What's Katherine's reasons behind writing Jacob Have I Loved? What inspired her to write this novel?I'm doing a biography on her for school, and I've searched everywhere. She is famous for writing...

What's Katherine's reasons behind writing Jacob Have I Loved? What inspired her to write this novel?

I'm doing a biography on her for school, and I've searched everywhere. She is famous for writing Bridge to Terabithia.

Expert Answers
bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Since Paterson's parents were missionaries, she naturally knew the Bible well and was intrigued by the relationships between sisters and brothers in the Bible, such as Cain and Abel. This led to the writing of Jacob Have I Loved, a story about two sisters, Louise and Caroline Bradshaw. Louise is jealous and resentful of her sister, and it almost destroys her. Paterson took an age-old theme of sibling rivalry from Biblical stories and modernized it, leaving us with the same message of how damaging such negative emotions are. Most of the symbolism and allusion (a reference to a famous work, character, etc.) for the story comes from the Bible as well as the title.

mkcapen1 | Student

The author of Jacob I have Loved always had a deep interest in the setting of the seamen who worked in Chesapeake Bay.  Because of her interests she began to explore the area and type of isolation and work experienced by families who make a living in the area.  

Katherine Patterson grew up being raised in a different country by parents who were ministers.  Her own life is characterized by the girl in the story who lives in the community of an island that is isolated and she is being reared under the guidance of a father who is a Methodist minister.  The Biblical illusions in the story are evidence of the author's upbringing.