S2 – Story Analysis for Ella Enchanted

Creative Writing Story Analysis

Title: Ella Enchanted
Author: Gail Carson Levine
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult

– Eleanor, or ‘Ella,’ is the young but oh-so cleaver heroine of this story. Tall, slender, with green eyes and dark hair, Ella struggles with her natural clumsiness, especially at Finishing School, which her selfish and unfeeling father forces her to attend. A unique facet of Ella’s character is the spell that she received shortly after birth as a gift from a foolish fairy – the gift (or curse, as Ella comes to view it) of unconditional obedience. Ella must obey any and every order given her, which proves tricky – and even life-threatening – throughout the course of the book.
– Prince Charmont, Ella’s royal (and handsome) friend who shows sympathy and loyalty throughout her hard times, keeps us guessing throughout the story – will they get together, or won’t they? Char’s bright, intelligent eyes, lanky build, and attractive head of curly hair only adds to his already long list of desirable qualities in a partner for Ella, including his open countenance, honest and upfront personality, and sense of humor.
Mandy, Ella’s opinionated, affectionate family-member-like cook adds a constant mother-figure for us, the readers, and for her spunky young friend.
Sir Peter of Frell, a father-of-sorts and traveling merchant, treats Ella with very little kindness and no sympathy whatsoever, even after the sudden death of her mother. A proud and calculating man, Sir Peter’s main goal is to gain, whether that entails wealth, riches, or stature, he’ll do anything to get it. Including marrying an awful, grasping woman like . . .
Dame Olga. Olga find pleasure in rising above others, especially Ella, who shines so brightly next to her own two, dull, bullying mini-versions of herself – her daughters, Hattie and Olive.
Hattie serves as another principal antagonist in this story, making Ella’s existence many times more unpleasant, especially during the time they spend together at Madame Edith’s Finishing School.
Areida captures our hearts and loyalties as Ella’s Ayorthaian best friend with a heart so gentle and kind, you can’t help but love her as Ella does. With dark skin and beautiful brown eyes, Areida teaches Ella how to speak in her native tongue and how to show compassion to others, even when they don’t deserve it.

Point of View
The point of view in Ella Enchanted is first person, past tense, told by Ella herself.

The setting of this story is tricky, since it’s fantasy, but I would suspect that it would seem most like the medieval times on earth. The main conflict is set in a land called Frell, a place filled with ogres, gnomes, elves, centaurs, and all sorts of magical creatures.

Plot Outline

After her mother dies of a sudden sickness, Ella is sent to finishing school by her father with Hattie and Olive, Dame Olga’s selfish and brutish daughters. Escaping into the wild after receiving a particularly heartless order by Hattie, Ella manages to make it home to her father, who has lost all his money and needs her to marry an independently wealthy – and much older – husband whom he will pick for her. Through all this, Prince Char and Ella become closer and closer friends, corresponding often by letters during his stay in a far away country. Soon, Sir Peter, Ella’s father, finds a wealthy spouse, not for Ella, but for himself, in Dame Olga. Now Ella is forced to share a home with Hattie, who despises her, but loves giving orders that Ella must obey.

While Ella spends her time scrubbing floors and slaving over the hot stove in her own home because of the jealousy of Dame Olga, Char sends her a letter confessing his love and asking for her hand in marriage. But no, she may not marry him, because how would Frell thrive with a cursed queen? In an intricate plot twist, Char is led to believe that Ella never loved him and that she has married already. When Char returns home from his extended trip, his parents through a 3-night-long party, which Ella attends in disguise in order to enjoy seeing Char one last time. However, Char recognizes her at the last ball and, unintentionally, orders Ella to marry him. After a long and hard struggle within herself, through her love for Char and her country, Ella finds that she has said ‘no’ to an order for the first time. The curse is broken, and she and Char live happily ever after.

Man vs. Himself – Ella vs. Her own forced obedience (Major conflict)
Man vs. Man – Ella vs. Hattie (Major conflict)
Man vs. Man – Ella vs. Her father (Minor conflict)

Always labor to stay true to yourself – don’t let others dictate the things you do – and one day, you’ll realize you have strength of character of remarkable capacities.

Literary Devices
Juxtaposition – This literary device is used when we see the selfish, cruel, and dim-witted Olive next to the selfless, good-hearted, and always clever Ella, which helps build respect and affection for our heroine.
Motif – The main motif or theme of Ella Enchanted is freedom to make your own decisions and adhere to your own personality and character, showed by Ella’s constant struggle with her curse of obedience.
Epilogue – Having a colorful and informative epilogue really adds to this story, helping the readers know exactly what Ella’s life will turn out to be after the curse has been lifted, and how her relationship with Char will grow and develop through their marriage and successive reign of Frell.

Ever since I first read Ella Enchanted, I felt that it was a wonderful example of a strong, intelligent female lead in a story that is direct and to the point, while still being impactful. Ella acts as a true role model for young girls, handling the myriad of hardships in her life with a sense of humor and an irrepressible spirit. The dialogue and description is realistic and enjoyable – I have read this book probably a dozen times or more, and plan to enjoy for many more hours to come.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kaylah
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 22:40:31

    My class has been reading this book 4 awhile now and i like the movie better then the book


    • sophiactps
      Mar 16, 2011 @ 15:04:35

      Oh, really? I personally prefer the book, but that may be just because I read it before seeing the movie and was disappointed by how different they were. It’s definitely a cute movie, though. Thanks for reading!


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