Ellen Foster Essay

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Donna Woodford is a doctoral candidate at Washington University and has written for a wide variety of academic journals and educational publishers. In the following essay she discusses the narrator's search for a mother figure in Ellen Foster.

Noting the many similarities between Kaye Gibbons's childhood and that of Ellen Foster, critics often focus on the autobiographical nature of Gibbons's first novel. In a 1993 interview with Publishers Weekly, Gibbons admits that Ellen Foster is "emotionally autobiographical," but she spent many years denying the parallels between the book and her own life, afraid that a focus on her own unhappy childhood would detract from the novel. But even when she was denying the autobiographical nature of Ellen Foster, Gibbons always credited her mother with having influenced her decision to become a writer. In "My mother, literature, and a life split neatly into two halves," she notes that the "writing...

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This section contains 2,037 words
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Buy the Ellen Foster Study Guide
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