Monday, January 15, 2007

Abduction stories

Town Musician

Since I punctured my finger with a sliver of glass, I can't write as much as I would like. It still hurts a little.

The story of the two boys missing in Missouri started me on thinking about a couple of Grimm's fairy tales. One is the Pied Piper of Hamlin. The other is the story of Hansel and Gretel. Both stories are abduction stories.

So how is it possible that children are unable to walk away from an abduction? Are they too trusting, or is there really something different at work. With Hansel and Gretel it is quite certain that they knew that no one wanted them. So, they knew that the witch was their only hope for survival as long as they were being fed. It was also quite plain that they were able to escape when the time was right.

So, why were the children in the Pied Piper story not able to save themselves? I think they were pulled along by the sway of the group, and they too needed the Piper for survival. The difference was that they were in a large group of children, and as such they felt safety in numbers.

Why did boys like Steve Stayner and the older Missouri boy Shawn Hornbeck not seem to be able to save themselves by walking away? They had no choice. Their survival depended on the man who had kidnapped them. Steve Stayner was told at the time that his parents didn't want him anymore. He believed the abductor. In the case of Shawn Hornbeck an equally discouraging story must have been told him. Kids have a way to interpret things that don't allow them to leave the person of authority. It must be a basic survival mechanism. It takes a lot of independence to strike out on your own.

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