Childhood In Helen Foster By Ellen Foster

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People often say that your childhood is the most important part of your life, and it is the part of one’s life that affects them the most. In Ellen Foster, by Kaye Gibbons, Ellen is forced to become independent as a result of a challenging childhood, that also affects her view of others and herself. Her father 's actions had a large impact on Ellen’s quickly developing independence, while the loss of her mother and grandmother exposed her to people who influenced the way she viewed others and herself. Ellen displayed independence when she was given the responsibility of tasks her father began to abandon. As her father became less and less involved in her life, he stopped taking care of responsibilities such as paying bills and getting food.…show more content…
Now Ellen’s views of others has changed, shown through her variation in racial views, as she becomes exposed to different types of people. Originally, while Ellen was still living in her own house with her absent father, she would often go visit her “colored” friend, Starletta. Although she would spend time with Starletta and her family and they treated her very well, she still viewed herself as better than them, because of her “superior” race. In fact, she sometimes pitied them, for example when she couldn 't understand how, “they do their business outside” (30). As Ellen changes who she lives with, such as when she stayed with her grandmother and later, her aunt, she met other “colored” people, like Mavis, that caused her to question if she was really better than them. Ellen became friendly with Mavis, and as time went on, “the more Mavis had to teach me. And I loved to listen” (65). Not only were her beliefs wavered, but she also seemed to become jealous when “[she] walked up the colored path and spied on Mavis and her family… [and] I thought I would bust open if I did not get one of them for my own self.” (66). She craved the the family they had, that she didn’t. By the time she was living with her new mama, Ellen had reflected on her previous racial beliefs, and realized that she is not “the same girl who would not drink after Starletta two years ago, or eat a…show more content…
Most of the information, beliefs, and life skills that one gains in life is gathered during the early years of life. Also during this time, one develops and grows to become the person they will be. Ellen’s childhood forced her be become independent, as well as view herself and others differently as she matured. Ellen’s independence was a result of her lack of a parent figure in her early years of life. She was given the tasks of learning on her own and doing things considered more mature, such as taking care of herself and paying bills, something that one normally is not tasked with until they have grown up. Not only did she mature in life skills during her childhood, but she also developed a change in racial views, thanks to the many people she met as a result of her family’s actions towards her. All of these events that had a major impact on Ellen as a person, happened in her childhood, and they all shaped her for the rest of her life. This demonstrates how the earliest years of life are really the most influential, because the people that one is surrounded by when they are still developing personal views and beliefs, have the most impact on

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