Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Which parallels can be drawn between Kaye Gibbons’s life and the events in Ellen Foster?

Does Ellen appear to be a dynamic character (one who changes in the course of the narrative)? What evidence can be presented to justify this opinion?

What is the effect of the first-person narrators in Ellen Foster and A Cure for Dreams? Would the stories change significantly if told from another point of view? How is the theme of self-reliance evident in both of these novels?

What does Gibbons seemingly have to say about the function of men?

How can language, or the use of language, be seen as empowering in both of these novels?