My Sister’s Keeper

Last Updated: 19 Apr 2023
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My Sister’s Keeper Jodi Picoult’s ‘My sister’s keeper’ is a novel based on conflicts surrounding the main character, Anna Fitzgerald. Anna did many procedures, endured pain, gave cells, bone marrow and blood to her sister, Kate. If that wasn’t enough, now the doctors want her to give away one of her kidneys. It was a shock to the whole family when her mom, Sara received a letter stating that her daughter, Anna is suing her for medical emancipation. When a law suit is filed it is usually for someone’s own benefit, in Anna’s case her one and main influential factor is Kate’s benefit.

This shows that Anna’s strong and undefined love for her sister allows her to do what she would’ve never dreamed of doing, being the reason for Kate’s death. Anna’s perpetual love causes her to feel neglect from her parents, to put her sister before her own desires, and to grant Kate’s wish which leads to a lawsuit against her parents. One shouldn’t judge at the first glance of a situation, and that’s what Anna will teach us in this novel. “See, unlike the rest of the free world, I didn’t get here by accident. And if you parents have you for a reason then that reason better exist.

Because once it’s gone, so are you. ” Picoult wrote this quote which is a perfect example of what Anna feels throughout the novel and a factor that had an impact on her decision to sue her parents for medical emancipation. Anna’s wish would be to live independently from her sister because of all the neglect that she feels. She tells us with this quote that she was conceived to save Kate. She feels that her parents love her because she can make sure that their beloved daughter will be able to fight cancer and live a longer life.

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Anna informs us that her parents won’t love her anymore once Kate passes away since that was the reason that she was born in the first place. This makes Anna wonder whether people actually like her or if they are forced to be nice to her because of her circumstances. She wants to know if people would still treat her just the same, or if they wouldn’t stand being around her. The constant neglect from her parents and the lack of love she truly needs makes her feel depressed. Picoult wrote: “Maybe it’s because I was the third child, and they were sick and tired of keeping a catalog of life.

Maybe it’s because they forgot. It’s nobody’s fault, …, but it’s a little depressing. … A photo says, you were so important to me that I put down everything else to come watch. ” For Anna, it’s the little things that count, when she noticed that there were more pictures of her siblings than herself she felt empty. Unnoticed. Unloved. She considered that the lack of photos meant that she wasn’t important to them, and that they only keep her around so that she can be used to help Kate. It makes her create scenarios in her head of how she would enjoy life if Kate were to die, or if she never existed in the first place.

Although in her scenarios it saddens her that her sister is not around, she still feels satisfied that no one is stopping her from going to sleepovers, joining hockey teams and going to another city for camp. Her scenarios make her feel content that she’s not in the hospitals on a regular basis, because Kate’s sick. When Anna thinks about getting medically emancipated from her parents, she realizes that she will live independently from Kate. She would no longer feel any neglect from her parents since now all their attention would be on her.

She knows that her scenarios will finally come true; she can finally be pleased with her life again. Anna has sacrificed a lot for her sister and has always put her sister before her own desires. Picoult wrote: “‘I won’t ever go to Minnesota … I won’t ever go anywhere. ’” In this quote, Anna is telling Kate that she won’t go anywhere. She’s telling her that she won’t go to the hockey camp that she’s been dreaming of going. She gave up the chance to meet one of the best goalies to be with her sister. Anna makes sure that Kate knows that other than Kate’s survival, nothing else matters.

She wants to make sure that Kate knows that she would do and stop anything for her. When it came to decide whether she wanted to go play hockey or to be there for Kate in case she needed her, Anna chose Kate. Although Anna had to see Kate in the hospital, unresponsive to make her choice, she still chose her. Anna is also telling Kate that no matter what happens; she can count on her. That no matter how small or big the favor; she will be there. Picoult wrote: “I used to be a goaltender. … The older you get, the less the coach forgives you if you miss a game. … I don’t like letting a whole team down. With Anna’s constant talk about hockey it shows that, beyond doubt, it meant a lot to her. It was, yet another one of Anna’s unselfish acts that led to her affliction. When Anna realized that being there for her sister would mean that she would miss practices and sometimes games, she couldn’t stand the fact that she’s letting a lot of people down. Not only would she let herself down because it meant that she won’t be there to play the game that makes her the happiest, but also her teammates and coach because they might not have a replacement when she calls in last minute thus making them forfeit.

When Anna says that she ‘doesn’t like to let a whole team down’ she’s subconsciously talking about her situation with Kate and her mom. She sees that her mom has done everything to make sure that Kate can live through another day so she feels compelled to give up everything to make that last. Anna knows how much it would mean to everybody, especially her mom, if Kate were to stay alive so she does her best not to let them down by staying with her and not saying no to any of the pain that she endures. She was coerced to give up her childhood and anything that could matter to a 13 year old girl.

