My Sister’s Keeper written by Jodi Picoult in 2004, explores the lives of two sisters, Kate and Anna Fitzgerald as they come to terms with Kate’s illness and Anna being the only family member with the power to save her sister; regardless of the emotional and physical toll it has on the youngest child. The novels many themes and ideas focus on the thin line between what is right and what is wrong and how the different members of the Fitzgerald family interpret it and death. The bond between the different Fitzgerald children and how their secrets and misfortunes have brought them closer is explored on multiple occasions during the novel.
Picoult uses a number of different techniques and features in order to explore these themes including symbolism, metaphors and foreshadowing. The plot of the novel focuses on Anna Fitzgerald’s desire to no longer donate various parts of her body to her sister – who suffers from leukaemia and is destined to die without her sister’s donations. As it becomes clear throughout the novel that Anna’s entire existence is to keep Kate alive through various donations and treatments.
As Kate makes the decisions to becomes medically emancipated in order to have the freedom to make her own decisions regarding her body the line between what is right and what is wrong begins to be explored throughout the text and how it is interpreted in different ways and the reactions of the different characters to Anna’s decision. The novel briefly discuss the external opinions of people in regards to Anna’s existence – while many believe that’s it’s wrong to have a child to save another, the Fitzgerald family see it in the complete opposite way; presented the blurred lines etween what is right and wrong and how it can be interpreted in a number of different ways regarding on the situation surrounding the event.
Throughout the novel Picoult uses Symbolism regarding the closeness of the different families in order to show why they have a different understanding about Anna and Kate’s situation and how the opinions vary between the characters. While it is shown that Anna and Kate have a very close relationship, Anna has a strained relationship with her parents – particularly her mother who has given up her entire life so she could care for Kate after she fell ill.
Because of this closeness between the sisters and distance between the children and parents the characters reactions to the focus theme is very different. While Anna’s mother is outraged by Anna’s desire to stop donated the various parts of her body to Kate, Kate understands why she would want this (it is later revealed that Kate requested that Anna stop saving her life) and her father understands where she is coming from – regardless of his desire to save Kate’s life.
The Symbolism of the closeness and space between the family members continues to reflect on the beliefs of what is wrong and right. The space between those who disagree with Anna decision (such as her mother) and those who understand her decision (like her sister) is prominent through the use of symbolism even when the issue in not often discussed directly between the family. Themes such as what is right and wrong has largely effected how the themes of closeness between the family members (particularly the two sisters) is represented largely through the bond of Kate and Anna.
As it is revealed early on that Anna’s entire existence revolved around keeping Kate alive and providing for her the author uses these circumstances to develop closeness and understanding between the characters in order to further develop and thicken the plot. A number of different techniques are used in order to fully understand the relationship between the two characters including metaphors and foreshadowing.
Metaphors are used a number of times in order to symbolise how close the characters are, on one occasion Kate and Anna are referred to as Siamese twins by Anna – suggesting that their relationship is extremely close, almost inseparable. Continuously throughout the metaphors are used on multiple occasions along with the use of similes to create a contrast of emotions and understanding for the readers in relation to the characters relationship.
Foreshadowing is a dominant technique used throughout the novel, and has a number of different effects on the plot. One of the main themes expressed through the novel is death – particularly Kate’s. As the novel progresses the focus remains on Kate’s health and her end pending death, as well as the role Anna plays in saving her life being a recurring theme throughout the novel. As the readers attention is focused on why Anna hasn’t chosen not to give Kate her kidney, and why Kate would rather die then take anything else from her sister.
Suggestions are made that Anna may be the one to die by the end of the novel as opposed to Kate. This use of foreshadowing allows the reader to make assumptions about the ending and become invested in the story in order to find out which sister will live and which will not. In the 2004 novel ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ by Jodi Picoult, a number of themes are explored using various different methods to explore these themes including language and writing techniques such as symbolism, metaphors and foreshadowing.
Themes explored in the novel include the thin line between what is right and wrong and how the different characters see it, based on their current situation. The bond between the different characters, particularly the two sisters (Kate and Anna) is explored through a series of metaphors and symbolism throughout the story. Foreshadowing is commonly used from the beginning of the novel till the end, used to engage the reader and suggest a different outcome that is initially thought by the reader and the characters.