Ellen Foster goes through many shocking events at a very young age in the novel, Ellen Foster, by Kaye Gibbons. Some might say these events have strenghtened her as a girl, have strenghtened her for life, and as a woman later on. Others might say these events have shocked her for life and she will never be healed.
I believe it has strenghtened her more than anything else. She is now prepared to go through obstacles in life that have already been encountered, so she has the knowledge and the skills needed to deal with such incidents.
At the very beginning of the novel, Kaye Gibbons reveals one of Ellen's most inner thoughts, "When I was little, I would think of ways to kill my daddy. I would figure out this or that way and run it down through my head until it got easy." (1) which captures the reader's mind right away. This symbolic sentence also tells us that her father is a horrible person that has no respect for Ellen, himself, or anyone else. .
Ellen moves many times in the book. She tries to live with her father and tries to be independant. At first she is unsuccessful, but in the long run she learns from her mistakes, she can become a better person, which helps her pave her own way to independance. On her way to independance, she still lives with several different families, but even though she tries to act tough on the outside, these transitions are making her feel like a caged animal. .
In order to gain this independance, she has many different methods of coping with the "real world." One such method is that she tells the reader about her dreams of eating, being full, and never being hungry again. .
Kaye Gibbons ends the story by having Ellen look back at her life and realize that her problems are nothing compared to the problems that Starletta has encountered because of her skin color. So yes, these events have strengtened Ellen and made her a better person then lets say Dora who has a loving mother, a loving family and who I am sure is not prepared for life and will most likely be very unsuccessful in life.