from her new book, Conscious Connection,
“I am an outsider in a world that surrounds me.
Watching, but never truly a part,
Fading in and out of the scenery,
I long for permanence.
Long to belong somewhere, anywhere.”
And, we see this in many ways. Between the invisibility felt by Math, Sampson’s views of teachers/his father and his father’s apartment/bosses, and, more subtly, the lack of anyone outside his core group of friends, except Amy Bishop, mentioned by Clem.
One of the main differences, though between S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders and my Society’s Foundlings, though, comes from not only feeling outside of “a world that surrounds me,” but also feeling as though that world has completely abandoned them. It’s not just the outside looking in, but the idea of loss, whether it’s something they once had like Carver and Sampson’s relationship or it’s something they never had but know was or should be possible like Math and his relationship to his father, or is something they’d like to have like Carver and Ophelia or Sampson and Nicole, or even is something they don’t feel like they have, like Clem’s insecurity about where he stands with his group of friends.
A title is an essential aspect to a book. It can be just as important to hook the readers and the blurb on the back, the cover, and the opening lines. And, where S.E. Hinton’s book and mine share some similarities, as the titles suggest, they are very much a different read.
Gathering dust in the depths of my mind, random thoughts dusted off and put out there for the world to see...