- Adversity in early childhood is the most prevalent theme in the novel. Ellen is faced with many problems including, but not limited to, the death of her mother and the sexual abuse of Ellen by her father.
- Self-identity is another theme present in the novel. Ellen changes her name to Foster because she has no real identity since she is moved around from foster home to foster home.
- Another theme is self-reliance and responsibility. Ellen is forced to fend for herself from an early age. It is amazing how she is able to handle so much responsibility. Despite the many impediments she faces, she continues to cope.
Ellen’s healing process
To heal, Ellen should continue to create art. When Ellen creates art, it calms her and enables her to think more clearly. In addition, spending time with her friends and her new family is vital to Ellen's recovery. Because Ellen likes to learn, it would be wise for her to seek knowledge by doing things such as reading books and attending classes.