FC: Ellen Foster
1: The story, Ellen Foster, takes place in the late nineteen seventies, in the south, most likely in the central area of North Carolina. It also varies between school, the cotton fields, and her current place of residence. These elements of setting are significant to the theme because with it being in the south, racial issues are occurring, and Ellen's best friend, Starletta, is African-American, so it creates some tension between Ellen, and her "mamas mama." | Setting
2: Setting | * "We have to drive through the colored town to get to church" pg. 19 * "She lived in the sixties. She used to be a flower child," pg. 48 * "But she drove me instead to the cotton field and said to come home for lunch." pg. 63 *"I lived on a farm with my mama and daddy, but they hired colored people to do my slave labor." pg. 63
3: Ellen Foster | Ellen is the main character of the story, she is an eleven year old girl, who is sexually and mentally abused by her alcoholic father after her mother commits suicide.. Not very long after her mother's passing, her father suffers from an aneurism due to excessive drinking and also passes away. Due to these events, Ellen is thrown from house to house, family member to family member, even a teacher, until she finally settles into a foster home about a year later. | * "And when I finished packing, I walked out of their house and all the way to my new mama's." pg. 115 * "So I went back with Nadine knowing this time would not be home..." pg. 94 * "When it turned summer I went to my mama's mama's house.' pg. 60
4: Starletta | Starletta is Ellen's best friend. When they first meet, Ellen has some prejudiced thoughts toward Starletta and her family. While Ellen is away, Starletta goes through a "change", going from the childish girl always playing with toys, to the more teenish girl talking to boys. She starts to like this one white boy at school, but since race is an issue around her town, theres no way she could actually date the kid. Her friendship with Ellen is already enough of a risk. In those times, you were considered exceptionally "brave" to have a friend of another race. | * "She has one hand in a bucket of Lincoln Logs, and the other headed for her nose." pg. 30 * "She told me during lunchtime one day she has a crush on a boy and she pointed him out to me and he was a sassy old white boy." pg. 83 * "No matter how good it looks to you, its still a colored biscuit." pg. 32
5: Mama's Mama | Mama's Mama is Ellen's grandmother. She is a very unhappy person in life. When it comes to money and power, she is very greedy, as she is a stuck-up person. Even though she barely knows Ellen, she gets custody of her after the death of her parents. She wants revenge on Ellen's father for what he did to Ellen's mother, but since he is also dead, she just seeks it through treating Ellen very poorly. Over time, she ends up verbally abusing Ellen, ridiculing her for things her father did, making her feel as if she had no reason for living, It wasn't to the point to where Ellen was suicidal, but it was to where she had absolutely no self-esteem.
6: Mama's Mama | * "I told Roy and Julia I had rather go to the reform school or even get on the chain gang than go to stay with her." pg. 60 * "She might be a witch but she has the dough..." pg. 61 * "She was looking in my eyes for a reason to slap me again but I was determined not to give her one." pg. 69
7: Major Events | Death of Mama "My heart can be the one that beats. And hers has stopped." pg. 10 | Living with Roy and Julia "I stayed at the art teacher's house until it got warm and green." pg. 46 | Living with Mama's Mama "When it turned summer I went to my mama's mama's house." pg. 60
8: Major Events | Living with Aunt Nadine "I would treat this like a hotel I told myself. I will stay for a while, until I find the next place maybe with God's help but most likely not." pg. 94 | Coming to the Foster home "I can't promise you anything, but if you need a place as badly as it appears, then we would welcome you here." pg. 119
9: Death of Mama- The death of Ellen's mother added to the harm of Ellen. After her mama's death, her father began to abuse her more. | Living with Roy and Julia- When the guidance counselor placed her in the art teacher's home, Ellen didn't quite know what to expect. Shortly thereafter, Ellen realizede that she absolutely loved living with Roy and Julia. | Then, because her death was a suicide, it played a role in her father drinking more heavily, leading to his death. Which promptly led into the long road to find Ellen a permanent home. | They were laid back, and easy going, somewhat spoiling Ellen, just as she was going to live with her mama's mama.
10: Living with Mama's Mama- Ellen did not know her grandmother well when she moved in, but what she did know of her, wasn't good. | Living with Aunt Nadine- When Ellen went to live with her aunt Nadine, and cousin Dora, she felt pretty good about it, but knew it wouldn't last. Right off, Dora was not nice to Ellen, and Ellen stayed off to herself in her bedroom. Then she began to warm up to them, then both Nadine and Dora were | It wasn't long before she was making Ellen work out in the cotton fields with slaves. Then she began to verbally abuse Ellen, damaging her even more. | very rude to Ellen. After an incident on Christmas day, Ellen packed her things and left to go find another home.
11: Coming to the Foster home- Finding the Foster home, for Ellen, was probably the best thing she had done. After she left Nadine and Dora on Christmas day, she set out to the Foster home, a home of girls, with a group mother, she knew from church. Ellen ended up settling down here for good.
12: Conflict | The major conflict in Ellen Foster, is that no matter where Ellen ends up staying, she faces some sort of abuse. At first, it is her father, sexually and mentally abusing her, then she goes to live with her mama's mama, who verbally abuses her, then she goes to live with her Aunt Nadine and cousin Dora, and they both verbally abuse her. | * "But my daddy says he will kill me if I try to leave this house." pg. 9 * "She would catch me snooping around sometimes and say to me I'll break your little hand if you touch that vase!" pg. 62 * (Nadine and Dora talking) "Even though we might think it might be silly or a bit cheap-looking for us we still need to act nice. OK?" pg. 109
13: Turning Point | The turning point of Ellen Foster is when Nadine boots her out on Christmas day for being "disrespectful." After Ellen had heard what Nadine and Dora had said about her painting she made them, she got upset, and that led to an argument, which made Ellen leave and Nadine "kick her out." Ellen then went to the Foster home, which turned out to be the best home she'd been to yet. | * "She just said for me to get out. To find my evil little self some hole to crawl in." pgs. 113-114