Kaye Gibbons Novels Essay, Research Paper
Innocence, happiness, success, and optimism, are all characteristics of human kind. A cure for cancer is superior to the elimination of physical abuse and suicidal death’s. A result to have all people treated equally appreciated and loved. Is it a possible gesture? It may not happen in our lifetime, but if powerful and caring individuals join forces, it is possible to draw conclusions. To live the dreams and allusions each identity performs and has a reality to people and society. Within the three novels, Ellen Foster, A Virtuous Woman, and A Cure for Dreams, all written by the author Kaye Gibbons, each character from different novels struggles to face reality and find the correct path that will lead them to the right direction in life. While coping with the endless pain, Ellen, Jack, and Betty have only hope to lead them into the direction they encounter to approach. A fate in their lives can change forever. In addition, keep their “depressing days” only a memory so that they will become successful. All characters are determined to overcome their obstacles and misery through hope, courage, and inspiration.
Throughout Kaye Gibbon’s novels, each unified character portrays a resemblance to overcome their obstacles through hope. In Gibbon’s first novel, Ellen Foster the main character, Ellen a young child struggles to survive and live a normal childhood. Making matters worse, Ellen’s father was a drunken alcoholic who physically abuses her mother and sexually harasses his own daughter. As a result, Ellen’s mother commits suicide and her father dies from over dosage. As her, own parents abandon their precious child; Ellen was alone in search of a new home and family. As hope motivates Ellen to seek forward and find her new home she begins to believe what an ideal family would be like, “I had not figured out how to go about getting one for the most part, but I had a feeling it could be got, (Gibbons 67)”. Similar in Ellen’s case, in Gibbon’s second novel A Virtuous Woman, Jack is in search to regain himself after a heartbreak loss to his wife Ruby who died several months prior from lung cancer. Jack is an old farmer and relied heavily towards Ruby. He is now left on his own, he acknowledges that only hope may lead him back on his tracks and leave all the crucial memories behind. Things became clear to Jack when he was welcomed to live with his friend Burr. Burr had most of the influence on Jack to achieve hope, happiness, and leave the depressing stages of his life only a memory in his mind. Having all that in mind, Jack acknowledges that fact and proudly voices to Burr about Ruby, “I told him it was a shame in this world he couldn’t have had a woman like Ruby, and he just had to shake his head like ‘I know’, (Gibbons 93)”. As well, another resemblance of hope to cope with life in a struggling situation, Gibbons third novel, A Cure for Dreams portrays a protagonist named Betty who retells the story of her mother’s life. As she’s brought up from a poor family, Betty has hope that one day she will surpass her mother’s and her own dreams that will once become a reality. From there Betty dreams of the wonderful things she may encounter along her path, and she begins with a dream, “The man in her one dream would ride up and surprise her on his horse, and then would reach down and take the ball of honour… (Gibbons 21).”
Another similarity each character composes to cope with their struggle for survival is through courage. All protagonists are enforced to excel through self-motivation and confidence to remain in tact and focused to complete their heroic venture. In Ellen Foster, Ellen is raised to become a courageous child after witnessing her mother’s death and outrageous lifestyle her father set her. It seemed as if she was prepared for a type of occasion where she would find herself alone independent. As evidence to prove her courageous acts she stands wide and tall next to her aunt and cousin with such aggravating words. “That is when I told her I thought she was the crazy one. That she and Dora had told each other so many lies about the way the world worked that they believed them. You two are bumping around in this house lost and foolish over each other. You two are the same as the people who would not believe the world was round… (Gibbons 114)”. On the other hand, Jack gains courage by believing in himself and what he thought Ruby would think was best for him. He had faith for himself and that was the main opposition, which kept him stride towards success. Although he lost his only love, he conducted courageous acts that led him to another level. A level where he beholds only memories rather than suffering, and in the end, he finds himself in love with a different woman. At last, in Betty’s scenario, she was born with faith and courage, which was passed to her from generations. As she was provided with the qualities to exceed the great depression, Betty had a difficult and courageous decision to make. To move overseas and believe in herself that she could make it through and return with happiness and success. Things tend to lean towards Betty’s direction as she successfully manages to overcome her adversity in life.
Finally, similar characteristic protagonists present upon themselves in order to achieve success and self-assurance was through another individual’s inspiration. Each character acknowledges at one point in time a person who has helped them surpass the rough and difficult time. These people were there for them in all stages and aspects – from the depressing stages, which eventually led to success. As well, if these inspiring individuals were not physically there, each character would mentally imagine as if they were looking down at them and view each one’s success in their perspective. In the novel Ellen Foster, Ellen’s success to overcome her miseries and succeed to find a new permanent home was inspired through her former teacher and friend, Julie. Julie taught Ellen that there are magical memories to endure in life, that she would experience in the future, such things as love and friendship. The types of acknowledgements Ellen was knowledgeable with that kept her leaning forward. As she experiences a historical companionship with Julie, she begins to understand the importance of friendship in someone’s life. As Ellen seeks forward and finds the appropriate welcoming home she wished for, she plans a night with her ‘coloured friend’ Starletta – a night they would never forget. “God a day can pass so slow when you are dying for it to fly…all I can do not to break out of my lunch line and run over there and make sure she brought her suitcase or bag or box or just anything just as long as she didn’t forget she’s coming home with me today… (Gibbons 122)”. Similar to Ellen, in A virtuous Woman, Jack receives his inspiration from a dear and close friend of his, Burr. Burr is a very warm-hearted and loyal friend of Jack’s who showed his sympathy toward the death of Ruby. Immediately after the incident, he welcomes Jack into his own home, where he would help him surpass his depression and move on living his life without his one true love, Ruby. He provided Jack with comfort, shelter, food, and wealth and was a very caring and supporting person. “Jack why don’t you come live with me and I’ll help take care for you… (Gibbons 82)”. As well, in the novel A Cure for Dreams, Betty struggles to overcome “the great depression” and live a decent life. With the inspiration of her mother and grandmother, Betty is capable to capture the dreams and goals she looks forward in life – to achieve happiness and freedom. Even though her mother has passed away she still behold her deep inside her heart and imagines as if she’s always with her to keep her happy and motivated. Finally, when Betty achieves the goals she set in life, she wonders how her mother would have reacted if she were still alive.
“I came a long way to get here, but when you think about it real hard you will see that old Starletta came even further, (Gibbons 126)”. This quote signifies that it is not easy to overcome obstacles and achieve happiness with a snap of two fingers. It takes time, effort, and determination to exceed the depressing moments and unstable living styles. Having that in mind, Ellen Foster, Jack Stokes, and Betty Randolph all achieved their goals and accomplishments through hope, courage, and inspiration. Each unified character prevailed to overcome their obstacles and believed in themselves that one day things will become clearer and easier. Having inspiring family members and friends encouraged them to remain strong and stay focused, indicating that one day they will capture at least one of their goals in life – love, happiness, freedom, and success.