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The Great Gilly Hopkins Essay Research Paper

The Great Gilly Hopkins Essay, Research Paper The Great Gilly Hopkins was an interesting novel with many themes, some were hidden and others were obvious. Katherine Paterson has a way of telling a story in a

The Great Gilly Hopkins Essay, Research Paper

The Great Gilly Hopkins was an interesting novel with many themes, some were

hidden and others were obvious. Katherine Paterson has a way of telling a story in a

manner that is interesting to the reader yet has a very strong theme, life is what you make

of it. Gilly made life hard for herself and never realized it until it was too late. Paterson

also had a hidden theme of prejudice. Family was another main theme to this book. This

story will help any child who is having difficulties with family or dealing with who they

really are.

In the beginning of this book Gilly is a selfish and immature little girl who hasn?t

learned what life is all about. She has this attitude that she is invincible to pain and will

not allow anyone to hurt her. She has it set in her mind that this new foster home will not

work and she will do anything in her power to get to her mother. In the first chapter Gilly

thinks to herself ?Nobody wants to tangle with the great Galadriel Hopkins. I am too

clever and too hard to manage. . .Here I come, Maime baby, ready or not.? Right from

the start Gilly is not even going to give her new family a chance. Gilly has made that

decision and she is forced to face the consequences. As the story progresses Gilly begins

to realize that she was wrong about Trotter, W.E., and Mr. Randolph. She actually begins

to care about them but it was too late. The letter had been written and the her biological

family had come to take her away from the life she loved. Gilly didn?t realize that she had

done this to herself until she went to her grandmothers. This book teaches children that

the decisions they make will shape the life they have. Paterson is teaching children a very

valuable lesson that they will be able to utilize throughout their life.

Hidden within The Great Gilly Hopkins is a very racial theme. This story was

written in the !970?s and show the signs of the time. Back then people were still very

prejudiced and were not as exposed to black people. Gilly was so shocked when she first

went to get Mr. Randolph for dinner. She ran back to Trotter and cried, ?He?s gone.

Some weird colored man with white eyes came to the door. . .I never touched one of

those people in my life.? Gilly had never been exposed to colored people and when she

was she reacted in a mean way. She was appalled at the fact that she even had to deal

with them. The time period shows the way that people felt about different races and how

children were brought up. Gilly realized that Mr. Randolph was a sweet old man who

could teach her a lot. Gilly was also faced with another black person whom she totally

despised. Ms. Harris was Gilly?s teacher and would not allow Gilly to bother her. Gilly

went out of her way to make life miserable for Ms. Harris because her other schemes

didn?t work. She wrote out a card that was very hurtful. Gilly?s prejudice was very clear

in her closing words, ?person with a vested interest in maintaining this point of view.? It

was very hateful and mean and that is exactly what Gilly had intended. Her scheme

backfired when Ms. Harris thanked her for the card. I think after that Gilly began to really

respect Ms. Harris and lose some of her prejudices. This book shows children how hurtful

prejudices can be and how they are wrong. Paterson dealt with this sensitive issue in a

very meaningful and heartfelt manner.

Gilly was a foster child who had been bounced from family to family. Every time

she let her guard down she was hurt. Gilly dreamed about her real mother and how

wonderful she was. The problem was that Gilly never really knew her mother or what a

family really was. When she lived with Trotter she began to feel like she belonged to a

family. She learned what a mother, brother, and uncle were like. When she finally was

reunited with her mother her dream was shattered. At the end of the novel Gilly

understood now that she had made a mistake and called Trotter in tears. ?I?m coming

home. . .Trotter, it?s all wrong. Nothing turned out the way it?s supposed to.? Trotter

helped Gilly to understand that life wasn?t easy but she must be strong and make the best

of it. Gilly loved Trotter dearly and wanted to do this for her to show her love and

appreciation. Gilly had finally found her family and her grandmother. She was willing to

make her new family work. Dealing with family problems are difficult for children and this

story shows children that it isn?t always easy but it can be worked out in the end.

The Great Gilly Hopkins was a unique novel that touched on many issues closely

related to children and their experiences. Katherine Paterson chooses a wonderful

technique to introduce children to many difficult subjects. She does this by using a

character that many children can understand and empathize with. Throughout this novel

she used such themes as: life is what you make of it, prejudices, and family. Overall The

Great Gilly Hopkins was a well written novel and deserved the Newberry Award that it

received.

THE GREAT GILLY HOPKINS

KANDACE HENRY

CHILDRENS LITERATURE

TUES-THURS 100 – 230

FEB. 4, 1999

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