Study Guide

Jacob Have I Loved Religion

By Katherine Paterson

Religion

Of the two things you never talk about in polite company—politics and religion—you can pretty much count on Grandma Bradshaw to bring Christianity up to make everyone squirm in their seats. Because of this, Christianity is a huge presence in Jacob Have I Loved.

Louise is raised to be a good Christian girl, something she's reminded of by her Bible-thumping grandmother nearly every day. Her faith in God can make it tough just to be a normal teenager sometimes. She worries about sinning and going to hell, until she can't stand it anymore and ditches the whole holy thing. In the end, Louise has to find a happy medium between the faith she's been raised with and her very human and very real feelings. It ain't easy, but she figures it out. Phew.

Fun fact: the "Allusions" section has a round-up of links to more info on pretty much every biblical reference contained in this book. So, you know, maybe you should check it out.

Questions About Religion

  1. How does Christian life on Rass Island restrict Louise as she grows up? Give specific examples.
  2. Why do you think Grandma gets such joy out of clobbering other people with her religious views?
  3. Do you believe that Louise forgives God and makes her peace with him in the end? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Grandma represents the rigid and fearful faith that Louise comes to reject.

The turning point in Louise's religious life is the moment Grandma shares the Romans 9:13 verse with her. This is when Louise goes from trying to follow God to hating him.

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