White Oleander Essay

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Matthew Vasquez September 26, 2010
Period 9/10 Final Copy

In the novel White Oleander by Janet Fitch, Astrid has been through many life changing

experiences. A new obstacle awaits her throughout the time she spends at each foster home. Her loss of

identity shifts her faith throughout the story. Astrid’s identity evolves during the periods of time and

locations she traveled through.

As time goes by, Astrid changes mentally from living with her mother to her current location.

Living with her mother then moving into different foster homes mold Astrid’s thoughts. Astrid has not

learned to live a normal life; she only has been convinced to live by how her foster parents and “friends”

tell her to live. Unfortunately she still has her mother’s killer mentality that always stays with her. The

first hint that we (the reader) get of this act of violence is when she almost killed the girl with the knife

at the first foster home, “…Knocked her down. Sat on her, my knees in her, slipping into her neck, the

indentation at the base of her skull like a well…Spit it out, I whispered in her ear”. As time goes by,

Astrid begins to break down mentally, her physical state changes positively and negatively.

Throughout the year Astrid has endured much pain and suffering, although she understands she

still is beautiful. Astrid’s connection to each foster parent is her beauty as when Starr buys her the pink

dress. This pink dress is a symbol of feeling wanted and being comfortable with another Guardian

besides her mother. As time progresses Astrid understands the advantage of being beautiful with the

slow increase of confidence each foster parent gives her. Olivia is the prime example of who taught her

this method, “It’s a man’s world…You’ll figure out what men want how to give it to them.” Astrid

embraces these words to build confidence in her beauty to perhaps “use” men. Astrid’s...
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