My Sister's Keeper
My Sister’s Keeper: my own impressions about the novel
The novel My Sister’s Keeper has an astonishing contrast between appearance and reality. Since the begging of life and all over around the world people have kept secrets from each other. But, what motivates them to do this? Jodi Picoult develops this contrast by shedding light on each character’s thoughts through a point-of-view narrative. Picoult displays that there is a difference between the way people appear seem to feel and the way they truly feel. This statement is true to all the characters in My Sister’s Keeper because they all hide their true motives from one another in the novel.
The novel discusses many themes as love, family, suffering, despair, choices, isolation and identity. The novel “My Sister’s Keeper” revolves on how Kate was diagnosed by doctors in 1990 when she was only two years old with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia. Hearing this shocked Sara, Kate’s mom and her firefighter husband, Brian. Sara instantly decided to begin Kate on treatment. When Kate started chemotherapy, her oncologist, Dr. Chance, said that eventually, Kate will need a bone marrow transplant from a related donor. After the parents tested their 4-year-old son, Jesse, he turned out not to be a good match. Thus, the parents decided to have another child that hopefully will be a good match for Kate.
In the novel, Picoult shows the superficial motives and the real motives presented by Anna Fitzgerald, Alexander Campbell, and Jesse Fitzgerald. What appears on the surface is that Anna makes it seems as if the only true motivation behind her filling the lawsuit is to get the rights for her own body. Although her true motivation was to give Kate she wanted without revealing that her sister wanted to die to end her suffering from cancer. Eventually, when Anna was asked, “who convinced you? (pg. 378), she answered with regret, “Kate” (pg. 378). And although by now the reader knows that Kate wants to die, Anna still appears to have filled the lawsuit, in essence, to make her own decisions for her body and put her interest in front of Kate’s. Anna hid this fact because she knew revealing Kate’s wishes to die would hurt her parents and sabotage Kate’s plan and wishes. In similar fashion, Alexander Campbell, the lawyer, ended his relationship with Julia rather than simply telling her that he has epilepsy because he does not want her to suffer knowing that she would have to live with him having it for the rest of his life. He does not want anyone’s pity.
Throughout the novel, Alexander Cambell comes up with excuses for why does he take his dog Judge everywhere with him. One of his excuses was, “I’m nearsighted. He helps me read the road signs” (pg. 81). By the end of the novel, the reader evades to the facts of why Cambell ends his relationship with Julia and why his dog Judge is always with him. The truth illuminated in court when he had a seizure and afterward, he explained to Julia, “… I got into a car accident. I came through with a few bruises, and that night I had the first seizure… the doctors couldn’t really tell me why, but they made it pretty clear that I’d have to live with it forever” (pg. 387). Thus, Picoult manages to show the appearance that Cambell broke off his relationship with Julia because he loved her independence and did not want to interfere with it. However, after the court incident, it becomes clear that he ended the relationship for the reasons mentioned above.
And finally, Jesse Fitzgerald is the type of person who does not want to be figured out and he always conceals his reasons for intentionally burning things. Picoult builds on the sense that Jesse thinks he is invisible and not important to his family when Jesse’s dad just stares at him after he asks to go skateboarding, “… and his eyes were dazed and staring through me like I was made of smoke. That was the first time I thought that maybe I was” (pg. 245). Jesse’s fascination with flames is emphasized when he reveals that, “the thing about flame is that it is insidious—it sneaks, it licks, it looks over its shoulder and laughs… like a sunset eating everything in its path” (pg. 246). The family feels that Jesse is Jesse brings trouble out of the fun when in reality he hides his feelings and copes that way. He has always felt like his problems will always pale in comparison to what is happening to his sister. This has left him in despair. But, is it fair to keep secrets from your loved ones? Not everyone is pleased with engaging in self-disclosure, even to their loved ones. Of course, there are secrets and then there are secrets. People keep secrets for many reasons, it could vary from logical reasons such if it is detrimental to a cause It is detrimental to a cause. (You might be trying to craft an appearance that does not comply with certain truths; Or you might be trying to influence someone or something in a particular way, that the truth prevents.)
The Inner Conflict of Anna as Depicted in Jodi Pacolet’s My Sister’s Keeper
The life long question of the meaning of life is a soul pondering their significance of their existence. It is questioning one’s own morals whether they are right or wrong. Where can one draw a line between true altruism and putting ones needs first? Anna’s character in “My Sisters Keeper,” by Jodi Picoult has an inner character conflict between life’s right’s and it wrong’s. Beginning with Anna’s parents in this decision they made for having no other way, a 13-year-old girl genetically conceived through science to donor match her diagnosed sister with leukemia. It is a controversy throughout the book, but Picoult creates a God’s view for the reader to understand the roles of every major character in the book. She also sets the characters to feel relatable to the reader. The story progresses as each character develops and copes with life’s unexpected set backs, they successfully cope and the story goes on to question morality at the reader’s level over the purpose of Anna’s life through each character’s development.
Though Anna may be the protagonist, the book isn’t only about her, but every character involved in the story line through Anna. The book is set so that the reader understands the reason behind every character’s actions. Picoult’s way of explaining various moralities behind life’s unexpected twist turns each character to represent many points of view in which they all tie in together by the end of the book. Anna is the first spoken character that is speaking towards an audience. She feels as no ordinary teen but made specifically to save her sisters life. Though she can’t help but realize that if her sister Kate was never sick, she wouldn’t exist, and that must be a a little hurtful to realize but she comes to understand her purpose. Yet when she chose to hire a lawyer to sue her parents for her right’s to her body, since her parent’s never really stopped to ask if it was okay with Anna to give Kate her kidney, she feels conflicted. Yes, she has every right to do whatever she wants with her body organs but there’s the weighing pressure her family puts upon her that feels like Kate’s life is on her hands.
It is a very conflicting situation for Anna indeed since she doesn’t want to perceive a life without her sister Kate. Whenever she feels sad or lost, she goes to Kate. The reader can feel the strong bond and adoration Anna has towards Kate. “I didn’t want to see her because it would make me feel better. I came because without her, it’s hard to remember who I am…” Without her sister, Anna would feel meaningless because that’s all her parents, mostly her mother Sara, would see her as; Kate’s life generator. A thirteen-year-old girl who grew up her whole life transferring to her sister her blood when she needed without ever having a basic human right to deny or approve of such transfusions but neglected of it begins to question what is really her true purpose in life. Still yet she feels she is wrong and a horrible person for what she’d done to sue her parents. And of course it did not go well with her mother when she found out about the news.
