Identity In The Great Gilly Hopkins - The City College Of New York For Children's Literature - Essay/ Analysis

1694 words - 7 pages

Judith Rodriguez
May 5, 2019
Children's Literature
Great Gilly Hopkins Analysis
The Great Gilly Hopkins​ by Katherine Patterson follows Gilly, an eleven-year-old foster
child through her newest home. Gilly has been through several foster families and has
experienced problems with each one. When she arrives at Maime Trotter's house, she feels like
her experience won't be any different than her past. Gilly decides to continue with her angry,
rude, and troublesome behavior in an attempt to distance herself and hopefully end up with her
biological mother. Throughout her stay in Maime Trotter's house, she begins to have new
experiences, face consequences for her bad behavior, and receive patient love that helps create
both an understanding of the world around her and her identity.
When we first meet Gilly, we learn that she doesn't like to be called her full name, as
she reserves that for her real mother. She insists people call her Gilly instead of Galadriel as a
way of both distancing herself and putting her mother higher up on a pedestal. This attitude
changes towards the end of the book when her teacher Miss Harris sends her J.R.R Tolkien's
book​ Lord of The Rings​ so she can know the meaning behind her name. After reading and
discovering the meaning of Galadriel, she offers her teacher to call her by her full name instead
of Gilly. Embracing a “new” name was symbolic of her acceptance to a new attitude, self
awareness, and changed perspective. When Gilly was first introduced to Trotter she didn't care to
correct her. The book states
“The door had opened, and a huge hippopotamus of a women was filling the
doorway. “Welcome to Thompson Park, Gilly, honey.”
“Galadriel,” muttered Gilly, not that she expected this bale of blubber to manage
her real name.” (Patterson,4)
If Gilly had actually wanted Trotter to call her by her actual name, she would have said it
outloud for her to hear, like the rest of her rude comments. Gilly’s first impression of Trotter was
negative, making her feel that Trotter is not worthy of calling her by her full name. Furthermore,
when Gilly first meets her teacher Ms. Harris, she demands to be called Gilly instead of
Galadriel. Ms. Harris asked
“I’d love to call you Galadriel, if you don’t mind. It’s such a lovely name.”
“No!” Everyone was looking at Gilly peculiarly. She must have yelled louder then
she intended to. “I would prefer,” she said tightly, “to be called Gilly.” (Patterson,21)
Similar to with Trotter, Gilly didn't think very highly of her teacher. She was surprised at
the teachers nationality (African American) and saw her as another person who will come and go
in her life. Throughout the novel, Gilly forms a good relationship with her teacher and even write
to her when she goes to live with her biological mother. After Ms. Harris teaches Gilly about the
origin of her name gilly wrote
“The books by J.R.R. Tolkien came the day after your letter. Now I know who Galadriel
was...Anyhow, thank you for the books. T...

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