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Ellen Foster

The majority of families were once considered perfect. The father went to work everyday, while the mother stayed at home and cared for her two children, “Henry” and “Sue”. The children never fought and the parents were involved in all the community events. Our society has grown to accept that there is no such thing as a perfect family. Eleven-year-old Ellen from the book Ellen Foster, by Kaye Gibbons, grows up in a household where her father is an abusive alcoholic and her mother is too sick to complete everyday tasks. By using her positive assets, and learning from her negative assets, Ellen was able to overcome a lot of challenges throughout the book.One would think that six of the most important external assets fall under the category of support. Without support from one’s family and friends, he/she would have to be living in a state of depression. Ellen can claim to have only two of the support assets, which are to be in a caring school environment and to receive support from three or more nonparent adults. In school, her teachers worry about her, and want to know if she is OK: “The first day back at school my teacher noticed a bruise he put on my arm… she asked me if I had somewhere to spend the night…the teacher says everything is OK and she will make the necessary arrangements” (44). Although Ellen found support from the school psychologist, she also found support from her best and only friend Starletta’s parents. Starletta’s parents told Ellen, “You come on back when you want to… If he’s there when you get home you come on back here if you want to…”(32) Starletta’s parents are very understanding and they even take Ellen downtown whenever she needs to, buy clothing or food. Even though Ellen found support from few people out side her family, it did not make up for not having a family to love and care for her. Her mother died ...

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