Though, the Fitzgerald family doesn’t necessarily mistreat Anna, in fact they depend on her. Not only with Kate’s life, but she is like a light source of a beacon. Her family goes through constant turmoil and Anna becomes their symbol of hope and happiness because of the way she can make people be more open and insights joy in whoever comes across her. A little towards the end, the unexpected twist in the book shocks readers when they learn that Kate enabled Anna to fight for her rights as well as Kate has her own decision to her death. Soon the court begins and Anna wins her emancipation for her body. But the reader gets reminded about life’s unexpected turn outs when Anna tragically dies in a car accident and becomes brain dead. Her kidney still ends up saving Kate’s life but her family mourn for their once exceptional daughter that was shamefully taken for granted. Sometimes people can only realize when it’s too late but Anna served her life’s purpose in the end.
Alexander Campbell is the name of the attorney Anna hired by bargaining that she would clean his doorknobs. Campbell’s character is very sarcastic and is one of the best attorneys out there. He didn’t take Anna seriously at first until he realized how serious she was when she told him she wanted to sue her parents for her rights to her own body. Though very uncommon of him, he decided to take on the case of Anna, with the initial intention of increasing his publicity, later becoming fond and connected with her. He can relate to Anna through his parental issues he had as a child and he later realizes when Anna points out how they are similar in which they both don’t always have control of their bodies. Campbell’s character conflict here is growing up with parents that ultimately left him with very low self esteem and feels like a burden for not being able to control the seizures he developed due to a car accident at the age of eighteen. Whenever they ask him what his service dog is for, he comes up with different explanations each time, humoring himself internally.
An old flame reappears in Campbell’s life as Anna’s legal court guardian. Julia, the woman he abandoned, angrily discovers his role in Anna’s life and wants nothing to do with him but to keep it strictly about helping Anna with her case. Though the reason he coldly abandoned Julia was because he was embarrassed of his seizures and did not want her to be brought down in life because of him. His sarcastic nature became a rod to keep people at a distance from him. Over time, Campbell becomes less and less sarcastic towards Anna as they got to know each other more and more. His actions become selfless as his reason for helping Anna become more to grant her happy ending by winning. And so he did. And during the whole thing, he becomes closer with Julia because she finally knows the reason he left her and forgave him. By the end, the air feels lite when Anna finally was told some good news and won the case. Campbell feels very proud of himself, everything in his life has finally been settled as he reclaimed back the love of his life. When he gives Anna a ride one rainy day, they get into a car accident where Anna’s life ends. He mourned her death and since he had the decision to donate Anna’s kidney to Kate, he of course accepted to save Anna’s sisters life. Later on the reader finds out through one of the other characters that Campbell and Julia get married and remain in touch with Anna’s family.
Sara is the mother of Anna and Kate whose life purpose is to keep Kate alive even if she has to genetically conceive a baby in a lab. Her mothering obsession with Kate’s well being obscures the images of her other two children Anna and Jesse (her son). She disregards her sons’ antics and self destructive behaviors he tries to obviously put out there to call on his parent’s attention. She also doesn’t stop to think about anyone’s well being and not even her own but Kate. When she learns that Anna is suing her, she tried everything she could to convince Anna to call it off but to no avail. So she becomes her own attorney to represent herself. She finds how much she used to enjoy fighting through cases but her career ended and made her only career to be looking over Kate.
When it came to Anna through her early stages in the lab, Sara has admitted to only viewing her as a sort of tool that would be able to fix Kate. When she was pregnant with Anna, she had called her an it. She’s certainly not a cold mother because she loved her children very much. Her motherly side naturally brought her to love Anna dearly as Anna grew up to seem more human. Picoult sets Sara’s point of view to explain to her audience about the past with Kate’s diagnosis. She had noticed Kate’s strange bruises one day as she was showering 3-year-old little Kate. When the doctors told her what it was (a rare blood disease), she couldn’t believe the situation that life had thrown at her. Ever since she was determined to keep Kate alive. Sara’s a very resilient woman, but her stubbornness against life’s force of taking Kate away from her stray her of giving any attention to her other two kids which make them feel invisible to her.
Sarah doesn’t stop to think about the fact that everyone is struggling just as much with Kate’s cancer and that all the members of her family are being affected with Sara’s unintended negligence. The reader can conclude that Sara was a main reason the family is straining. Her marriage also begins to fail as she mistreatment her relationship with her husband. All they ever talk about is what other move they can do for Kate. Her frustration and anger with Anna for not wanting to donate her kidney demonstrations the reader how un open minded she was that she didn’t care to wonder how hurt and confused Anna was by going through all this emotional pressure. It is certainly to much for a teen to handle, to try to understand the world alone. She later passed it off as just one of Anna’s tantrum and that it will be forgotten over time and so, again, goes back to try and fix Kate. When finding out from Anna during court that Kate has wished to die, Sarah did not want to believe this. She didn’t even give Kate to voice her own opinion and hear out what she had wanted for herself as well. Soon Sara realizes what she has done to drive her family into where they are now and apologizes to them. Since Brian and Anna moved out of the house, Sara only asked her husband when they were going to decide to come back home. She tucked in Anna and explained to her that she was not a bad person which is something Anna wanted to hear from her mother all along.
Almost every good story ends with leaving the reader to ponder over the morality behind the story. Controversy among “My Sister’s Keeper” readers questions the morality of designing a baby to cure her current sick one. Anna questions her own morality for wanting to be independent to choose what she wants to do with her body. She grows older and realizes she is a human being as well with rights and needs. Yet, she feels wrong that she has to fight for her rights under the circumstances of her sister’s life depending on her. In the end, Anna passes away effectively shifting the rest of the characters’ feelings and thoughts towards her. It is then when the story delivers its theme of taking someone for granted.
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult: A look at the unfathomable line between good and evil
My Sister’s Keeper
My Sister’s Keeper is about the Fitzgerald family. The story revolves around Sara and Brian Fitzgerald whose second born child Kate, was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia at age two. The oldest child Jesse, was not a genetic match to Kate. Therefore he could not donate any bone marrow or blood to Kate. With the help of a doctor Sara and Brian were able to conceive Anna; who was a perfect genetic match to Kate. Over the course of the next few years, Anna undergoes several procedures, including frequent blood withdrawals and a painful bone marrow extraction, to help keep Kate alive. The present action of the story begins on a Monday. Thirteen year old Anna goes to see a lawyer named Campbell Alexander and asks him to represent her. Anna tells Campbell that she wants to sue her parents for medical emancipation. Kate, her sister, is in the end stages of kidney failure, and Anna wants to file the lawsuit so she will not have to donate a kidney to Kate. When she is served with the papers for the lawsuit, Sara becomes furious with Anna as she cannot understand Anna’s decision. Brian, however, understands Anna’s point of view to a degree and recognizes that she would not have brought a lawsuit unless she were genuinely unhappy.
