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Written by Aleksei Marchyn
This theme is one of the most highlighted ones in the story. It’s embodied in the family of the main characters of the novel – the Fitzgeralds. The author shows how much complexity and difficulty is added to the relations between the family’s members, when one of them has a serious illness. The reader sees how Sara and Brian relate with each other: their daughter’s illness hasn’t broken them down, they keep having deep love to each other in their hearts. Their desire to save their ill daughter outshines their parental “responsibilities” for their other children, but their life changes in that way that they realize how much each of their children is important and valuable for them. Relations among children are also vividly depicted in the story: it’s impressive, how sincerely and devotedly they love each other, they don’t take into account that their parents pay more attention just to one of them.
Struggle with illness
Picoult opens this theme in different characters. First line is Kate’s struggle with her illness. She shows huge willpower here: she finds strength to not just lie in her bed in depression, she travels to the seaside, she open-handedly gives her love to her parents, brother and sister, she even finds a boy-friend, Taylor. And what is the most noticeable, even while it’s obvious that she wants to live, her love to her family is more valuable for her, than love to life – she wants to make them free of her, because she understands that they won’t feel fully free in the struggle with her illness. The second line is Campbell Alexander’s, Anna’s attorney, struggle with his illness, epilepsy. Nobody, except for him and his dog, knows about it, even his parents. He sacrifies his relations with this beloved woman in order for her not to know about his illness. But at the end she gets to know about it, and only then the man realizes that he is still loved and his illness isn’t an obstacle at all.
Struggle between professional interest and humaneness
This theme is not so widely opened as the previous two, but it’s still important in the story and worth taking it into account. It is embodied in Campbell Alexander: when Anna turns to him with request to be her attorney in the court against her parents, he immediately says Yes, because it’s obvious for him, that he’ll win this case and thus will climb up in his career ladder. But Campbell becomes closer and closer to his defendant a bit at a time: Anna’s case becomes not just one case among the other for him, he truly worries about the girl’s life, her future. And at the end of the story he becomes a friend of her family.
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