Ellen Foster and Nick Adams Are the Perfect Couple

Ellen Foster Essay
A Perfect Couple

            Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons tells the story of a young girl who struggles to find a loving home environment. As she makes her way to the home of her dreams, Ellen experiences many difficult things and seeks comfort by reading. When Ellen reads Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time she “meets” Nick Adams, another individual who has to overcome unusual obstacles in his life, and concludes that he is the individual she would chose to love. Because of their similar circumstances during childhood, Nick Adams and Ellen Foster both developed similar traits and characteristics such as the belief that things need to be completed in a particular way, a need for control and stability, and a constant state of survival, which will enable them to better understand one another on a deeper, more meaningful level.

          Both Ellen Foster’s and Nick Adams’s parents created unusual and difficult circumstances for their children to live under, which caused each child to adapt a constant state of survival. Ellen’s state of survival is focused around her physical heath because she lives with an abusive father and depressed mother who are unable to support her. Neither parent has the capability to care for her. Her father is unable because he is an alcoholic and her mother because of her severe depression and later suicide. Because of this lack of parental help, Ellen is forced to become self reliant. At a young age, she becomes responsible for all her necessities and has to locate her own sources of food, clothes, and shelter. She is also given the responsibility for bill paying, illustrated when she must determine the amount of money necessary for “the lights, gas to heat and cook, food, and extras” (Gibbons, 25). In many instances, Ellen also has to undergo a role reversal and play the role of her mother’s mother. This is demonstrated when Ellen tells her mother to “get back into bed” (6), something usually said by a mother to a...