Kate becomes seriously ill and must be hospitalized. Dr. Chance says she will die within a week. Anna refuses to change her mind about the lawsuit, however. At the hearing, Sara decides she will represent herself and Brian.At the trial, both Sara and Campbell question witnesses, including one of the doctors familiar with Kate’s medical history. Reluctantly, Anna takes the stand and admits that she filed the lawsuit because Kate told her to. Anna explains that Kate asked Anna not to donate her kidney because she was tired of being sick and waiting to die. Anna also admits that while she loves her sister, part of her wanted Kate to die, too, so that she could have more freedom with her life.
Judge DeSalvo decides to grant Anna medical emancipation and gives Campbell medical power of attorney over her.On the way to the hospital, Campbell and Anna get into a serious car accident. At the hospital, the doctors tell the family that Anna has irreversible brain damage. Campbell tells the doctors to give Anna’s kidney to Kate. Kate narrates the epilogue. She discusses the grief her family went through after Anna’s death, and the fact that she blames herself.
My Sister’s Keeper has different themes presented throughout the story. But, the one most prominent is that there is an ambiguous line between right and wrong.
This is illustrated in the story through Anna’s wish to put her own interests first; specifically to live independently of Kate and to stop serving involuntarily as Kate’s donor and her incompatible desire to put Kate’s interest first. The trial, which takes up a considerable portion of the novel’s plot, centers on resolving this conflict. For most of the trial’s length no easy distinction can be made between which is right and which is wrong. Anna has no legal obligation to donate her kidney, which would require surgery and carries a risk of health problems. Yet without Anna’s kidney, which Anna can live without, Kate will die. Several of the characters struggle throughout the book to determine which is the right solution, with different characters arguing different sides of the point, but no one can come up with an argument that settles the issue completely. Only when Anna reveals Kate’s wish to die, making it clear that even Kate does not want Anna’s kidney, does Judge DeSalvo issue a ruling.
Dissecting the social and moral issues associated with genetic selection technology and vitro fertilization as depicted in the movie My Sister’s Keeper
The film My Sister’s Keeper, based on a 2004 bestselling novel by Jodi Picoult, presents an extreme example of in vitro fertilization and genetic selection technology to confront the moral and social issues with these reproductive tools. Anna, the story’s protagonist, is brought into the world as her “sister’s keeper,” for the express purpose of donating parts of her body to heal her cancer-plagued sister. While the author’s narrative is designed to reflect the moral dilemmas presented by the abuse of reproductive technologies, these issues can be analyzed even further from a Catholic perspective. Such a view on the abuse of technology that takes place in the film addresses not only legal rights to one’s body but also enters the realm of maintaining human dignity from the moment of conception.
In vitro fertilization itself is not directly challenged by the author or her characters. Nevertheless, the Catholic Church finds issue with the very practice of implanting an egg fertilized “in glass.” Anna was conceived outside her mother’s womb so that the sperm and ovum could be genetically manipulated. Removing these sex cells from the parents’ bodies before uniting them in a new life is problematic because it removes the intimacy of the marital act that is naturally designed to produce new life. A child is a gift and should come out of an intrinsically loving act of selflessness, not a synthetic scientific method. From the beginning, the method of Anna’s conception cannot be morally acceptable. Though not mentioned in the film, it is likely that several other zygotes were produced and subsequently discarded in the process of creating Anna’s zygote, or even implanted in the uterus and then aborted as embryos. These acts of killing that often accompany in vitro fertilization make it morally unacceptable in the eyes of the Church.
Anna’s parents also had the wrong focus in having a second child. They not only didn’t create Anna out of love but didn’t intend to do so either. The suggestion to make a second child by IVF came from the first child’s oncologist, who couldn’t guarantee matching biological material in time to save his patient. This seemed an attractive option to the concerned parents, and their focus on helping their child heal blinded them to any moral implication of creating a child for “spare parts.” Nevertheless, the reason for Anna’s conception was not in accordance with the Church’s definition for the purpose of life: to bring a marriage closer together. Anna’s dignity was not respected here, as she was not brought in as an individual but as a genetic match for her sister.
The method for selecting Anna’s traits is also morally questionable. Genetic testing may be warranted in cases of preventing severe disorders in the child at hand but not to ensure that the child is a match for a sibling. Anna was designed so her kidneys, bone marrow, blood and leukocytes would be perfect matches for transfer to her sister’s body. Traits were specifically selected from the genomes of her parents. This does not adequately serve the human dignity Anna deserves as an individual. Unadulterated, her new genome would have been a unique combination of traits that would have made her into a different person than the Anna designed to match her sister. Perhaps the physical altercations did not impact such factors as personality and disposition, but this certainly was not considered before the procedure was approved. Because Anna’s individuality was not considered from the moment her conception was proposed, her parents struggled to understand her right to be an individual long into her adolescence.
All of these moral factors are contingent upon the right to life and the right to dignity. Anna was brought into the world, but not in the natural, loving way God intended. Many of her rights were respected, but only those that her parents chose to respect. The movie takes mainly a secular standpoint in Anna’s fight for “legal emancipation” over her own body. Alec Baldwin defends her nobly and lives up to his 91% success rate, but true success would have been the recognition that it was also Anna’s human dignity that had been violated by her parents. While little legal basis currently exists to prevent in vitro fertilization or the genetic selection methods that they likely employed, the Church stands resolute in its assertion that Anna had the right to her own unique genome from the moment she was conceived.
Bioethical Issues In My Sister’s Keeper: Having Your Autonomy Taken To Save Your Sibling
Every day nurses and doctors are faced with ethical issues that can affect the patient’s quality of life. It is important for the health care provider to consider all the factors and what the patient wants for their plan of care. My Sister’s Keeper was a drama film released in 2009, which touched numerous amounts of ethical issues that caused a dilemma between the family and their kids. It is important as a health care provider to make sure the patient keeps their autonomy while informing them about what the best options are even if it is against what they want. The purpose of this paper is to discuss how autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice are essential in providing the best patient care while making hard decisions, and to compare the movies ethical issues to the issues going on in nursing today.
In the film, My Sisters Keeper, Sara and Brian Fitzgerald who were the parents of Kate met with her doctors to explore other options to help their daughter Kate live a longer life. Kate was a young girl who was diagnosed with leukemia and went through various procedures to extend her life. Over time she did not seem to be getting any better. The doctor suggests they have a child through in vitro fertilization so she can be a compatible organ donor to Kate. The family went through with it and Anna was born in hopes to save her sister. Throughout the years, Anna went through many medical procedures with no consent. As she became older, Anna realized she did not want to go through medical procedures anymore because it was her body. She then decides she wants to sue her parents for medical emancipation so she can make her own decisions about her body. Anna gets a lawyer who helps her through the process. Throughout the trial, Kate was at the hospital getting worse by the day. Before the trial was over, everyone found out the reason why Anna decided to get emancipated. Kate had encouraged Anna to go through with the process due to the fact that she was tired of all the surgeries and the pain. She wanted to end it and the only way to do that was to not go through with the kidney transplant. Kate eventually died before the decision was made. Eventually, Anna became medically emancipated after Kate’s death.
