I Am Not Esther Essay

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Literature Essay - I am not Esther.

I am not Esther by Fleur Beale is a novel about a young New Zealand girl, Kirby Greenland, whose mother leaves her and sends her to live with her distant, religion-driven family, of whom she barely knows. Understanding the idea of identity is important to fully connect with the novel. In this essay I will be discussing the idea of Kirby’s identity as it changes and develops throughout the novel.

Before Kirby was left by her mother and sent to live with her extremely religious family, she was very fun-loving, normal, responsible and sure of her identity. Kirby was the “one who had to organise the running of” their “flat, who had to write out the cheques for the bills, make sure she,” (her Mother), “didn’t spend all the money before the next payday, get the washing done, drag her,” (her Mother), “off to buy groceries.” Kirby was extremely responsible; she was like the adult of the house. Kirby’s neighbour Louisa taught her “how to budget and how to shop for groceries” and all that kind of stuff her Mother “wasn’t interested in.” Kirby and her best friend, Gemma, would “hit town” and go shopping for the day, or just stay home and watch movies “for the ninth time.” Kirby and her mother, Ellen, would have barbecues that end “with twenty of the neighbours” in the “back garden.” Kirby was very close with her mother, Ellen. They had a lot of fun together, such as the time they dyed their hair “green and red and silver” for Christmas. Kirby and Ellen, along with Gemma, went looking “all over Auckland looking for just the right Christmas decorations” together. Kirby was definitely normal in the sense of being fun and sure of her identity and herself generally, but she was responsible to the point where it was as though she was the adult of the house.

When Kirby was first sent to live with the Pilgrim family, she found it very hard to adjust to their religious way of life. Kirby was made to change her clothes from her “t-shirt...
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