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My Sister’s Keeper

Jodi Picoult

Wednesday, part 2

Wednesday, part 1

Thursday, part 1

From Julia’s section through end of chapter

Summary: Julia

Julia argues with her twin sister, Izzy, until Judge DeSalvo calls. The judge asks Julia if she will be the guardian ad litem in Anna’s case. Julia agrees and goes to the Fitzgerald house where she meets Anna. Julia takes Anna to the zoo to talk, hoping it might loosen her up. Julia can’t determine why exactly Anna filed the lawsuit, but she realizes that Anna will either lose her sister or herself. At the house Julia meets Sara. Julia tries to speak with Sara, but Sara brushes her off. Julia realizes that it will be difficult for Anna to live there during the course of the legal proceedings without being swayed by her mother. Afterward Julia goes to Campbell’s office. It emerges that they have had a romance in the past and that they haven’t spoken in years.

Summary: Campbell

Campbell works in his office when Julia walks in. He feels shocked to see her for the first time in fifteen years. After some awkward conversation, the two discuss Anna. Campbell suggests removing Sara from the house, but Julia thinks it is the wrong course of action. The two argue and the dog, Judge, becomes increasingly agitated. Finally, Campbell leaves Julia alone in his office. In a flashback to their high-school years, Campbell remembers when Julia arrived at their prep school. She looked different than the other girls and kept to herself. One day Campbell followed her to a cemetery and asked for help with his homework. In the present, Campbell straightens himself up in a bathroom. When he goes back to his office, Julia has gone. In another flashback, we see Campbell and Julia as teenagers sharing their first kiss.

Back in the present, Campbell goes to see Anna at her house. Initially, he feels awkward around Anna and admits that he usually doesn’t spend time with his clients. Later that night, Campbell visits Julia. At first he confuses her with her twin sister, Izzy, who acts angrily toward Campbell. Campbell and Julia talk and catch up. Julia admits to Campbell that it is hard to be around him after everything that happened between them.

Summary: Anna

Anna asks Jesse to drive her to the hospital. Jesse tells Anna that she is not doing the wrong thing, but she tells him that she’s not doing the right thing either. Jesse agrees to help Anna see Kate by distracting their mother. In a flashback, Kate wants to talk to Anna about death and the best way to die, but Anna refuses. In the present, Jesse pretends to be drunk in order to get Sara away from Kate’s hospital room. Anna goes into Kate’s room, and we see another flashback in which the entire family plays football on Thanksgiving. Jesse accidentally knocks Kate down, and Brian gets angry at him. Jesse says he forgot, and Kate smiles. She’s thrilled that, for a moment, Jesse forgot she had cancer. In the present, Anna climbs into Kate’s bed with her. In her thoughts she acknowledges that she didn’t come to see Kate to feel better, but because without Kate, she can’t remember who she is.

Analysis

The section introduces Julia Romano, who serves as another parental surrogate for Anna. Campbell became the first surrogate for Anna when he took on her case, though only to a limited degree as up until this point he has insisted that their relationship remain distanced and professional. Both Julia and Campbell act as Anna’s protector in various ways, Campbell by serving as Anna’s legal counsel and Julia by working to determine what is best for Anna as her guardian ad litem. As parental figures, Julia and Campbell stand in stark contrast to Anna’s actual parents, Sara and Brian. Julia and Campbell work for Anna alone and do not have to consider Kate’s health as Sara and Brian do. This fact makes them arguably more capable than Anna’s true parents of determining what is best for Anna. Yet even Campbell and Julia struggle to reach clear conclusions. Campbell, for instance, decides he no longer wants Sara removed from the house after he speaks with Anna.

Campbell’s narration in this section, specifically his memories and behavior regarding Julia, add entirely new dimensions to his character. Campbell, who until now has presented himself as a flashy lawyer, obviously cares deeply about Julia and feels regret for whatever happened in their past. These feelings are the first real emotions the reader has seen from Campbell. Julia’s presence even seems to alter Campbell’s relationship with Anna. After meeting with Julia, Campbell goes to Anna’s house to visit her on a purely personal level, something he admits he has never done before. Yet even with Julia, Campbell is not completely honest. He offers another false explanation for the presence of his service dog, and he leaves their meeting without any real explanation. Campbell, like Anna, appears intent on keeping up an outward appearance in order to keep something else hidden.

Julia and her sister, Izzy, establish another relationship between sisters in the novel. Both Julia and Anna have sisters linked very closely with their identities, to the point that their sisters are fundamentally part of who they are. Scientifically, both Julia and Anna share almost identical genes with their sisters. Both also act as protectors of their sisters. Julia protects Izzy psychologically. As Julia describes it, she was Izzy’s “nuclear bomb,” eliminating anything that upset Izzy when they were younger. Now, she allows Izzy to move in after her painful breakup with her girlfriend. Anna, meanwhile, has saved Kate’s life by donating her blood and bone marrow to Kate. Both, in other words, act as their sister’s keeper. Significantly, Anna’s lawsuit appears to directly contradict her role as Kate’s protector at this point.

Although we do not hear from Kate directly, Anna’s memories disclose more about Kate’s character. Kate, who has almost always been sick, has had to confront the thought of dying for her entire life, and she appears, at least outwardly, to be almost comfortable with the idea. Kate talks about death in a calm and almost humorous way, which Anna, for whom death remains a morbid and frightening subject, can’t handle. In the same vein, Sara and Brian can’t treat Kate like a normal child because they cannot forget about her illness. When Jesse tackles her in a football game, they immediately worry about her health. Kate, on the other hand, feels happy that someone forgot she had cancer. Even if just for a moment, someone treated her like a healthy girl, not like a patient, which was rare enough to Kate for it to feel significant.

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