Ethical Issues in the Film
Several bioethical issues are surfaced throughout the whole film. Designer babies are babies who are scientifically engineered in vitro for specific traits in order to prevent or fix diseases. Designer babies can be used for different reasons like preventing certain genes in a baby for example cystic fibrosis. This can eventually lead to using designer babies for unethical reasons such as picking out the eye color or deciding the gender of the baby. In My Sisters Keeper Anna’s parents abused the process of in vitro fertilization by conceiving a child whose sole purpose was to be a donor. Anna was only born so she can help save her sister by undergoing procedures like bone marrow transplants and organ transplants. Anna’s parents did not seem to value risking the life of Anna as long as it saved Kate. In the movie, her parents were never concerned about the risk and damage it would do to Anna. During the trial, Anna’s lawyer made a point how Anna was never consulted before each procedure. Anna’s family always put Kate first while ignoring Anna’s health and Jesses, who was Anna’s older brother, personal issues. In the film, there were other obvious ethical issues such as, is a child capable of making their own medical issues? Sara believed Anna was “too young” to understand what was going on nonetheless make her own decisions. She refused to let Anna decide what procedures she can refuse. Another issue that came alone was when will it ever be enough to stop using a child for the sole purpose of saving a life? Is it ethical to have a child just to save another? Sara and Brian did not seem to have an issue with having Anna for one purpose only. In this film, Anna was never once asked how she felt about undergoing different procedures. Many of these ethical issues still occur in nursing today and are important to address them to make a decision about the plan of care. Chronic medical conditions in childhood have implications for the psychosocial well-being of children and their families. This is why it is important to communicate with the patient about their feelings because it can affect different aspects of their well-being.
In nursing, it is important to promote a patient’s right to autonomy. Autonomy is allowing the patients to make their own decision even if it is denying treatment. Although some physicians may not agree with the decisions, they still have to respect it. Patients have the right to determine what they think is best for them and how they chose to go about their decisions when it comes to their health. In the film My Sisters Keeper, Anna did not have any autonomy her whole life. She was constantly going through medical procedures like blood transfusions to try to keep her sister alive and prolong her life. Anna was never given a choice when it came to her body. She never had the opportunity to refuse any procedures or was ever consulted about how she felt. Anna’s parents were too busy with Kate’s illness to even bother to think how these procedures would affect Anna’s life. Anna never gave consent to any of these procedures leading her to eventually get tired of it and refusing the kidney transplant. Eventually, she got tired of the constant decisions being made for her and not having a say in what goes on with her body that she sued her parents for medical emancipation. Anna’s mom told her she was just a child and she had no idea what she was doing. “A child’s capacity to consent must be assessed on a case-by-case basis and will depend on the complexity of the proposed treatment and the child’s stage of intellectual development” (Taylor 2014). This is exactly what happened in Anna’s case. She went through trial where she was evaluated to see if she was competent to make her own decisions. In the end, she was granted her wish to be medically emancipated.
Beneficence was an ethical principle also shown in this film. Beneficence is an act done for the benefit of others. In this case, beneficence was shown the moment Sara and Brian agreed to conceive a child only to save their daughter Kate. In the eyes of Sara and Brian, it seemed to be their best option. It prolonged the life of Kate and bought her more time with them. They did not see the risks and pain Anna would be going through. Their judgment was clouded by Kate’s situation that nothing else seemed to matter. Anna’s birth would benefit Kate from the day she was born. Anna’s parents saw no harm in doing this and were not hesitant about doing so. These procedures were never good for Anna’s health, but it benefited Kate’s life.
Non-maleficence is the act of doing no harm. In the film My Sisters Keeper, non-maleficence was not shown. Everyone was so concerned for Kate and her health that no one seemed to care or ask Anna how she felt about undergoing procedures as she grew up. Her parents automatically assumed that because she was her sister, she was going to agree to it regardless. Sara’s actions were the opposite of what the principle non-maleficence means. She was putting Anna through unnecessary pain only to save her older daughter. Throughout the whole movie, Anna was harmed for the sake of her sister. Many of these problems could have been avoided if the birth of Anna would have been thought out more clearly. Kate’s agreement to go through in vitro fertilization just by considering the health of Kate was wrong. Many more factors should have been considered but her decision was very impulsive. “Decision-making about transplantation, donation and the creation of a ‘savior sibling’ for a sick child cannot be made by a clinician alone and cannot be based simply on a considered analysis of risk-benefit equations either by the clinician or the parent” . One can see why Sara and Brian chose to have a “savior baby” but it was obvious hey did not care to think enough about how these procedures would do harm to Anna in the future. Saunders (2017) believed that parents should consider the wellbeing of the child as well as how the child will affect others. One can slightly agree with that statement but in this case, no one seems to worry too much about the possible harm any of these procedures would do to Anna or her health.
Justice is the action of treating people fairly. Towards the end of the film, Anna receives justice after putting up a fight against her mother Sara. Anna had to go through various trials before any decision can be made. Anna realized that she was going against her mother’s wishes and knew she was going to create problems within her family members and she still went through with it. Anna was seen more as “savior baby” constantly going through medical procedures to try to save her sister. In the long run, no one cared about the damage she went through or any of the traumatic experiences she felt as a young girl. It is obvious that toddlers are afraid of needles one can only imagine how Anna felt as a young girl. It was later known that Kate also did not want to go through any more surgeries and was ready to die in peace. It was only fair to allow Anna to keep her organs while respecting Kate’s decision.
Current Ethical Issues
There are several ethical issues going on in the field of nursing. Informed consent is an important process that a patient must do before any procedure can take place. It is an agreement between the surgeon and the patient. Once the patient understands the procedure and the risk, he or she can sign off to it. A nurse must ensure the patient keeps their autonomy. A surgeon must promote beneficence while still allowing the patient to be autonomous. There can be a dilemma when the patient refuses treatment even though the doctor knows this helps the patient get better. A nurses’ job during informed consent is to maintain autonomy and understanding. In the film, My Sisters Keeper, Anna was never asked how she felt about a procedure. She never “gave consent” when she was younger which was reasonable because she did not fully understand much yet. Until she got older is when she began to understand everything that was going on with her. She became fed up and thought to herself when will it ever be about her and her feelings. She eventually denied undergoing an organ transplant. The question here is, just because she’s a child does it give them the right to take away her autonomy? These are issues that go on in nursing now where some people are not able to give consent even though they are fully aware of the risks and benefits.
