Kaye Gibbons was born in 1960 in Nash County, North Carolina. Growing up she loved to write. She graduated from Rocky Mount High School in 1978 and went on to the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
While in college she wrote her first book, Ellen Foster, it was a huge success. Ellen Foster won the Sue Kaufinan Award for First Fiction from the Academy of Arts and Letters and many other awards. Also, it has recently been translated into many languages and gained recognition worldwide. She has written other books one being, A Virtuous Woman, which has also gained recognition.
Kaye Gibbons is married and has a daughter. They live in Raleigh, North Carolina. Besides writing she is working on her degree at UNC.
Setting and Atmosphere
The novel, Ellen Foster, takes place in a small town in the South. There are not very many people but the people that live there are very segregated and there is a lot of discrimination. The discrimination is one of the key points throughout the novel.
Ellen, the main character, travels between many houses within this little town. The first, is in a house where her, her mom, and her dad live together. Then she moves to a house with her teacher, then she moves in with her grandma, and then she moves in with her aunt and cousin. Finally, she moves in with her new
The novel is a story told by Ellen. Ellen is a smart and calm young girl. It is told in a manner that nothing major ever takes place but actually many important events happen. You would think that these events would effect a young girl much more than they affect Ellen. She tells each event calmly which makes the atmosphere very calm.
Ellen- Ellen is the main character and the narrator in the novel. She is a young white girl who lives in the South. She has a very difficult life. Her mother is fatally ill and eventually dies, her dad is an abusive drank and she hates him. Her family does not like her and she does not like them. Through all of this I believe she is a very strong girl and has had a very tough life.
Starletta- Starletta is Ellen's best friend. She is black and pretty. She is the same age as Ellen and they are great friends. She lives in a very loving family but they are very poor. They live in a one-room house but have good lives.
Ellen's Dad- Ellen's father is a horrible father and man. He is the worst thing to happen to Ellen. He is the one to blame for making Ellen's life a disaster. He is an abusive drunk and scares Ellen to death. He basically caused the death of Ellen's mother.
Julia- Julia is the art teacher from school. She takes in Ellen after Ellen's mother dies. She is married to a man named Roy. This "family" is the first bit of happiness Ellen has and finds out what a real family is like.
Ellen's Mama's Mama- She is Ellen's Grandma. She is a very evil and cruel woman. She hates life and everything associated with it. When Ellen goes to live there she...