Symbolism In My Sister's Keeper

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Brian Fitzgerald, the father of Anna, Kate and Jesse Fitzgerald, is a firefighter and spends his days battling the fires, both real and symbolic, which destroy other people’s lives. Unfortunately, he is unable to fight the fires within his own life, and this leads to the destruction of his ability to save his family from the difficult situations they face. The Fitzgerald family’s medical and moral issues that stem from Anna being born as a medical donor for Kate affect each of the characters in different ways. In My Sister’s Keeper, fire is the mechanism used to symbolize these problems that the Fitzgerald family faces.
Fire in a general sense is the combustion that occurs when fuel reacts with oxygen to release heat energy. However, Picoult takes her writing much past fire in a general sense, and uses fire in a symbolic sense. Each ‘fire’ that Brian describes corresponds to a different problem that each of his family members is going through. When describing these problems, Brian laments
“These days, I 'm fighting fire on six sides. I look in front of me and see Kate sick. I look behind me and see Anna with her lawyer. The only time Jesse isn 't drinking like a fish, he 's strung out on drugs; Sara 's grasping at straws. And me, I 've got my gear on, safe. I 'm holding dozens of hooks and irons and poles-all tools that are meant to destroy, when what I need is something to rope us together.” (pg 143)
He mentions that Kate’s problem, or fire, is that she is sick; Anna’s
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