Client’s Name Class Date My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picault 2 February 2005: Journal Entries First Response Jodi Picault, in her novel My Sister’s Keeper, explores an emotionally charged topic about love and the use of the body through a story that discusses a teen’s choice to sue to have the right to not undergo anymore procedures to save her sister…
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The child risked her parent’s love in order to serve the needs of her sister in a way that is both riveting and heartbreaking. In discussing the natures of family, death, and love, Picault explores the focus of a family that is in the wake of a devastating illness that is ravaging the life of the older child. Picault writes in the prologue a quote from Carl von Clausewitz which states that “No one starts a war – or rather, no one in his sense ought to – without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it” (Picault 1). In the protagonist’s life, death was a presence that had hovered over her from the time she was born. She conceived to be the hero and to hold her sister’s life in her hands. She had been burdened with a responsibility that an adult has difficulty with, let alone a child. Her body was a material through which the life of her sister was re-crafted, over and over. When Anna chooses to take her parents to court to sue for the right to have a say over what is done to her body, the reader understands that what Anna has been through is more than any child should have to endure. The story of love that lies under this act, however, is deeper than most adults are able to conceive. Initial Response The response to this book is as it should be expected, with tears and emotional feelings about one’s own family and how it relates to the events in the story even though they can be very different to this family. Emotions erupt in a flurry of almost incomprehensible flashes. A story this powerful and which reaches into the core of human relationships is sometimes difficult to sort out when it is first ended and the impact of it begins to reach its peak. If the reader has ever lost anyone to illness, it is likely that the emotions of that period in their life will resurface. In addition, if family relationships in one’s life do not have the same level of love and appreciation, those feelings too can mix into all of the other feelings that come about from reading the novel. Picault has a way of reaching into the core of the reader and pulling the most tender and raw emotions about real life relationships to the surface. This story is complex, but reveals the relationships in appropriate increments as the tale is told through the perspectives of the different members of the family. At a moment of impending crisis, one that this family is used to occurring, Anna tells the readers that “Lately, I have been having nightmares, where I’m cut to so many pieces that there isn’t enough of me to put back together” (Picault 6). This can be read in many different ways, one of which is that she is tired of being used as a surgical resource, but the other that the anticipation of her sister’s fate is going to dissect her emotionally until she is not the same. One of the themes in the novel is that of transformation. The complex emotions in the bulk of the book eventually lead to a transformation of all the members involved. What I learned from this book was that love means quietness and sacrifice. It isn’t about showing the world how much you love someone, but showing them you love them by doing what they ask or doing what is best, despite the potentially bad outcome for yourself. Love is not a loud thing, but something
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