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ONLINE SYNOPSIS A WALK TO REMEMBER BY NICHOLAS SPARKS
Landon then tells the reader all about his own family and his own life in Beaufort. His father is Worth Carter and he is a congressman for “everything east of Raleigh and north of Wilmington, all the way to the Virginia border.” He has held this position for almost thirty years and, obviously, wields tremendous power in his district and in his state. Landon tells us, without using it as an excuse for his own behavior, that his father was never there for him growing up, because he was always in Washington, D.C. “He was a stranger, someone I barely knew at all.” As a result, he grew up under the care of his mother, whom he describes as “a nice lady, sweet and gentle, the kind of mother most people dream about. However, he recognizes that she cannot substitute the male influence he needs and combined with his growing disillusionment with his father, he turns into a bit of a rebel. He never actually does anything really bad, but he does break enough rules that parents in the community whisper to their children not to be like that “Carter boy. He’s on a fast track to prison.”
Landon goes on to relate that Hegbert Sullivan and his father dislike each other because of Landon’s grandfather. Hegbert had worked for the man at one time and saw up close what a “bastard” he really was. The old man amassed a fortune on the backs of the townspeople, charging them exorbitant interest on loans from his bank, making promises he never kept, and foreclosing on their property in order to take it for himself. Landon observes that if anyone deserved to die an early, horrible death, it was his grandfather. Instead, the old man died at a ripe-old age while sleeping with his mistress on his yacht off the Cayman Islands. Landon thinks the fact that life isn’t fair should be the number one lesson taught in school.
When Hegbert quits in disgust, he turns instead to preaching in the Southern Baptist Church. Because of his obsession with preaching, he never married until he was 43 and Jamie wasn’t born until he was 55. His wife died giving birth to Jamie and hence The Christmas Angel came to past.
During his senior year, the staging of the play is left up to the Drama Class, taught by Miss Garber. Of course, Jamie Sullivan is given the lead role of the angel and everyone in the community is looking forward to it even more, because of the significance of the play to her own birth. Landon finds himself in the Drama Class also, just because he was looking for a “blow off class” for his senior year. Miss Garber has big plans for the class including leading her students towards “self-confidence, self-awareness, and self-fulfillment.” Of course, Landon finds these goals a little silly and thinks he can just ignore them. The best thing, he thinks, about the class is the fact that he is one of only two boys, which means he can use his “manly approach to women” without any competition.
Miss Garber tells the class that Jamie will be the Christmas angel and begins applauding wildly. The class goes along with the clapping somewhat tentatively, because, even though Jamie is a nice girl, she was unusual to say the least. She deliberately wears her hair in a bun, always has on a brown cardigan and a plaid skirt and is seldom noticed by anyone around her. She also carries her Bible wherever she goes and even reads it a lunch. Furthermore, she is always helping people and animals, going at least once a week to the orphanage, and bringing hurt “critters” to the local vet to be mended. She often voices her opinion that everything is a part of the Lord’s Plan and she even believes she is blessed to be Hegbert’s daughter. All of this is a huge strike against her when it comes to having either girlfriends or boyfriends. So, even though the parents of the town believe the world would be a better place with more Jamies in it, Landon and his friends think one is plenty.
When Jamie turns around to acknowledge the applause of her classmates, Landon
is struck by the fact that she has developed breasts and has a nice tan.
For the first time, at least to him, she looks almost pretty. She turns
again and smiles pointedly at Landon and indicates she’s glad to see him
in the class. As the narrator, he observes that “it wasn’t until later
that I would learn the reason why.”
The fact that Landon emphasizes so early in the story the immense popularity of the Christmas play is a clue for the reader that somehow this play will figure strongly in how his senior year in high school is a lasting memory. Also, the fact that he suddenly begins to see Jamie Sullivan in a different light is an important clue to events he has yet to relate.
Landon’s description of Hegbert is also important to note for two reasons: one, he is the author of the play and it is a reflection of his own life; two, he has a bitter past with the Carter family because of Landon’s ruthless grandfather. Therefore, he doesn’t have much good to say about Landon either. This will be important to remember for events to come. Hegbert also has little to admire about Landon, because Landon has always been behind pranks played on the serious preacher. This then lays the groundwork for a relationship which will spring up between Landon, Jamie, and her father.
There is also significant foreshadowing at the end of the chapter when Landon tells us he didn’t know until later why Jamie was glad to see he had taken the class. Could it be that he is part of the Lord’s Plan about which she always speaks?
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Walk to Remember".
. 09 May 2017