Study Guide

Jacob Have I Loved Chapter 2

By Katherine Paterson

Chapter 2

  • So, how did this interesting little family get started? Allow Louise to explain …
  • Louise's parents met on Rass Island. Her father was a waterman, and her mother was a young schoolteacher who had just moved to the village.
  • They fell in love, got married, and had twin daughters. Sons would have been a whole lot better because they could have helped on his boat, but alas, daughters it was.
  • Louise was the older twin by a few minutes. Those were actually some pretty great moments for Louise—it was the last time in her life that anyone paid attention to her instead of Caroline.
  • Caroline wasn't breathing when she was born, which caused everyone to panic. When she was 10 days old, their mother rushed Caroline to a hospital on the mainland where she stayed for two months to get healthier, even though the family could barley afford the care. Everything had to be done to help Caroline live. Naturally.
  • Of course, Louise always wonders where she was while all of this was happening. Was anyone taking care of poor baby her?
  • Grandma doesn't seem to care much for Louise. She claims not to remember anything about Louise as a baby, but she's able to tell long and detailed stories all about Caroline.
  • Louise's father treats her almost like a boy—and certainly rougher than he treats Caroline. At least her mother is kind.
  • When the girls were 6, the family got a piano and Caroline started to play almost immediately. The girls both got lessons, but Caroline soon surpassed everyone in town. She could play and sing beautifully almost right away … or, at least, that's how Caroline always tells it.
  • By the time the girls turned 10, everyone knew that Caroline had a gift for singing. Their teacher, Mr. Rice, insisted that the Bradshaws get Caroline lessons every Saturday on the mainland. The family couldn't afford the expense, but Caroline was so darn talented that the head of the music department at a local college agreed to take her on as a student for free. Yup.
  • Still, it cost money to take the ferry every week, but as Louise knows, people have always been willing to sacrifice for Caroline.
  • Don't get Louise wrong, though: she's always been proud of her sister, but something happened when she turned 13 to change all of that, making it a little harder to take.
  • For a really long time, Louise thought Caroline was to blame—or her grandmother—but then, she realized it was the war.

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