Joan Bauer Writing Styles in Hope Was Here

Joan Bauer
This Study Guide consists of approximately 34 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Hope Was Here.
This section contains 978 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)

Point of View

Hope Was Here is written in the first person narrative. The narrator of the book is sixteen-year-old Hope Yancy. Hope was abandoned by both her parents and is being raised by her aunt, Addie. The reader is privy to all the confused feelings that Hope has about her rather vagabond existence and about not feeling wanted. Hope shares her conflicted feelings and pain about being abandoned by both her parents. Her mother wasn't equipped to care for a child and the identity of her father was unknown.

Hope is a spirited young girl and shows an inner strength throughout the story. She shares her intimate thoughts with the reader, revealing her reluctance to get too close to people because she's had to say good-bye way too many times in her young life. Hope is grateful for her aunt, the one constant person who never abandoned her and, she tells Hope, never would. Despite her aunt's love, Hope still fantasizes about finding her father. She keeps a scrapbook of dreams with images cut-out from magazines that depict, in her mind, the perfect father.

Despite the pain she has suffered, she demonstrates kindness and compassion to others who are scared and suffering. She understands them because even though she's lived a short time, she has experienced many of the same fears and uncertainty. Through her thoughts, Hope demonstrated that she was wise beyond her years.

Setting

The majority of Hope Was Here takes place in the small town of Mulhoney, Wisconsin, population 5,492. The story takes place over a time span of about two years. Hope and Aunt Addie work at the "Welcoming Stairways" diner, which is owned by G. T. Stoop.

The Real Fresh Dairy is the biggest employer in the town. A Memorial Day parade winds down the town's main street and a celebration is held afterward in a park off Grimes Park. Hope and her aunt had just recently moved there from New York City. Hope was less than thrilled with the tiny town compared to the excitement of the Big Apple. And "Grimes Square" reminded her of "Times Square" where she wished she was.

When G. T. is on the campaign trail, he stops by the Wisconsin Cheese Factory to speak to the employees there about his platform in his run for mayor. When Hope is helping G. T. campaign for mayor, she is almost accosted by thugs working for G. T.'s opponent when she is handing out literature in the parking lot of the Farmer's Market.

There is mention of the other states that Hope and Addie worked in. They include Florida, Georgia, and Missouri. Addie tells Hope one day that her mother is going to be driving up from St. Louis for a visit. When G. T. and Addie marry, they have a short honeymoon trip to Milwaukee.

Language and Meaning

The narrator of Hope Was Here is the sixteen-year-old protagonist. Hope Yancy is being raised by her aunt, Addie, after being abandoned by her mother as a baby. Hope tells the story of her and her aunt's transient life as restaurant workers. Addie is a top cook and is very proud of her abilities in the kitchen. Many of her best dishes are described in the book. She is most proud of her apple pie but there are references to many other dishes like her chicken pot pie, meatloaf and pork chop sandwiches.

Yuri works in the restaurant as a bus boy. He is a man who had moved to the United States from Russia. He seats the diner's guests, gives them water and clears off tables. The first evening that Addie and Hope are in the diner, they both order dinner. When the waitress asks Addie what kind of dressing she wants on her salad, Addie responds, "Russian." When Yuri hears "Russian," he comes over to the table to see what she wants.

There are touches of humor throughout the book which, while enjoyable, also add clarity to the story and often serve to crystallize a passage. Hope who struggles to understand why her parents didn't want her, often fantasizes about her father. She hopes that somehow he knows where she is and is looking for her. Since Hope is the narrator of the story, it is told in the words of an adolescent who has suffered emotional damage. The poignancy of her pain and vulnerability are told in an effective manner with words and phrases that are realistic for the character's age.

Structure

Hope Was Here is separated into twenty-one short to medium-sized chapters. The story is basically told in chronological order with a minimum use of flashbacks. The beginning chapters provide a background of the protagonist, Hope Yancy, and her caretaker, her aunt Addie. These initial chapters highlight the transient life that Hope and Addie live as restaurant workers and the struggles that Hope has faced as a teen who was forced to attend six schools in five years.

The heart of the story begins in the third chapter when Hope and Addie arrive in Mulhoney, Wisconsin, at the Welcoming Stairways Diner where they are scheduled to start work—Addie as the head cook and Hope as a waitress. The majority of the remaining chapters deal with the character arc of Hope Yancy. It focuses on Hope's relationship with the new people she meets in the small town and with G. T. Stoops' run for mayor. As the story comes to an end, Hope begins to build self-esteem, trust people and open up to them emotionally. The ending is bittersweet as the last chapters deal with G. T.'s death as well as the bright future that lies ahead for Hope. By the book's end, Hope has become a young woman who has left her anger behind and has learned to reach out to others.

This section contains 978 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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