Study Guide

Jacob Have I Loved Chapter 1

By Katherine Paterson

Chapter 1

  • Now, it's time for a little flashback. It's the summer of 1941, and Louise is 13 and suffering from "delusions of beauty and romance." We've all been there.
  • She's out trying to catch crabs with her friend, McCall Purnell, or Call for short. He's 14 and a little chubby with glasses. The two of them make quite a pair.
  • Louise wonders what the sky will look like on the day she's married. Call isn't so sure she'll ever get married, though—it is a small island, after all.
  • Then, they talk about their teacher, Mr. Rice, and his fiancée in Baltimore. It's all very fancy. Louise knows there must be some romantic issue keeping them apart.
  • Louise knows that Call never laughs, but that doesn't stop her from trying to tell him jokes all the time. Her jokes aren't very good, but Call keeps interrupting every time Louise gets started—this guy just doesn't understand humor at all.
  • Louise and Call have caught a whole mess of crabs. Back on dry land, they sell the crabs, and Louise is pretty pleased to pocket $2.45. It's a nice haul.
  • Louise heads home and is greeted by her grandmother, who scolds her for tracking dirt into the house. Her twin sister, Caroline, thinks she smells pretty awful, too.
  • But, Louise's mother makes it all better by suggesting she wash up for dinner and then head out to buy some she-crabs with her newfound riches. Looks like she-crab soup for dinner. Yum.
  • Louise is feeling pretty good when Caroline announces that she's planning on writing down the story of her life that summer. After all, she only has practice during the summer and one day, when she's famous and important, people will want to know these things. Oh, will they, Caroline?
  • All of this makes Louise roll her eyes pretty hard. Caroline has picked up all of this nonsense on the mainland, where she goes every Saturday for music lessons—and so that everyone can tell her how brilliant she is. Ugh.
  • Louise doesn't need to know the story of Caroline's life. She already knows that she plays a very minor role in it. Bummer.

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