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My Sister's Keeper Analysis

Categories: AdolescenceSister

In My Sister’s Keeper, the story takes place in a fictional town in Rhodes Island, Upper Darby. Where the town is, is not actually very important to the story. The story could be set in any small town that has mainly a white population with “a very small legal-system” (**ref). The reason that it is important to know that it is a small town, is because it explains why everyone in the novel knows of, or is friends, with each other.

The story take place mainly in two places, the Fitzgerald’s home and the Province Hospital. Jodie Picoult doesn’t go into depth about the hospital’s appearance but she does thoroughly explain what the house looks like. The Fitzgerald home is “a typical American house” (**ref) with three bedrooms, a two-car-garage with an attic above it and a living room with many family pictures. Anna and Kate share one of the bedrooms and Jesse stays in the attic.

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The time period the story takes place in is from 1990 to 2010. The book consists of present action happening in 2010 and past events that leads up to the current day. The book jumps back and forth between the past and present time.

The Notebook takes place in a small town, New Bern, on the north coast of Carolina. When Noah and Allie first meet, they are at a festival in New Bern in 1946. This is significant because this is where the begging of their love story begins.

It mainly takes place at Noah’s house that he renovated, next to the lake.

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This white house is important because this is where they reunite after 14 years apart. It is also renovated into the nursing home that Allie and Noah stay in near the end of the book.

The time period majority of this story takes place in, 1946, is the same time World War II was happening. In this time period, peoples morals and values for love were a lot different than today.

This novel is similar to My Sister’s Keeper in a sense that it does jump between the past and the present, but definitely not as much as My Sister’s Keeper.

In The Perks of Being a Wallflower the place where this story takes place is never actually told to the reader. The reasoning behind keeping his location secret is so that nobody will know who he is. This does have its advantages. The reader is able to make it something they already know and are familiar with, which might make the story more enjoyable.

After doing some research, it is proven to take place either in or near Pittsburgh.

The evidence of this assumption is because when he goes through a tunnel nearby, the tunnel that makes him feel infinite, he writes in his letter that it is “the Fort Pitt Tunnel” (**ref). This tunnel is in Pittsburgh, and therefore it is assumed it takes place in that state.

The time period this was written, 1990s, is not particularly important to the story. It only influenced things such as the music he listens to or the movies he watches. It also explains why he uses things like cassettes or record players etc.

The physical setting of My Sister’s Keeper, seemed to be the most important one in comparison to all the other novels. The setting of this novel tied in the most with what was happening in their lives and helped enhance what was going on. In contrast, the physical place of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, was not as important to the story, it was not even told to the reader. The setting of The Notebook seemed to enhance the theme of love in the book.

Narrative technique and style

My Sister’s Keeper has several different narrators, all narrating from the first person perspective. The way it has been written in the first person perspective from different characters is very clever, as the reader is still able to know what all the characters are thinking on each day. The book is divided into parts that are named different chronological days of the week. Within each part, there are different chapters, narrated by different characters. The name of each chapter is the name of the character that is narrating it.

The chapters make it easier for the readers to understand whose perspective they are reading from. The reason why the book is in parts is to show everyone’s thoughts, feeling and actions towards the day of the trial and the death of Anna every day of the week. The parts help to indicate when a new day starts instead of the author having to write into the chapters. It creates a little bit of suspense and excitement.

Before each part is a poem or quote, which revolves around or includes the idea of fire, a massive ongoing symbol throughout the book.

One fire burns out another’s burning, One pain is lessen’d by another’s anguish. ~WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Romeo and Juliet (**ref)

This quote is the quote written just before the part where Anna dies in a car accident and her kidney is used to save Kate. This is very effective and foreshadows that something bad is going to happen.

The storyline move periodically. Most of the chapters that Sara narrates are in the past. They give background information and context to the story. The rest of the characters narrate mostly in the present time.

The book starts off with a gripping memory of someone- the reader does not know who- trying to kill their sister when they were three. This prologue grabs the reader’s attention and creates suspension, excitement and curiosity as to who the person is.

The ending is quite unexpected and shocking. Throughout the novel, reader expects Kate to be the one who dies; however Anna becomes brain dead in a car accident straight after the trial. Kate is able to get a transplant with Anna’s kidney and lives for a few more years.

The epilogue gives the reader a sense of closure after the death of Anna. The ending explains how Anna’s kidney is able to surprisingly save Kate. It also explains the grief that the household goes through after losing the youngest member of the family.

The last sentence of the epilogue, narrated by Kate, is very special and shows a sisterly love and bond between Kate and Anna even though Anna is no longer physically in her life.

I take her with me, wherever I go (**ref)

My Sister’s Keeper is written in a simple, graphic style that is easy to read. The language and words Picoult uses is straightforward but there is also a sense of elegance in it.

