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"Ellen Foster", which is written by Kaye Gibbons, was first published by Algonquin Books in 1987.

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Introduction

Ellen Foster "Ellen Foster", which is written by Kaye Gibbons, was first published by Algonquin Books in 1987. Kaye Gibbons was born in Nash County, North Carolina in 1960. While she went to the University of North Carolina she wrote her debut novel 'Ellen Foster'. She has received many different awards for this novel in which we hear about an eleven-year-old orphan named Ellen. The story In the beginning of the story Ellen's mother dies. She stays at home with her dad for a while, but he is increasingly violent and drinks more and more. One evening he tries to rape Ellen, and after that she decides to run away. She stays at her black friend Starletta's house for one night, then she returns home, packs her things and calls her aunt, Betsy. Betsy lets her stay for the weekend but drives her home again Sunday. Once she is back home again she decides to go to school. The teachers notice a bruise on her arm and will not let her go home again. They ask her if she has anywhere else to go. All she can think of is Starletta's house, but that will not do. Ellen's art teacher, Julia, lets her stay with her and her husband, Roy, for a while. ...read more.

Middle

She does not have any children of her own and therefore she spoils Ellen while she is staying there. Betsy does not have a husband either. Julia is Ellen's art teacher and Roy is her husband. They both have an 'open mind' - They are very loving, not prejudiced and they share the work at there house (-it is not divided in male and female work). They were both raised in the northeast, so they have probably not grown up with the same racism that existed in the south. But they both liked the south, therefore they moved down there. Mavis is a black woman, who works in the cotton fields owned by Ellen's grandmother. She seems a very 'wise' and Ellen learns a lot from her, just by observing her and her family, e.g. that there are people living under worse conditions than her and they can still enjoy themselves. Starletta is Ellen's friend. She is black and lives in a shack with her parents. She attends the same school as Ellen. Roger, Stella, Francis and Jo Jo are the other children staying at Ellen's new mama's house. Roger is Stella's baby, she is only in the 7th grade, though. Ellen's new mama is very nice and friendly. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think I am somebody now because I said by damn this is how it is going to be..." (Kaye Gibbons, "Ellen Foster", p. 95) She is expressing a will, so if you have the will you can do anything. Money and the good and bad effects of having it or not having it is also an important theme. We see how the wealth have affected Ellen's grandmother, and how the poverty to some extent has dictated Ellen and her father's lives in the beginning of the story. At one point Ellen says: "All I really cared about accumulating was money. I saved a bundle" (Kaye Gibbons, "Ellen Foster", p. 61) These are all themes which concerns the modern world as well. Personal evaluation of "Ellen Foster" I think that "Ellen Foster is a really good novel because it includes so many things. With that I mean that you hear both about race, class (both social and economic), gender, values, fate, circumstances, and personal responsibility. I think that it is both amazing and scaring how such a young kid learns so much about life in such a short time. The ending is really good because you see how an eleven-year-old can turn her life into what she wants it to be. She comes from something bad and turns it into something good, which we can all learn something from... ...read more.

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