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Ellen Foster And Nick Adams Are The Perfect Couple

1633 words - 7 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

Nick’s state of survival is focused on his mental and emotional stability because of the experiences his parents create for him. When Nick’s father brings him to the Indian Camp, Nick is exposed to numerous horrific truths through the traumatizing events that transpire: hearing the Indian woman’s piercing screams; witnessing her struggle in agony as she desperately attempts to push the child out; and seeing the bloody remains of an Indian man who commits suicide. We can assume that the gruesome incidents Nick witnessed during that visit forever changed him because he experienced them before he was mature enough to truly understand and process them. Nick’s parents also bestowed a large burden on him with their own personal conflicts and disagreements. They are two completely different individuals and have opposite points of view. This is demonstrated through their religious beliefs: “she (Nick’s mother) is a Christian Scientist and his father is ‘a doctor’” (Hemingway, 26). Because these two perspectives are completely different, Nick’s parents are unintentionally forcing him to take sides. This causes Nick to make decisions about his own beliefs and morals prematurely. He has not yet constructed a solid foundation nor acquired the knowledge and understanding about the topic to make a mature, intelligent decision for himself.

Due to influential forces like the one’s stated in the first body paragraph, both Ellen and Nick share the belief that things need to be completed in a particular way and under a specific set of rules and conditions. Ellen is aware of the traditional way to celebrate the Christmas holiday. She knows that it is a joyful time designated for family, egg nog drinking, ornate Christmas decorations, delicious turkey dinners, and dreams of Santa Claus. Due to her personal circumstances, Ellen is not capable of celebrating in this customary way, however, she does her best to embrace them with what she has. For example, Ellen is left alone on Christmas, however, she replaces this void “with ‘ (real) people’ drinking egg nog and decking the halls on ‘her television set’” (Gibbons, 27). She is also left to celebrate Christmas without a delicious turkey feast and a belief in Santa Claus. She makes due by creating a makeshift meal, consisting of “turkey sliced up with dressing along with two vegetables and a dab of dessert” (27), and by purchasing her own Christmas presents, hiding them, and waking on Christmas morning surprised to see them. Identical to Ellen, Nick also conducts things in a particular way, demonstrated in the short story “Big Two-Hearted River: Part II” when Nick goes fishing in a stream. Nick is unlike most fishermen. He does not treat his livelihood as only a means to earn a profit, but rather, as a way of life. Because of his outlook, Nick treats both the act of fishing and the fish with integrity and respect. This is demonstrated when Nick “wet his hand before he touched the trout, so he would not...

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