In conclusion, this film portrayed many ethical issues that occur today in nursing. It is important to see everyone’s point of view but most importantly the patients. In the field of nursing, it is important to make sure the patient has autonomy. It is only right to respect the patient’s decision even if it is against what one may believe is best. The ethical principles discussed in this paper played an important role in the process of making decisions with Anna. The trial Anna went through in order to get medically emancipated brought up many valid points whether it is okay to force a child to undergo procedures to save the other. These ethical principles play a big role when making decisions in nursing today. The impact of the ethical issues portrayed in the film raises big questions in nursing today. Issues like whether or not a child can choose what goes on with their body or whether it is okay to conceive a child only in hopes to save another should be evaluated on a case to case basis. If one is fully aware of what is going on and is capable of making their own decisions, there should be a way to allow them to make a decision or have an input at the very least. It is very crucial for a nurse to advocate for their patient when the patient may be afraid to say anything.
- Doron, H., Hen, M., & Sharabi-Nov, A. (2018). Relationship Quality among Chronically Ill Children and their Parents. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 27(12), 3866–3876. https://doi-org.ezproxylocal.library.nova.edu/10.1007/s10826-018-1228-8
- Furst, S., Golman, S., Johnson, M., Pacheco, C., Trooper, M. (Procedures) & Cassavetes, N. (Director). (2009). My sister’s keeper [Motion picture]. United States, Curmudgeon Films: Studio
- Saunders, B. (2017). First, do no harm: Generalized procreative non-maleficence. Bioethics, 31(7), 552–558. https://doi-org.ezproxylocal.library.nova.edu/10.1111/bioe.12366
- Strong, K., Kerridge, I., & Little, M. (2014). Savior Siblings, Parenting and the Moral Valorization of children. Bioethics, 28(4), 187-193. https://doi-org.ezproxylocal.library.nova.edu/10.1111/j.1467-8519.2012.02001.x
- Taylor, H. (2014). Promoting a patient’s right to autonomy: implications for primary healthcare practitioners. Part 1. Primary Health Care, 24(2), 36-41. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxylocal.library.nova.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ccm&AN=104034270&site=ehost-live
My Reflections Over the Novel My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Throughout the novel, My Sister’s Keeper, I was able to make many connections to society. This novel is about a 16-year old girl name Kate Fitzgerald who was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 2. From the moment she was diagnosed with leukemia, her and her family’s life changed. “She is dying Sara. She will die, either tonight or tomorrow or maybe a year from now if we’re really lucky. You heard what Dr. Chance said. Arsenic’s not a cure. It just postpones what’s coming.” Anna was forced against her will to donate her kidney to her sister Katie. Anna then decided she wanted to file a lawsuit against her parents. This was the start of major conflict within the family. Sara states, “I plan for her to save her sister’s life” (100). Sara begins to admit to only having her daughter, Anna, only to keep she sick daughter Kate alive. This explains why Anna is so devastated and senses a feeling of undesired. The author, Jodi Picoult, gives the reader feelings of tough-love. I feel that the author wrote this story reflecting on events that have occurred in her life. I can sympathize the feeling of tough-love that the author is expressing throughout the novel. I feel that Picoult wrote this novel to show that love could triumph over anyone. The novel shows that when family is sick, showing love to one another will bring family back happy together as one. The youngest sibling, Anna, felt a sense of tough-love when she told by her parents that she was made as a designer baby, to be her sisters savior by being a donor to her sister, Kate, whenever she needed blood or bone marrow. Picoult wanted to express in this novel that there is not always love shown in every family. She wants the reader to grasp the feelings felt on both sides of the story. She does a good job in conceiving the reader to feel both sides of the story. The one side of the story is that Kate’s parents, Sara and Brian, desperately try to do the right thing for her, by going to see doctors to make a baby that would be the perfect donor match to their daughter. The other side of the story is that Anna is forced against her will by her parents to be a donor for her sister.
This novel was very passionate to me. I was able to make connections to many things including; my life, society, movies/ tv and my family. First off, this book is a great example of what society is beginning to look like. In society, In vitro fertilization (IVF) is becoming something infertile couples rely on for conceiving a baby. Anna says, “I was born because a scientist managed to hook up my mother’s eggs and my father’s sperm to create a specific combination of precious genetic material” (8) Anna is saying that her parents used IVF to conceive her. I actually know a couple who is beginning IVF for their first time, for their second baby and it is very fascinating. They had issue with their first baby, so they turned to IVF for their second child to ensure that they conceive the “perfect” baby. Growing up I always dreamed about becoming a nursing and working on OBS. This novel has taught me many things to do with health and hospitals. I have connected my learned for the novel to my current co-op placement at the hospital. I am currently on the Medsurg floor and I care for patients with cancer on the daily and it is a very tough to watch young and elderly patients fight to stay alive. Picoult wrote a novel that I could really connect with and feel sympathy for each character. I expected this story to have a happy ending considering they had the perfect donor to make the story have a happy ending. Picoult decided she wanted to express the story in a different way. She didn’t want a happy ending, rather she wanted to prove what was right and what was wrong in the story. Judge Desalvo exclaims, “The answer is that there is no good answer. So as parents, as doctors, as judges, and as a society, we fumble through and make decisions that allow us to sleep at night – because morals are more important than ethics, and love is more important than law” (467). This connects to the theme of the novel, is it right or is it wrong. Anna’s life is connected to Kate’s whole life. Anna suffers through pain when doctors remove bone-marrow from her for Kate. Without the help from Anna, Kate would die. Therefore, the question that is left unanswered is, does Anna have to suffer to a large extent just to keep Kate alive, even when it is against her own will. The other question that is, is there even a solution to this problem?
This novel was formatted in a way that all characters talked and voiced their opinion equally. The author formatted this novel so that each chapter was named the character who was talking in first person for that chapter. I highly agree with this format for this novel because this novel involves a lot of different feelings and problems making it hard to grasp the thoughts of each character. By having a main character talking in each chapter it allows the reader to gain a better sense of each character’s perspective, feelings, emotions and their mind.
Throughout the novel I was consistently thinking ahead about what was going to happen next, what the major twist in the story was going to be, how this story was going to have a cheerful ending, and how the family was going to come together as happy supportive family. Throughout the novel I was consistently asking myself different questions. I was putting myself in the perspective of each character and by doing this I was always questioning myself if I would act the same as they did. Anna states “I didn’t come to see Kate because it would make me feel better. I came because without her, it’s hard to remember who I am.” (138) This made me wonder what Anna was actually meaning. After thinking about this for a while, I came to the conclusion that she feels left out and lost because she is convinced the only reason she is alive is to be her sister’s donor. I feel that the only reason why Anna feels the way she does is because her parents have made her to believe that she’s only alive for her sister’s wellbeing.
Overall, Picoult is a very good writer who keeps her stories very simple, short and relatable to most people. She displays life lessons throughout the novel. She expresses that every day is a new day that is worth living for and to appreciate what you have before it is gone.