Picoult chooses to use words that even younger people will be able to understand, this may be due to the fact that the story revolves around a family and children. Picoult also uses medical terms in this novel, but she does so in a way that the reader can still understand the meanings without having to have studied medicine or without having to look up the meaning on the internet. The dialogue in this book is realistic and has a natural flow to it.

Majority of all the sentences in her book are fairly short and to the point, although there are certain paragraphs that do have slightly longer sentences. She uses active sentences frequently.

Picoult does use symbolism and imagery throughout her book. Fire plays a big role in this story. Brian is a firefighter and he puts out fires. In contrast, Jesse is an arsonist and starts fires. To both of them, fire is very uncontrollable and wild, similar to Kate’s cancer. They both feel that they can’t help control her cancer. Jesse also uses fire to gain Brian’s attention because he feels ignored by his parents as they are always focused on Kate and her health.

The tone of the story is one of great knowledge and understanding of a family going through a tough time. The way Picoult writes makes you understand and almost feel how the characters are feeling. It creates a sense of empathy and compassion towards the family. There are moments in the book where the reader almost feels like they are in that situation and makes them understand why characters did the things that they did.

Picoult used a colloquial resister in this novel. The language was not too formal or literate and it also did not include many vulgar or slang words. This made it an enjoyable read.

In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, there is only one narrator, Charlie. It is written in first person perspective, the same as My Sister’s Keeper. The novel is written as a collection of letters to a ‘friend’. It almost feels as if the reader is invading Charlie’s private life.

The disadvantage of this novel being written in the first person narrator is that the reader never truly knows what the other characters are thinking.

All the names in the novel are pseudonyms. This gives the book a feeling of distrust and doubt. It makes the reader unsure whether or not they can trust Charlie and what he is telling us.

“I will call people by different names or generic names because I don’t want you to find me” (**ref)

Chbosky wrote this story in chronological order with few flashbacks. The novel is divided into parts. Within each part there are multiple letters. Each letter is dated at the top and gives the reader a gage as to how much time has passed since the last letter. Each letter starts with “Dear friend” and ends with “Love always, Charlie”.

The different letters always start in exciting different ways. Charlie will sometimes ask a rhetorical question or state sometime unusual or weird to grab the reader’s attention or he may even tell the reader what he is feeling. This keeps the book interesting and fun to read. Some examples of this include:

I love Twinkies, and the reason I’m saying that is because we are all supposed to think of reasons to live. (*ref)

I feel like a big faker because I’ve been putting my life back together, and nobody knows. (*ref)

The foreshadowing in this book is very effective. The suicide of Charlie’s best friend, foreshadows Charlie’s suicidal thoughts. Charlie also mentions flashbacks of Aunt Helen very often which foreshadows that something big will happen involving her. This turned out to be that Aunt Helen molested Charlie and emotionally scarred him.

The begging of the book makes the reader feel sceptical and unsure about who Charlie really is. This is actually effective as it makes us curious to see what he will and won’t tell us.

The ending of the book is quite dark and depressing although there is a slight sense of hope to it. Once Charlie realises that he was molested by Aunt Helen as a child, he is admitted into hospital and is there for two months. He is not in a great headspace and loses control of his body in a way.

Luckily he has his family and friend who come and see him to keep him company, and he is very grateful for them. He tells the reader to not worry about him and tells them to “believe things are good with [him], and even when they’re not, they will be soon enough”. This shows that he’s got hope for the future and that he is trying to be positive, even in a tough situation

This shows that he’s got hope for the future and that he is trying to be positive, even in a tough situation.

The style of Charlie’s letters are easy to read in a sense that he uses words that everyone can understand. He uses simple sentences that make him seem younger than he actually is. Although Charlie does use short sentences, they still convey deep and meaningful thoughts and ideas.

The letters can sometimes be very vague though, because Charlie is scared that the reader will find who he actually is. This can make the read slightly more difficult to read, with is less enjoyable.

The dialogue in this book is very similar to how many teenager talk. There is some vulgar language within the book. The book deals with some mature topics such as suicide, rape, molestation, sexuality and trauma.

There is symbolism throughout the book; however one of the most important and prominent symbols is the tunnel that Sam, Patrick and Charlie drive through often. The tunnels shows their personalities as they are driving through it. Sam is very care-free, enjoying her adolescent years.

She screams in joy while the wind blows against her in the tunnel. In contrast, Charlie is more subdued and quiet. He rather observes what’s happening instead of actively participating. By the end of the novel, he realises the freedom he feels whilst going through the tunnel. He enjoys it with his friends and comes to the realisation that he like living in the moment.

“I was suddenly very aware of the fact it was me standing up in that tunnel with the wind over my face. Not caring if I saw downtown. Not even thinking about it. Because I was standing in the tunnel. And I was really there. And that was enough to make me feel infinite.”

Cite this page

My Sister's Keeper Analysis. (2019, Nov 22). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/settingin-my-sister-s-keeper-the-story-takes-place-in-a-fictional-example-essay

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