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The Joy Of Home Life In Ellen Foster's Home

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Everyone seeks the comfort of the stability in their own home. Ellen Foster knows her home is rather abnormal. Enduring physical, mental, and sexual abuse from her family, Ellen learns early on that what she wants is what she cannot seem to find: a loving home. Through challenging adversities in the novel, Ellen finally found a family that suited her needs, in a foster home. Once she had at last found her place that she felt fit, her first thought was to invite her best friend, Starletta, to present her pride of her new, blissful, life. This passage, references to history, repayment, and equality serve to emphasize Ellen’s desire to atone for thinking she was better than Starletta in the past. Ellen’s journey of finding a stable home life leads to her discovery of the love of her true friend.
In the beginning of the passage, Ellen indicates all the tasks she must accomplish to impress Starletta for when she arrives. Ellen wants more than anything to repay Starletta for all of the kindness she showed her when they had been closer friends. Ellen states, “It was just Starletta the girl I was after and she could tote my bed and my checkerboard curtains back to her house if she felt like it” (100). In other words, Ellen would give anything to Starletta to illustrate her thanks for all she had done. Ellen does not show emotion very often, but here, in a subtle way, she exemplifies her love for Starletta by stating that she would give anything and everything to her if she had the chance. The rather specific use of the “checkerboard curtains” signifies the fact that she now has something in her home that she did not have before. These curtains mean something to her because it gives the home a domestic feeling, unlike the past homes she ...

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This passage is a minute part of the novel, yet a vast realization of Ellen’s love for her best friend. She finally recognized that her friendship means more than color of their skin or where they come from, it is who they are and what they make you feel. Through domestic imagery, the remembrance of their past, and struggling to even out their relationship, Ellen discovers the true meaning of friendship. Ellen is doing everything she can to move forward with her life. She longs to put the past in the past, and is embracing everything from her new mama to the checkered curtains that line her window. The one thing that she does not will away, however, is her friendship with Starletta. Their relationship is complicated, tainted by the circumstances of skin color, and yet Starletta is the only part of Ellen’s past that she is carrying with her into her new life.
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