Landon has some concerns about this date: he worries about whether Jamie knows how to dance, since it's forbidden in the Southern Baptist Church (everyone breaks the rules for the dances at school, but Jamie is a minister's daughter); he's not sure whether she will dress appropriately since her father doesn't make much money; and he can't accept the offer of a double date from Eric, because he doesn't want to take the chance that Eric will tease Jamie.

What's even more disconcerting than these concerns is the fact that Hegbert wants Landon there an hour early so he can talk to him. Landon figures he's going to talk about all the temptations he will face, so he's not exactly looking forward to it. However, he arrives on time, looking his best, and sits down to talk with Jamie's father. Hegbert surprises Landon by asking him to tell him a little about himself. Then, he asks Landon why he asked Jamie to the dance. He's concerned that Landon, given his past behavior, might do something to embarrass Jamie. He grills Landon for several minutes until Jamie appears, dressed, if somewhat more plain than the other girls will be, at least appropriately. Once they are in the car, Jamie tells Landon that her father doesn't like him very much, but that she thinks this is all in the Lord's Plan.

The evening itself couldn't have turned out worse, as far as Landon is concerned. However, Jamie has a really good time. She loves the music and is a fairly good dancer. Then, Lew and Angela show up and the evening turns sour. First, Lew tries to pick a fight with Landon over whether he's staring at Angela. Jamie steps in with some charitable remarks about Lew's grandmother and calms the situation. Then, Lew spikes the punch and Angela, who's already a little tipsy, becomes downright drunk, throwing up all over the bathroom. Jamie once again comes to the rescue to save Angela from being suspended. She helps Landon get the girl cleaned up, because Lew has abandoned her there. Then, she helps him clean the bathroom as well. They take Angela home and then, he brings Jamie back to her house. Landon prays that Hegbert isn't awake, because of the way Jamie looks and smells, and begs her not to tell her father about any of it. She smiles and promises she won't and then, in spite of being covered in vomit, she thanks Landon for taking her to the dance. Landon's final thought is that Jamie Sullivan can really drive a guy crazy sometimes.


It's obvious that Hegbert totally understands the shallowness of Landon's character by the questions and subtle warnings he gives him before the homecoming dance. He protects and loves Jamie very much and is not afraid to show it. This says much about a man who has a less than acceptable reputation for seriousness and sternness. The dance itself further highlights Jamie's innate goodness by how she diffuses a potential fight between Landon and Lew by appealing to Lew's good side, and how she stands by Landon to help Angela. Her best side is seen, however, in how she can look at Landon with such a wonderful smile, in spite of how she looks and smells, and tell him she had a great time. We can begin to see how this story is shaping up to be how Jamie Sullivan changes Landon Carter forever.

There is again some irony at the end of the chapter when Landon notes that Jamie Sullivan can drive a guy crazy. That's exactly what she's in the process of doing to him - driving him crazy into love.


Cite this page:

Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Long Way Gone".