Appearance and Reality in My Sister’s Keeper
The novel My Sister’s Keeper has an astonishing contrast between appearance and reality. Since the begging of life and all over around the world people have kept secrets from each other. But, what motivates them to do this? Jodi Picoult develops this contrast by shedding light on each character’s thoughts through a point-of-view narrative. Picoult displays that there is a difference between the way people appear seem to feel and the way they truly feel. This statement is true to all the characters in My Sister’s Keeper, because they all hide their true motives from one another in the novel. The novel discuses many themes as love, family, suffering, despair, choices, isolation and identity.
The novel ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ revolves on how Kate was diagnosed by doctors in 1990 when she was only two years old with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia. Hearing this shocked Sara, Kate’s mom and her firefighter husband, Brian. Sara instantly decided to begin Kate on treatment. When Kate started chemotherapy, her oncologist, Dr. Chance, said that eventually Kate will need a bone marrow transplant from a related donor. After the parents tested their 4-year-old son, Jesse, he turned out not to be a good match. Thus, they parents decided to have another child that hopefully will be a good match for Kate.
In the novel Picoult shows the superficial motives and the real motives presented by Anna Fitzgerald, Alexander Campbell, and Jesse Fitzgerald. What appears on the surface is that Anna makes it seems as if the only true motivation behind her filling the lawsuit is to get the rights for her own body. Although, her true motivation was to give Kate she wanted without revealing that her sister wanted to die to end her suffering with cancer. Eventually, when Anna was asked, ‘who convinced you? (pg. 378), she answered with regret, ‘Kate’ (pg. 378). And although by now the reader knows that Kate wants to die, Anna still appears to have filled the lawsuit in essence to make her on decisions for her body and put her interest in front of Kate’s. Anna hid this fact because she knew revealing Kate’s wishes to die would hurt her parents and sabotage Kate’s plan and wishes. In similar fashion, Alexander Campbell, the lawyer, ended his relationship with Julia rather than simply telling her that he has epilepsy because he does not want her to suffer knowing that she would have to live with him having it for the rest of his life. He does not want anyone’s pity.
Throughout the novel Alexander Cambell comes up with excuses for why does he take his dog Judge everywhere with him. One of his excuses was, ‘I’m nearsighted. He helps me read the road signs’ (pg. 81). By the end of the novel, the reader evades to the facts of why Cambell ends his relationship with Julia and why his dog Judge is always with him. The truth illuminated in court when he had a seizure and afterwards he explained to Julia, ‘… I got into a car accident. I came through with a few bruises, and that night I had the first seizure… the doctors couldn’t really tell me why, but they made it pretty clear that I’d have to live with it forever’ (pg. 387). Thus, Picoult manages to show the appearance that Cambell broke off his relationship with Julia because he loved her independence and did not want to interfere with it. However, after the court incident it becomes clear that he ended the relationship for the reasons mentioned above.
And finally, Jesse Fitzgerald is the type of person who does not want to be figured out and he always conceals his reasons for intentionally burning things. Picoult builds on the sense that Jesse thinks he is invisible and not important to his family when Jesse’s dad just stares at him after he asks to go skateboarding, ‘… and his eyes were dazed and staring through me, like I was made of smoke. That was the first time I thought that maybe I was’ (pg. 245). Jesse’s fascination with flames is emphasized when he reveals that, ‘the thing about flame is that it is insidious—it sneaks, it licks, it looks over its shoulder and laughs… like a sunset eating everything in its path’ (pg. 246). The family feels that Jesse is Jesse brings trouble out of fun when in reality he hides his feelings and copes that way. He has always felt like his problems will always pale in comparison to what is happening to his sister. This has left him in despair.
But, is it fair to keep secrets from your loved ones? Not everyone is pleasant with engaging in self-disclosure, even to their loved ones. Of course, there are secrets and then there are secrets. People keep secrets for many reasons, it could vary from logical reasons such if it is detrimental to a cause It is detrimental to a cause. (You might be trying to craft an appearance that does not comply with certain truths; Or you might be trying to influence someone or something in a particular way, that the truth prevents.) It is only acceptable if it is for the cause of not hurting the other person emotionally. Reckon, I believe that Anna’s parents made the most rational decision of not telling her their true ‘initial’ intention for bringing her to life. They did not harm her by this decision and of course it would not change the fact that they loved her as much as her other siblings, reckon they saved Kate’s life by getting her the kidney, after Anna’s death in the accident.
The Main Themes of the Novel My Sister’s Keeper
One may disagree different about the controversial topic displayed in the novel, My Sister’s keeper, however, one is always entitled to voice their own beliefs. My Sister’s Keeper is novel about a thirteen-year girl named, Anna Fitzgerald, and her sixteen-year-old sister Kate Fitzgerald who has a rare form of leukemia. Anna has undergone many blood transfusions, bone marrow transplants and multiple surgeries in hopes to save Kate’s life. In the novel, My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult, the main character Anna clearly shows her frustration about being her sister Kate’s donor. Anna files a lawsuit against her parents. “I want to sue them for the rights to my own body” (21) This causes major themes in the novel, what is right vs what is wrong, and living in the moment and finding a sense of hope. Primarily, even though parents may have a sufficient reasoning on what they do, it doesn’t always make it right or moral. Secondly, a parent’s attention should be equally shared amongst all their children or one may feel neglected. Lastly, throughout tough situations it is key not to always live in the moment. Simply finding a sense of hope is significant during any situation.
Even though parents may have a sufficient reasoning on what they do, it doesn’t always make it right. Anna was forced against her own will to be a donor for her sister Kate. “Most babies are accidents, not me. I was engineered, born to save my sister’s life.” (23) This clearly shows that Anna’s parents conceived her to be a perfect donor for her sister. One may agree that the family is very fortunate to engineer their own baby, however, there are so many issues and hateful actions this family has faced due to their actions. By making the decision that your unborn child designed perfectly to be a donor, you are already taking over the rights of their body. Anna lives thinking that the only reason she belongs in her family is only due to the need of a perfect donor for her sister. If Kate wasn’t sick, she wouldn’t be here, forced against her own will. Anna feels like she’s different from everyone else, because of the wrong decision her parents made. “Well, I want you to tell them, because they’ve been doing it to me my whole life. I wouldn’t even be alive if Kate wasn’t sick. I’m a designer baby. I was made in a dish to be spare parts for Kate. (34) This clearly exemplifies the conflict between the family and reveals the theme of what is right vs what is wrong. Sara and Brian have clearly made the wrong decision conceiving Anna in the hopes she will save Kates life. It is clear that Sara and Brian have gone against their daughter own will, making her feel obligated to donate blood and born marrow whenever Kate is in need. Many people may disagree, but it is very clear that one cannot go against their own child’s will, forcing them to risk their own health to be an unwilling donor. Sara and Brian have clearly made the wrong decision to force their daughter into a situation like they did. Anna’s rights are far more important in comparison to Kate’s or Sara’s. Due to poor decisions major conflict arises throughout the novel.
