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The Great Gilly Hopkins Plot Summary

This Study Guide consists of approximately 38 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Great Gilly Hopkins.
This section contains 218 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
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The Great Gilly Hopkins Summary & Study Guide Description

The Great Gilly Hopkins Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains For Further Reference and a Free Quiz on The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson.


The Great Gilly Hopkins, like most of Paterson's novels for young adults, addresses the difficulty of growing up in an unpredictable world where even friendship and family cannot be taken for granted. Eleven-year-old Gilly Hopkins has been left in foster care by her mother, Courtney. At the opening of the book Gilly has no friends, moving as she does from one foster home to another.

Since her life seems to be controlled by a series of impersonal adults, she assumes a tough exterior to protect herself against further emotional pain. Her abusive behavior and rejection of friendly overtures keep others at a distance; she avenges her own pain by hurting others.

Emotional hardships cause Gilly, like many protagonists in Paterson's books, to gain a new understanding of herself and an appreciation of others. Gilly learns self-discipline, and she also realizes that her dreams are illusory. Even though she must face a tough reality, she finds love where she least expects it.

Paterson always establishes hope and optimism even in her most bleakly realistic stories, which dramatize internal and external conflicts. At the conclusion of the novel, Gilly still faces difficult choices, but she knows herself better and is able to judge others more soundly. Paterson's well-drawn characters, who are thrust into emotionally taut situations, create a powerful narrative.

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This section contains 218 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Great Gilly Hopkins Study Guide
The Great Gilly Hopkins from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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