Ellen Foster Historical Context

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Conservatism in the 1980s

The existence of Julia-the former 1960s flower child turned respectable art teacher-helps to locate the action in Ellen Foster within the late 1970s or early 1980s. Gibbons began working on her Ideas for the novel around 1980 while in college and published the novel in 1987.

A conservative political agenda centered on dismantling liberal programs and beliefs that held sway during the 1930s and the 1960s serve as the backdrop while Gibbons wrote her novel in the 1980s.

The civil rights and feminist movements, having accomplished much in the 1960s, now faced uphill battles against a conservative government of the 1980s. Efforts to help the homeless, fund AIDS research, and prevent drug abuse and urban violence met with resistance. The poor grew poorer while the rich grew richer. Helping those in need was viewed as encouraging the needy not to help themselves.

The contrast between Julia's...

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This section contains 843 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Ellen Foster Study Guide
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Novels for Students
Ellen Foster from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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