A parent’s attention should be equally shared amongst all their children or one may feel neglected. Neglect is sadly a common theme expressed throughout the novel. Jesse is neglected and unwelcomed in his family, leaving him obligated to behaving poorly. “There are some nights when you just want to know there is someone else beside you in their wide world.” (122) Jesse is explaining his emotions on what he feels like most days. He feels helpless that he cannot help his sister Kate, but also feels a huge sense of neglect. His feelings of neglect drive him to bad things, like burn things down and act out of control for attention. His actions reflect on his sense of feelings and emotions. Anna’s behaviour throughout the novel tends to reveal her need for attention from her family. Her feeling of neglect and manipulated drives her to stop tending to Kate’s needs in the hospital.. Anna cries out to Campbell Alexander, “I gave up my marrow; the shots that sparked more stem cells in me, so that there’d be extra for my sister. The fact that I’m not sick, but I might as well be. The fact that the only reason I was born was as a harvest crop for Kate.” (21) “I want to sue the for the rights to my own body.” (21) Since Anna feels a sense of neglect her way of receiving attention is through filing a lawsuit against her parents. Anna is consistently feeling that she has no support from her mother because Sara’s attention is constantly only on Kate, focusing to try to save her life. This drives Anna to feeling neglected. As Anna begins to receive attention from her mother, she tends to be more willing to drop the lawsuit and be more open with her family. Sara makes it clear that she only needs Anna to be a donor. By making Anna feel like she’s only alive to be a donor she feels deceived. These quotations are only a few out of the novel that describe to the reader how the parents are clearly neglecting two out of their three children. A parent may not realize that sharing attention equally amongst all their children is important, however, no child is the same and each child deserves to be treated and feel special in their own way.
Throughout tough situations it is important not to always live in the moment of time. Simply finding a sense of hope is significant during any situation. The theme of finding hope is very significant throughout the novel. Kate begins to not believe in herself no longer. She cannot find hope during her tough fight of leukemia. This affects her family tremendously, driving them to the point of giving up. The family is only holding onto the last bit of hope they can find in their family and life. “This is it. I know I’m going to die now. I suppose I’ve always known that. I just never knew when. And I’m okay with it. Really. I don’t mind my disease killing me. But it’s killing my family, too.” (253) Kate is at a point in her life of giving up. She has been through it all and has come to the conclusion of just dying so she no longer has to suffer. The only thing that has been holding her back is her family. She has realized that the disease isn’t only killing herself it is killing her family as well. It is clear that only her family is searching for hope from that point on. Hope is the only thing that continues to hold the family together as one. If the family loses hope that family will fall apart completely. Jesse is the only one who agrees with Kate about her dying. He makes it clear that the family needs to just gives up and just let Kate die. Jesse shows that there is no sense of hope left even though there is always a way to find hope. Jesse drives the family into proving him wrong by never giving up. Jesse states: “She’s making Anna do all this ‘cause she knows she’s not gonna survive another operation.” Sara [yells] “That’s a lie, Jessse” Jesse continues to explain, “Mum, no, it’s not. Kate’s dying and everybody knows it! You just love her so much that you don’t want to let her go!” (264) This has clearly revealed that Sara is living life worried and preparing for the absolute worst. It is very obvious that Sara and Brian do live in the moment, but they are however always searching for hope in their life. Sara is always prepared to rush to the hospital with Kate even though it is not necessary. Jesse has realized that his sister isn’t going to live much longer and explains to his mother that she needs to let go. However, Sara and Brian are searching for hope in every situation. They hope for the best during transplants, treatments and relapses, operations, and blood transfusion with Kate. Anna may disagree with her parents’ decisions; however, she is also finding a sense of hope in her sister. Anna is also hoping that her family will realize exactly how she feels about being manipulated and how she wants to have rights over her own body. A sense of hope in life is the only thing that the family lives by.
All in all, the novel, My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult, the main character Anna clearly shows her frustration about being her sister Kate’s donor. Anna files a lawsuit against her parents. “I want to sue them for the rights to my own body” (21) This clearly reveals the major themes in the novel, what is right vs what is wrong, and living in the moment and finding a sense of hope. Even though parents may have a sufficient justification on what they do, it doesn’t always make it right or moral. It is very clear that a parent’s attention should be equally shared amongst all their children or one may feel neglected. Also, throughout tough situations it is key not to always live in the moment. Simply finding a sense of hope is significant during any situation. “Maybe who we are isn’t so much about what we do, but rather what we’re capable of when we least expect it.” (355) – Jodi Picoult.
- Picoult, Jodi. My Sister’s Keeper. New York: Atria, April 6, 2004.
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult Essay
Would you create another life for the sake of the other?
“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?”
Critically acclaimed Jodi Picoult zeroes in on the issue of human genetic engineering in her book My Sister’s Keeper. It’s a powerful story about the Fitzgeralds, a family united in their love for each other but divided on where the boundaries of family obligations, love and sacrifice should end.
Anna Fitzgerald was genetically designed, conceived, and born to be the perfect genetic match for her sister, Kate. Kate suffers from a rare form of childhood leukemia and will die without blood and bone marrow transfusions from Anna. At 13, when Kate needs a kidney, Anna decides she has had enough. She hires an attorney and sues her parents for the rights to her own body. As her case works its way through the intricate legal system, things at home fall apart for the Fitzgeralds. Their father, a firefighter, is torn between the competing needs of his children. Their mother, an attorney who retired when she had children, struggles to hold the family together and keep Kate alive at all costs. Picoult did an amazing job of presenting the dilemma. She takes the issue and handles it with compassion and sensitivity. Read this book and you will probably never be indifferent on the issue.
I cannot really say what is right in this situation but I know many parents would do anything to save their child and I would probably do the same. In Vitro Fertilization and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis have many bioethical issues because we are in a sense playing God when we do this. It is not natural to make a child how you want to. This goes back to the issue of “designer babies.” We need to decide where to draw the line. In order to save Kate, another person was created and this person was basically Kate’s saviour over and over again. I have read the book before I have seen the movie and the book made such a great impact on me. I don’t know if it’s because I have read the book first but I definitely like its ending better. Although I didn’t want anyone to die, the book has a twist. I like that the book doesn’t end as you would expect like the movie does. I think it is more thought-provoking because Kate lives and Anna doesn’t. It leaves you wondering if it was all worth it and what was the value of Kate’s life compared to Anna’s life. The movie makes it seem like all of the surgery and everything was unnecessary because Kate dies in the end and Anna basically continues to live without any complications like she would as a normal child. I also didn’t like how the movie left out parts I thought was relevant to the plot such as how the illness kind of tore the family apart. It didn’t really go into detail in the movie about their brother for instance. Another ethical issue this movie brings up is where to draw the line. It is a life issue. When should a family give up on trying to save someone and when is it just time to let them go. Kate wanted to be let go but her family didn’t want to allow that. That is a topic that many people face often and many people have different opinions. Ultimately I think the choice should be left up to the patient and if they are not conscious then whoever is closest to them should make the final decisions. However, there are many other factors that go into that. Overall, it was still a tear jerker, I just think that there should be options for people who are very sick and in critical conditions, but creating another life to save one should not be an option. I highly doubt that I would come to this conclusion if I had a child who was dying. I guess it all depends. I pray that I will never be in that type of situation and my heart goes out to all that are. I think that this is why designing a new child to save the first isn’t the best option. When it’s time, God will call each of us home, and we need to accept that. Obviously this is way easier to say than to actually do, but I’m starting to think that this really would help me and others to accept those things that we can’t change, no matter how hard we try.