Kate’s sickness had made it that Anna couldn’t have any friends over to her house because her friends won’t feel comfortable in that situation. Her mother also doesn’t allow her friends over because they may bother Kate when she needs to be resting. Anna doesn’t have any friends and doesn’t go to sleepovers because once her mom comes and picks her up in the middle of the night to go to the hospital; they usually don’t tend to invite her back. Anna doesn’t complain about it to anyone but it does hurt her emotionally. If Anna were to get medically emancipated from her parents, she could have a chance to live again.

A chance not to be afraid of getting picked up at any hour of the day to be brought to the hospital. She would have a chance to have a childhood and a life in the future that doesn’t revolve around Kate. Anna’s overpowering love for Kate has her doing the unbelievable. She filed a lawsuit against her parents so that she can get medically emancipated; she wants the last word to decide if she wants to donate anything to her sister. What really persuaded Anna to do this were not her own desires, it was actually her sister.

When Anna was asked what Kate had told her that influenced her to file the lawsuit, she said: “She asked me to kill her. ” Kate couldn’t bear the suffering; she just wanted it to be over. She knew the inevitable, she was going to die. She couldn’t wait any longer so she tried killing herself on several occasions. Kate tried to kill herself by drinking alcohol so that her insides would burn, she tried over dosing on pills but Anna managed to stop her from committing suicide. Anna told her that if she died, everyone would be devastated especially herself.

When her mother told them that Anna needed to give Kate a kidney, Kate protested to Anna and told her not to do it. Anna at first baffled, didn’t realize what Kate was asking from her. It then hit her that her sister was asking her to let her die, since that’s the only way that she could be killed. She told Kate that of course she would give the kidney. In spite of it all Kate was still telling her to stop donating organs. Anna told the courtroom: “I don’t want her to die, but I know she doesn’t want to live like this, and I’m the one who can give her what she wants … I’ve always been the one who can give her what she wants. This quote shows that the whole time that we were led to believe that it was Anna selfish desires that caused her to file lawsuit. This is when we find out the truth that it’s not only Anna that is miserable, but also Kate. Anna doesn’t want Kate to die, she loves her too much. On the other hand, that same love doesn’t want Kate to be miserable. Anna has always managed to put a smile on Kate’s face, when Kate is in the hospital and can’t move Anna entertains her, goes on hunts to bring her news on how many cute guys there are in the hospital, and goes to the other side of the hospital to bring Kate back her favorite apple juice.

Anna is described by her father to be the family’s constant, that she always comes in with a smile and that she always put everyone else in a good mood. When Kate needs bone marrow, Anna was there for her, when Kate needed white cells, Anna was there to give them, when Kate was ashamed that her hair was falling off, Anna was there to shave her hair so that Kate wouldn’t feel left out. Anna would do anything if it means it will make Kate happy. Anna filed the lawsuit so that Kate “wouldn’t have to go through this anymore. ” During the whole process that was all that went through Anna’s mind, Kate’s happiness.

Picoult wrote: “Kate was feeling guilty about being a burden. ” Kate knew that if she stayed everyone would put their life on hold so that they paid attention to her. She knew that Anna was unhappy because she couldn’t go places with her friends, go camping or to play hockey. She thought she knew that without her everyone else would be happy. When Kate constantly brought up this subject to her, Anna knew that that’s what her sister really desired. As Anna was compelled to be there for Kate when she needed her organs, she was compelled to be there or her when she didn’t want them anymore. Getting medically emancipated from her parents was never Anna’s own choice. It was the sacrifice that she had to do for her sister, and only they would understand. Anna’s eternal love has been the main source of a very controversial law suit. Anna’s request to get medically emancipated from her parents was more than to repudiate the donation of an organ. It’s the neglect and lack of love from her parents, it’s the fact that she put her sister before herself, but most importantly its Kate’s death wish.

Anna never got the attention in her childhood that she would’ve wished for. Nevertheless that hasn’t stopped her from cheering everyone else and making sure that there’s a smile on their faces. Anna was saddened when she found out that her sister wanted to die, and felt even worst when she realized that she was the only one that could make her wish come true. Picoult wrote: “Maybe who we are isn't so much about what we do, but rather what we're capable of when we least expect it. ” This quote shows everything that Anna had to go through.

She was trying to figure out who she was and by doing what she would’ve never expected to do, she found out that she’s nothing without her sister. We never realize what we have until it’s gone, and sometimes that’s all it takes to show you the right path. “If you have a sister and she dies, do you stop saying you have one? Or are you always a sister, even when the other half of the equation is gone? ” Bibliography Picoult, Jodi. My Sister’s Keeper. February 2005. New York. Washington Square Press. 2005. Print.

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My Sister’s Keeper. (2017, May 21). Retrieved from

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