Summary and Analysis
Chapter 14's tour narrative takes place in India. The brothers gape at the poverty of Jaipur as the tour guide raves about its beauty. Another member of the tour points out that, compared to, say, Bombay or Calcutta, Jaipur really is a beautiful city.
They take an elephant ride from the base of the Amber Fort up to its main entrance. The fort is an excellent example of the blending of Hindu and Muslim architecture, and the Hall of Mirrors is the most impressive sight. Its detailed workings of stones and gems with mirrors are a sight to behold.
After traveling through a series of slums, the brothers arrive at a hotel that is a virtual paradise — the "most luxurious hotel . . . on the tour." Instead of sightseeing the next day, the brothers elect to rest at the hotel. Discussing their guilt about not visiting India leads to a conversation about Nicholas' guilt and Micah's taking over for their mother in the family.
The brothers agree that their mother was the center of their family, and her death led the three siblings to become even closer. They also agree that their father was left without a center in his life. And although their parents may have had some questionable methods, the brothers are both "happily married, successful, [and] ethical," a credit to both of their parents.
Then they visit the Taj Mahal, a crypt which is often considered "the finest monument to love ever constructed." Nicholas' thoughts turn to his sister.
Nicholas had not been in North Carolina three weeks before he came back to California. A new MRI revealed that Dana had a brain tumor and required immediate surgery. Although the surgery went well, not all of the tumor could be removed. Other post-surgical notes included the doctor's opinion that she would be unable to have children.
Back in North Carolina, Nicholas had a new house, a new job, typical family issues, and a father who was now far away — all stresses to contend with. Nicholas and Cat found it quite difficult to share the news of Cat's pregnancy with Dana. But soon there was good news about Dana's radiation treatments as well as a warming of relationship with Nicholas' father, who even started dating.
At Thanksgiving, the family met in Texas. His father seemed happy. Dana and Bob had broken up, yet Dana was pregnant. Soon, everyone found out that she was expecting twins. Nicholas' father kicked Dana out of the house, and then everyone learned that the woman he was dating was using him, so his father bought a German shepherd named Flame.
Bob did not know about the pregnancy until right before the twins' birth. He and Dana eventually reconciled. During the time that Nicholas and Cat celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary, Nicholas started writing again. The brothers' company was sold and in the restructuring process, Nicholas took a new position in South Carolina, but Micah left the company.
The poverty of India is apparent to readers in the details that Nicholas shares as well as the tone established in his writing. When talking about the guide's insistence that Jaipur is one of India's most beautiful cities, Nicholas writes, "he seemed to believe it as well," indicating that Nicholas clearly does not agree with that assessment. Throughout Three Weeks with My Brother, Nicholas Sparks uses a conversational tone in order to more easily relate to his readers. For example, using the word "crashing" to indicate that they were going to bed commits to a degree of familiarity with his readers that offers a personal connection.
The images of poverty that pervade the chapter — including the smell of diesel fuel — not only provide a realistic account of the city but enable the brothers to gain a better appreciation for all that they have in the United States. The images also enable readers to share the experience and appreciate their own standard of living.
The positive comments about their parents' parenting techniques also contain another subtle form of foreshadowing, for the brothers say "we're happily married" — we referring to both brothers, and "we remained close as siblings" — with we referring to all three children. But the verb tense in the second statement is past — a clue that at this point in time (during the trip), Dana is dead; otherwise, they would have written "we remain." Another bit of foreshadowing is the information about the five year survival rate for patients with Dana's type of cancerous cells being less than two percent.
Toward the end of the chapter, Nicholas foreshadows his first successful novel — The Notebook, which was indeed inspired by his wife's grandparents. Micah's final words in the chapter also foreshadow Nicholas' impending literary success, for he tells his younger brother, "maybe you'll be out of the pharmaceutical business soon, too." Readers know that this is indeed true.
Maharaja a great raja; a Hindu prince or king in India ranking above a raja
manic-depressive suffering from a disorder characterized by alternating mania and depression
cenotaph a monument built to honor people whose remains are interred elsewhere or whose remains cannot be recovered
oligodendroglioma a rare slow-growing type of brain tumor that begins in cells called oligodendrocytes, which provide support and nourishment for cells that transmit nerve impulses
astrocytoma cancer of the brain that originates in star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes. This type of tumor does not usually spread outside the brain and spinal cord and it does not usually affect other organs
glioblastoma multiforme the most common and most aggressive type of primary brain tumor in humans
How difficult was it to experience the juxtaposition of wealth and poverty that you experienced throughout the trip?
It wasn't hard at all, if only because Micah and I have been poor, middle class and rich. And yet, we also know that happiness in life isn't simply about money. It's about relationships. We met wonderful, happy people in every country we visited. Still, with that said, it was a sober reminder of how much people take things for granted. Trust me when I say that we were often reminded how lucky we are to have been born in a country like the United States.