The narrator of the story, Landon Carter, who is a 17 year-old senior in Beaufort, North Carolina, in 1958, begins his story with the line, “When I was seventeen, my life changed forever.” He asserts that no one in his hometown would question that a 17 year old could know that, at such a young age, his life was irrevocably different. They know, because they have lived it with him.
As he tells his story, he is 57 years-old, but he says he can remember every detail like it was yesterday. He relives it often in his mind as he has over the forty years since it happened and he feels both sadness and joy in the re-living. He’d like to take all the sadness away, but he knows that he would also lose the joy, so it takes it all in every time he reminisces.
Each time the events of that year come back to him, it’s almost as if he can see himself grow younger, losing the wrinkles around his eyes and feeling his legs and arms become more muscled. He watches in his reminiscence the landscape of the town as he knows it now return to its narrow roads and acres of farmland. He suddenly imagines himself actually there - Landon Carter in front of the Baptist Church at the age of 17.
And he tells us that he promises to tell us the story without leaving anything
out. He warns us that first we will “smile, and then we will cry - don’t
say you haven’t been warned.”
The prologue gives the author the opportunity to introduce his narrator, Landon Carter, and lay out the premise of his story - the memory of a 57 year old man about his senior year in high school. However, the Prologue has an even greater purpose and that is to prepare the reader, through foreshadowing, for a sad, yet joyful, experience.
To clarify the narrator’s feelings as he reminisces, the author uses creative license to describe the wandering of his mind to the past as a kind of anthropomorphic change of both the character’s body and the landscape of the town. In this way, he draws the reader into the poignant aspects of this story and makes us want to find out how such a memory could have such a long lasting effect for both Landon Carter and his town.
Cite this page:
Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Walk to Remember".
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