“Sometimes to get what you want the most, you have to do what you want the least.”
My Impressions from My Sister’s Keeper Movie
There is a person who has a sibling who cannot grow any hair. So all her life, her mother shaves off her hair to make a wig for her sibling without ever consulting whether she likes it or not. As a child, she didn’t care because it was something she was expected to do so it became normal. However, things are different. She learns to treasure and fight for her opinions and thoughts. She wants the freedom of creating her own appearance. She wants to grow, dye, and curl her hair. She loves her sibling but she wants to love herself first. My Sister’s Keeper is similar to this situation, but this time, life and death are at stake. Although the movie has its lacking points, My Sister’s Keeper as a whole is a praiseworthy, heart-warming movie that uses effective pathos and storyline to trigger the audience’s emotions and teach them the importance of love, respect, and memories.
My Sister’s Keeper first came out as a book in 2004, which was written by the famous Jodi Picoult. About 14 million copies of her best-seller books have been printed and sold in America. Picoult is famous of writing novels about morally complex issues; for this novel, she focuses on genetic engineering and manipulation affecting a family. She not only introduce what a “designer baby” was, but she also dig into how one family was emotionally and physically affected by their “designer baby.” By doing this, Picoult allows her audience to challenge their personal assumptions about the topic.
Picoult spends more time researching about her topic than actually writing the book. She uses her time diligently by interviewing experts of her interested topic areas and spending time with those who have personally experienced the situation. For the book, she spent a majority of time with pediatric oncologists, who treat children with cancer. Moreover, she has personally experienced the situation which she brings out realism inside her book. She too has a five-year-old son who has had ten surgeries on his ear for tumor over the three years. Through this experience, she created Kate’s mother, Sara, as her own image of being a mother, who feel helpless knowing that they cannot do anything to save their child. Using her personally experience and research definitely strengthens her books, which makes them worthy of reading.
Because this book brought so much interest and tears to Picoult’s readers, Nick Cassavetes, the director of My Sister’s Keeper, who also directed The Notebook and John Q, made a movie out of the book in 2009. Although Picoult’s audience prefer the book over the movie, the movie has received a wide range of love and interested among the viewers.
My Sister’s Keeper, the movie, is about a thirteen-year-old girl named Anna Fitzgerald (Abigail Breslin), who was born intentionally as a “designer baby” to save her sixteen-year-old sister, Kate (Sofia Vassilieva), who has a leukemia. In other words, Anna was born to be a donor for her sister. Anna has been donating genetic materials to Kate all her life without any consultations with Anna. However, when it came to donating her kidney, Anna takes action and sues her parents for not allowing her to have the rights over her own body, which shocks her family. With the help of an attorney, Campbell Alexander (Alec Baldwin), Anna wins the lawsuit which means that she doesn’t have to donate. On the other hand, her mother, Sara (Cameron Diaz), is enraged and cannot accept that Anna is standing up to her rights and declining to save her own sister at the most essential part of Kate’s life. Additionally, that means that Anna’s reason of being born is useless. Although Anna’s dad, Brian (Jason Patric) have mixed feelings about Anna’s action, Sara does not know when to give up fighting against her own daughter, Anna, to save Kate. The question is, “Who is ready and responsible for Kate’s death?”
There are few disconcerting points that distracted me from fully enjoying and following along with the movie. First of all, I did not appreciate Nick Cassavetes’s directing style in which he excessively alternates the flashback scenes and the present scenes to the point where it’s too perplexing to tell the difference. Cassavetes tries too hard to show all the past memories and each individual character’s stories through flashbacks that the movie becomes inconsistent and disorganized. It was difficult to keep up with the movie because it kept going back and forth from present to past. It looks to me that he himself got the present and past confused because there was a scene where Sara shaved her hair off for Kate but the scenes after that, she is never shown bald.
Secondly, it has too much extra scenes that only confuses the audience. I could see that Cassavetes wanted to add a sense of realism by replacing common issues, such as teen suicide, sex, and epilepsy. However, some of the scenes he added were unnecessary. For example, I personally did not understand why Cassavetes showed a scene of Anna’s brother, Jesse (Evan Ellingson), out on the streets where he amuses himself by watching women wearing provocative clothes pass by. I had a hard time following along and trying to connect all the scenes together.
Lastly, I was disappointed because my expectation of this movie was too high. My friend who watched the movie praised it too much and cautioned me that I will need tissues by my side. I had only shed tears once from all the movies I saw, and my friend compared the two movies saying that they are equally sad. So I was ready to shed some tears, but I was disappointed because it did not deeply trigger my emotions.
On the other hand, I do recommend this movie for everyone to watch because the storyline is very touching and earnest and Sofia Vassilieva does a fantastic job of delivering her emotions to the audience. Firstly, the storyline and the flashbacks trigger the audience’s emotions and thoughts and gets them to observe. The storyline cherishes the importance of respecting each other’s values, loving each other, and valuing the memories spent together. Cassavetes also values realism, which the audience can appreciate and relate to. Additionally, he does an amazing job of capturing memorable scenes, such as the beach scene. He values the power of only using music and visual effects, which he uses at the beach scene. Even without having the characters talk, he expresses the precious moment the family shares at the beach through the characters’ cheerful actions and expressions, melodic music, and visual images of the beautiful beach. Moreover, Sofia Vassilieva does an astounding job of executing as Kate. She has the most significant, influential, and challenging role in the movie and she nails it. She lightens up the screen with her impressive acting skills which the audience fall into. Her ability of feeding the audience the emotions she expresses in each scene is extraordinary. She is one of the actors that makes the movie worthy of viewing. Overall, the beauty of this movie is fully expressed by Cassavetes and Vassilieva.
Although there are some plot holes, Cassavetes successfully delivers the theme and purpose of the movie to his audience. The movie constitutes a variety of aspects and emotions the audience can relate to and observe. The Sister’s Keeper is a worth-while movie because it has a beautiful storyline from which people can learn the importance of love, respect, and memories within the family.