Study Guide

My Sister's Keeper Identity

By Jodi Picoult

Identity

Any book with a teenage protagonist is probably going to deal with identity issues. How do you fit in a white school if you're Native American? How do you grow from the Boy Who Lived into an international superstar wizard? And how do you define yourself when your entire existence is devoted to your sick sister?

Anna in My Sister's Keeper is the last example. (If she's a wizard, she didn't tell us.) She was literally born because her sister, Kate, has cancer. Anna was genetically engineered to donate blood to Kate, but when Kate isn't cured, she has to keep donating plasma, and is eventually expected to donate a kidney. What is she, a walking organ bank? If Anna is her sister's keeper… who will Anna be when her sister is gone?

Questions About Identity

  1. How would Anna have grown up if she lived? Use the text to support your answer.
  2. Will Kate have a hard time growing up, considering that she, too, has been defined by her illness her whole life? Get textual, yo.
  3. Does Anna's family put too much pressure on her to be the family savior? Why or why not?
  4. How much of Campbell's personality is really him, and how much of it is an act?

Chew on This

Campbell puts up his guard to hide his true self (vulnerable, epileptic) from everyone else as much as he does to hide it from himself.

Kate gets to lead the life that Anna would have wanted her to lead. If Kate had died, Anna probably would have been guilt-ridden for the rest of her life.