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The Ambiguous Line Between Right And Wrong In My Sister's Keeperby Jodi Picoult

1034 words - 5 pages

There is an ambiguous line between right and wrong that can cause difficulty when making decisions. Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper demonstrates the grey area between right and wrong through a family's struggle with ethics. First, Anna's character struggles to do what is right while keeping the consequences of her actions in mind. Second, Sara's conflict with society shows how problematic it can be to do what seems right for one's family. Finally, the symbolism of stars and dark matter depicts how natural it can be to overlook what is unjust and only see what is right. Through Anna's character, Sara's conflict with society, and the symbolism of stars and dark matter, Picoult's My Sister's Keeper suggests that in order to do what is right, one may have to do what is perceived as wrong.
First, Anna faces many challenges when making decisions that could have both positive and negative results surrounding her sister's acute promyelocytic leukemia. To begin with, Anna is a mature and independent teenager who is capable of making her own decisions. Anna does not want to involuntarily donate a kidney to her sister, Kate, so she sues her parents for medical emancipation. By wanting full rights to her own body, which she is entitled to, Anna's actions are perceived as selfish and morally wrong because she is risking Kate's life. Eventually, at the climax of the novel, Anna demonstrates that she is compassionate by disclosing her hidden motive. Anna admits that Kate “asked me to kill her” (Picoult 388), revealing her real reason for filing a lawsuit. Because Anna is doing this as the result of her sister's wish to die, she is doing the right thing for Kate, demonstrating that her “wrong” is really a “right”. Ironically by the end of the novel, Anna becomes the sacrifice that is needed in order to save Kate's life. Initially, Anna was born to save her sister's life and she ends up doing just this when she dies in the car accident, providing a kidney transplant for Kate. It is tragic for Anna to die, but it results in good as Kate lives on, cancer free. The reader is forced to accept their feelings of both sadness and relief, to understand that right and wrong sometimes overlap. The seemingly selfish things that Anna does, and is subject to, are revealed to be selfless, which emphasizes how unclear the difference can be between right and wrong.
Anna's mother, Sara, also faces many difficulties in trying to do what is right for her family, through her conflict with society. First, Sara conceives Anna as a “designer baby”. Sara “received hate mail” (Picoult 102) as a result of conceiving Anna as a bone marrow match for Kate. Making a “designer baby” is very controversial and is deemed unethical by society. At the same time, Sara is right to be doing everything she can to save her daughter. Later, when Anna is thirteen, Sara tries to force her into donating a kidney for...

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