Theme Of Ignorance In Ellen Foster

2006 Words9 Pages
Within the novel, Ellen Foster, the story of a young girl is told by none other than herself. The story tells of how young Ellen endures life with an ill mother who eventually passes away and a drunken father, whom she is left with and basically takes care of herself, amongst paying bills, cooking, cleaning, and everything else one would normally see a parent doing for a child. After Ellen’s teacher notices a bruise on her arm, Ellen is sent to live with the school’s art teacher, Julia, and her husband, Roy. Ellen enjoys life with these people seeing as to how it is much better than the life she once lived, but her grandmother whom she does not like who has never before shown interest in her or love, fights for her in court and wins. Ellen…show more content…
The novel takes place during a time period where slavery still somewhat exists and where white people are presumably better than black people. This ties in with the theme of race identity, but for the fact that there is also the ignorance that exists, such as that of Ellen’s mama’s mama, it is its on theme. Her grandmother ignorantly accuses Ellen of the death of her mother for “allowing it to happen.” She also accuses Ellen of being just like her drunken father, unlike what one of the grandmother’s slaves says that Ellen is very similar to her sweet mother. The ignorance in the text is almost unbelievable in today’s society, yet there is still ignorance, but less of than the time period of this novel. It shows how during this time period, people believed “ignorance is bliss” and chose to believe only what was taught to them, rather than learning and making their own decisions about topics with such ignorance. Ellen grows from the beginning of her journey to the end by growing out of this ignorant state so prevalent in the time that she was brought up in. By the end of the story she is well educated and has her own opinions, rather than biased ones based off of what she had been taught all of her…show more content…
When reading up on the author, it was discovered that Ellen Foster may in fact be a somewhat true story. This is an excerpt taken from Mike Child’s research article on Kaye Gibbons: “She had a poor and troubled childhood from which she has drawn liberally to create her novels. She grew up in a tin-roofed house with an alcoholic father and no electricity or running water. Like the title character of her debut novel Ellen Foster, Gibbons ' mother committed suicide when she was ten years old. Gibbons ' father died just three years later, in 1973. She was passed around from relatives to foster parents before living in relative stability with her older brother David.” As a reader, it was surprising and interesting to discover that the author has lived the same life somewhat as Ellen Foster did within the novel. It creates even more emotion for readers to understand just how hard and true the life must have been to

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