In most novels every struggling character has someone by their side to help guide them along. That person gives them insightful information, encouragent, and sometimes even love. In this novel Ellen Foster, there are three characters that push Ellen forward and do not let her give up. Her art teacher, new mother and friend Starletta all have their own ways of helping Ellen. Through whichever way, Ellen gets all the support and hope she needs to overcome her times of despair. This redoubtable girl gathers determination and trust in fate from the hearts of these people.
Ellen's art teacher, Julia, is one of the few characters in the novel Ellen Foster that makes a positive impact in Ellen's life. The instant her teacher notices the numerous bruises on Ellen's body she knows Ellen can no longer stay with her father. Ellen tells her teacher, "I was used to it so do not get in an uproar over it" (Gibbons 44). Julia takes the initiative of asking Ellen to come and stay with her and her husband Roy. Ellen appreciates every moment she has with Julia and her husband. They all get along great with each other, "the three of us could pass for a family on the streets" (55). They treat her well as if she were their own child. Ellen always dreams of being apart of a functional family. Even though Julia cares for and loves Ellen the judges think Ellen needs a permanent home arranged for her. After only three months of living happily, the judges direct Ellen to go and live with her new foster family.
Ellen's new mother never really materializes into an actual character throughout the novel although she provides great insight and nourishment for Ellen. The story flashes back and forth between Ellen"s times of adversity and her moments of joy with her foster family. Ellen's new mother always provides Ellen with lots of food, "food was always on the table for supper time" (74). She never had a surplus of food before now.