Study Guide

Jacob Have I Loved Family

By Katherine Paterson

Family

Family. They're the people you love. They're the people who've been there for you. They're the people you're stuck with through no fault of your own. In Jacob Have I Loved, Louise definitely feels like she lost out on the family lottery. Her sister constantly overshadows her, and her grandmother is out to make her life anything but easy. Heck, even her mom and dad seem to care more about Caroline. In the end, Louise finally lets go of all the bitterness she has for her family and appreciates them for who they are—but it's a long road until she gets there.

Questions About Family

  1. How much of the family dynamic between Louise and Caroline is real, and how much is imagined by Louise? Be specific and cite the text as needed.
  2. Why do you think Grandma directs so much negativity toward Louise but mostly leaves Caroline alone? Bust out some evidence from the text to support your claim.
  3. How is Louise both loved by her family and trapped by them?

Chew on This

Absence makes the heart grow fonder: Louise is able to better understand and love her family from afar.

In the end, no one in Louise's family can save her—she has to do it herself by letting go of the anger and embracing her own life.

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