October 28, 2013
Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons is the story of a young white girl, Ellen, who shares her life experiences over the course of two years. In that time, both of Ellen’s parents pass away, she moves multiple times to temporary homes until she finally finds a safe welcoming place in a foster home. Ellen’s story is rich because it is told in first person narrative and the readers are given context not only to what Ellen is experiencing, but context of the environment she is experiencing it in. To better understand and analyze Ellen, we can view Ellen, and everyone and everything in the novel from a biopsychosocial and systems perspective.
Everything in existence can be viewed as a …show more content…
As all the guests are gossiping about Ellen’s deceased mother, the focus is not on helping Ellen’s father cope with his addiction or cope with his new role as a single-parent. And as Ellen overhears the gossip she wants the guests to leave as opposed to seeing a possible opportunity to seek help and refuge in the community.
At the church funeral service we are introduced to Ellen’s extended family. It is apparent that Ellen and her father are not embraced by the other family members. Ellen refers to her maternal grandmother as Mama’s mama, which speaks volumes in terms of Ellen’s sentiments towards her by not acknowledging her as grandmother in title. Her grandmother despises Ellen’s father and amongst other profanities refers to him as a nigger. Ellen lives in the rural south where although segregation is no longer legal, racism still very much exists. Therefore by Mama’s mama calling Ellen’s father a nigger, although he is white, she is stating that she holds him on the same level as she views the black community.
We are also introduced at the funeral to Ellen’s only friend, a young black girl, Starletta, and her parents. At the funeral Ellen expresses her desire to sit with her friend although she notes that Starletta and her family both eat dirt; another example of the existence of racism in the