Jacob Have I Loved Jacob Have I Loved question

Ending: Sad or Refreshing?
Elizabeth Elizabeth Jul 24, 2014 05:30PM
It is a good thing to have a sad ending to a book every once in a while to remind us that books don't always have happy endings, and lives don't always get their fairytale ending. But, sometimes the author takes it to far and it sort of sours an otherwise great story. so, did Katherine Patterson walk the fine like or take it to far? Please share your thoughts.

I thought the ending was sort of like things coming full circle. Though the whole book sort of annoyed me because of the way that sara was treated.

I don't think the book ended how the reader may have wanted it to end, which in that sense would make it a bad ending. But I think it did end fairly happy for the main character. She seemed to find satisfaction in where her life ended up, regardless of what we, the readers, felt. So it can be argued that there was a happy ending. If you want to talk about a sad ending, The Hunger Games was it.

Elizabeth wrote: "It is a good thing to have a sad ending to a book every once in a while to remind us that books don't always have happy endings, and lives don't always get their fairytale ending. But, sometimes th..."

That is a very good theory and I agree. Books can sometimes seem so perfect that we sometimes forget that some endings aren't always happy...just like life itself. I think the ending was kinda nostalgic for the main character. I circles around to how she and her twin sister were treated and when she saw it with other children, she wanted them to have a different life where both have equal opportunities and equal love.

I found the ending sad, which was one of the reasons I liked the book so much.

As a child, I was not the most nuanced reader and found the ending horrible. She didn't get to be a doctor, she ended up in Appalachia (Appalachia!) as an overworked nurse, she didn't get to see her dad, and she ended up married to some used up widower with 3 kids, so she's never going to make it back to med school like she planned. Plus she never got her dramatic denouement where she rips into her family, and her sister is doing better than ever with her opera debut.
I plotted such dramatic revenge fantasies on Sara's behalf. Such (melo)dramatic and cutting speeches for her to deliver.
It seemed a little better as an adult, since I realize now how beautiful Appalachia is, the importance of having a job you love and are good at, and that sometimes, inconvenient things just plain get in the way.
I now believe this is neither a happy nor a sad ending, but an ambiguous one, left open to interpretation.
The reader gets to decide if Sara will make it back to med school, whether she'll forge a new, better relationship with her mother once she moves in with Sarah, whether she'll be happy with her new family, and whether the final scene, where she breastfeeds the infant representing her sister, is a symbol of her forgiveness and full acceptance of Caroline.
If Sara will become just as stuck as her mother was, a highly educated woman married to an uneducated man, trapped in a poverty cycle and never making it to med school. Whether her mother will choose Caroline again and move in with her, abandoning Sara again. Whether having to feed the infant girl at the end is symbolic of the Saras of the world always having to provide for the Carolines, and that Sara still is not free of her resentment.
It's an ideal ending since it can go either way.

This was a very odd book, even though I thought it was a good one. I could never understand why Sara was treated so harshly. I know that was the point, but it still didn't make sense to me. It seemed the purpose was just to twist people's minds and reflect on the Biblical Jacob and Esau. I'd like to think that no real mother could blindly dislike one daughter so greatly and spoil the other.

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