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Jacob Have I Loved
Jacob Have I Loved
Our story is called Jacob Have I Loved ,by Katherine Paterson. It received the Newbery Award for the best book written for young people in the United States. The story takes place on Rass Island in the Chesapeake Bay along the eastern coast of the United States, near Maryland and Virginia. The story is told by Sara Louise Bradshaw, a 13-year-old girl who lives with her parents and her twin sister Caroline. Here is Gwen Outen with the story.
Rass Island lies as low as the back of a turtle on the dark green water of the Chesapeake Bay. We Bradshaws have lived here for more than two hundred years. I love Rass Island although for much of my life I did not think I did.
During the summer of 1941, every morning McCall Purnell and I would get my small boat and go out to catch shellfish called crabs. Watermen on our island sell crabs and eat crabs. Call and I were right smart crabbers and we could always come home with a little money as well as crabs for dinner. My mother was pleased with money I made.
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"My!" she said, "that was a good morning. By the time you wash , we'll be ready to eat!" I like the way she did that. She never said I was dirty or that I smelled bad. Just by the time you wash up.
She was a real lady my mother, she had come to teach in the island school and fell in love with my father. What my father needed more than a wife was sons. What my mother gave him was girls--twin girls! I was older than my sister by a few minutes. I always treasure the thought of those minutes. They were the only time in my life when I was the center of everyone's attention. From the moment Caroline was born, she took all the attention for herself. When my mother and grandmother told the story of our births, it was mostly of how Caroline had refused to breathe.
"But where was I?" I asked my mother.
"In the basket," she said, "Grandma dressed you and put you in the basket."
Caroline's true gift was her voice. Our teacher, Mr. Rice, said she should have singing lessons. I was proud of my sister, but something began to hurt me under the pride.
One day, Mama and Caroline came back to the island on a boat after Caroline’s singing lesson. There was an old man on the boat whom I'd never seen before. Our island held few secrets or surprises beyond the weather. But all the old people agreed that he was Hiram Wallace . My friend Call and I started visiting Hiram Wallace. We decided simply to call him the Captain.
The Captain stayed at our house when the big storm hit in 1942. Afterward, we took my little boat heading straight for the Captain's house. But nothing was left at the spot where the Captain's house had stood the night before. Even with his white beard the Captain looked like a little boy trying not to cry. ffxi gil,
Not long after that, the Captain married Trudy Braxton who lived on the island. She was not well and did not live long. Soon the Captain came up the path to our house, his face red with excitement. He told my mother and me that Trudy left a little money. ''There is enough for Caroline to go to boarding school in Baltimore, Maryland and continue her music.'' said the Captain.
I sat there as surprised as if he had thrown a rock in my face! ''Caroline!''
My grandmother came up close behind me. I stiffened at the sound of her hoarse whisper. ''Romans 9-13,'' she said. She repeated the saying from the Christian Bible about the competition between two brothers for their father's love. ''Jacob Have I Loved, but Esau have I hated''.
I had always believed the Captain was different. But he, like everyone else, had chosen Caroline over me.
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In the autumn I left school, I spent the winter catching oysters, another kind of shellfish, with my father. That strange winter with my father on his boat was the happiest of my life. I was, for the first time, deeply satisfied with what life was giving me. Part of it was the things I discovered. Who would have believed that my father sang while catching oysters! My quiet father whose voice could hardly be heard in church sang to the oysters! It was a wonderful sound!
I did not want to go back to school, so my mother taught me at home. I passed the test for graduation with the highest grades recorded from Rass Island.
The war in Europe ended in 1945. At the end of crab season Call came home from the war. The body of a large man in uniform was filling the door.
''Call,'' I cried, ''Oh my blessed Call, you have grown up!'' ''That's what the navy promised,'' he said.
Call told the Captain he had stopped to see Caroline. His face burned with happiness when he told the Captain ''She said YES to me,'' he said softly, ''I guess it is hard for you to think someone like Caroline might like me.'' wedding dresses,
I went back to the crab house. Soon after Call and Caroline were married, the Captain said to me, ''This is hard for you, isn't it? What is it you really want to do?''
I was totally empty. What was it I really wanted to do?
''Your sister knew what she wanted,'' said the Captain, ''so when the chance came she could take it. Do not tell me no one ever gave you a chance, Sara Louise. You can make your own chances. But first you have to know what you are after, my dear.''
''I would like to see the mountains,'' I said, and then my dream began to form along with the sentence, ''I might, I want to be a doctor.''
''So what is stopping you?'' the Captain asked.
I realized that under all my dreams of leaving home, I was afraid to go. My mother had told me that she had chosen to leave her people and build the life for herself somewhere else. ''I certainly would not stop you from making the same choice,'' my mother said to me now, ''but all we will miss you, your father and I.''
I wanted so to believe her, ''As much as you miss Caroline?''
Jacob Have I Loved
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