The exposition of a story shows the setting, characters, and background information. In Jacob Have I Loved, the setting is the island of Rass, which is a fictional place in the Chesapeake Bay. Louise, the main character, rarely leaves the island. The story takes place during the 1940s.
Louise and her twin sister, Caroline, are the two main characters. The story centers around the bitterness Louise has toward her sister. These negative feelings go back to the day they were born:
What my mother bore him was girls, twin girls. I was the elder by a few minutes. I always treasured the thought of those minutes. They represented the only time in my life when I was the center of everyone's attention. From the moment Caroline was born, she snatched it all for herself. (Chapter 2)
Secondary characters are Louise and Caroline's parents and grandmother. Louise's best friend, Call, is also an important character. Louise is closer to her father, who treats her like a son. Together, they go crabbing. Her mother is kind and loving. Her grandmother is frequently negative and judgmental. The Captain arrives on the island, and he also becomes a friend to Louise.