Rabe's orphans are twins, living with separate (but neighboring) aunts and uncles until both uncles die in the same car accident and--this being hard times (1930s Missouri)--the aunts can't manage any extra kids. Shipped off to another aunt in St. Louis who ducks out on them, the children spend a night in an overcrowded orphanage before returning ""home"" to their ""G-Mama"" who probably won't be allowed to keep them if Erica, the lady sheriff, gets wind of G-Mama's broken hip. Through all the moving and deliberating, clinging sister Eva is terrified of being abandoned and her brother, Little Adam, takes on himself the manly burden of responsibility and bluff; later, coping at G-Mama's, Eva gains in confidence but Adam, the story's central character, is even more hung up on his manly image. A dust jacket quote ties this in with Rabe's view of how the two sexes face adversity; however, Eva's personality is not in the least rounded, and though we know and like Little Adam much better, we never get far beneath his frequently evoked ""little man"" pose. Nevertheless, the children's plight and their fears will win them allies; and though this ends almost as unrealistically as Branscum's . . . Hickory Stick (above)--sympathetic sheriff Erica adopts the twins and takes in G-Mama too--there is a good deal more texture to The Orphans.