How Kate Affected her Father’s Life in “My Sister’s Keeper” by Jodi Picoult
The novel, “My Sister’s Keeper” is about Anna Fitzgerald, a young girl was borne into the world by in vitro fertilization for the purpose of providing cord blood that would genetically match that of her older sister Kate’s, who was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. When it came to a point that Anna would have to give up one of her kidneys to save her sister, she hires a lawyer so she can gain the freedom to decide what happens to her body.
One of the story’s themes is about morality, the decisions a family must make in order to save a child. Brian Fitzgerald, Anna and Kate’s father is a firefighter with a penchant for astronomy. His life turned upside down when he learned that his beloved daughter is suffering from a life threatening disease, and a lack of other options for saving his daughter made him agree to conceiving a child that is to be Kate’s genetic match.
The moral dilemma he suffered was great—he’s had doubts about creating a designer baby and about subjecting that child to pain just so her other daughter may live. But her relationship with her wife Sara is starting to break down because of their daughter’s condition so he chose not to speak out. Instead, he retreats to work. His passion for astronomy is suggestive of his desire to escape the difficulties of his reality.
Some of the more significant effects that Kate had on her father Brian are in some way indirect. For example, the son, Jesse, because of feeling neglected (because all the attention is on Kate), ironically becomes a pyromaniac, in contrast to Brian who is a firefighter by profession. Kate’s conditions affects Jesse, which in turn affects the father. Jesse is also a drug addict and an all-around delinquent because of the lack of attention.
Brian’s relationship with her wife Sara is also negatively affected—it seems as though Sara only has eyes for Kate’s well being. This perhaps also affects Brian’s decision to side with Anna when she decides to sue her parents. Towards the book’s end, it was revealed that it was Kate’s wish for Anna to be emancipated from their parents’ control all along, and that the reason Anna sued their parents was because Kate did not want to receive her sister’s kidney. This shows magnitude and the scope of Kate’s influence in their lives.