Ellen Foster Character Analysis

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Ellen Foster is a bildungsroman by Kaye Gibbons, dealing with a young girl named Ellen whose troubled family affected her, as well as her views on life and the world she lives in. Her views on the five pillars, school, self, family, society, and faith, are greatly affected. The pillar of family most impacts Ellen because her struggles with her biological family cause her to reach out to others and leads to her acceptance in diversity of race, lifestyle, and background. At the beginning of the novel, Ellen is unable to understand the importance of family. Due to her situation, she sees it as a negative aspect of her life. The first line of the novel is, “When I was little I would think of ways to kill my daddy. I would figure out this or that way and run it down …show more content…
We later learn of Ellen’s father’s physical and psychological abuse, which negatively impacts Ellen and causes her mother to commit suicide. Ellen resents her extended family as well, especially her Aunt Nadine and cousin, Dora. She does not see them as genuine, as they are dishonest to each other. She is bothered by their behavior, since she completely honest about everything she thinks and feels. All of Ellen’s relatives want her to be someone she is not. Ellen inadvertently defies this when her father attacks her on New Year’s Eve. She repeatedly says, “I am Ellen” (38). It seems that she does this to remind herself of who she is, her identity. But by simply saying this, Ellen fights back, showing bravery and independence. Ellen knows that her home is unsafe, and she desperately wants a new one. When Ellen is in court and her situation is being discussed, Ellen is frustrated, because she does not feel as though the judge fully understands her situation. As she becomes more annoyed, she thinks, “What do you do when the judge talks about the family society’s cornerstone but you know yours was never a Roman pillar

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