Essay Ellen Foster 's The Rough Life Of A Young Girl Named Ellen

1428 Words Dec 5th, 2016 6 Pages
Ellen Foster Themes Kaye Gibbons’ novel, Ellen Foster, was published in 1987. This was the first novel she had written. Ellen Foster chronicles the rough life of a young girl named Ellen. She is faced with the troubles of growing up as an only child with a sick mother, and an abusive, alcoholic father. Throughout the novel, Kaye Gibbons captures her reader’s attention by focusing on tragedy after tragedy in Ellen’s life. The main themes that she elaborates on are race, friendship, loyalty, family, trust, independence, and uncertainty. The first tragedy that Ellen encounters is the death of her mother. She finds her mother after she overdoses on her heart medication. Her mother is the only person who understands the horrible impact that her father has on the family. They both spend every day walking on eggshells around him due to his temper. As Ellen Foster states in the novel on page 9, “He would kill me and my mama with a knife.” This brings Ellen to feel that she has to protect her mother and herself. As her mother takes her last breath, Ellen’s hatred for her father deepens. The theme of independence is crucial as Ellen must take care of herself after her mother’s suicide. Her father has always been reliant on her mother’s obligation to take care of him. Now that he does not have a hot meal to come home to, he does not come home much at all. This suits Ellen as she would much rather spend time alone rather than hiding away from him. She hoards money so…

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