A Walk to Remember By Nicholas Sparks Summary and Analysis Chapter 4

Summary

Life returns to normal for Landon. His father is back in Washington, D.C.; Landon and his friends sneak out to spend late nights at the graveyard; and Landon doesn't see Jamie very much. Eventually Jamie calls Landon, although he first thinks the voice is Angela's. Jamie asks Landon whether they can talk, an idea that repels Landon, but he agrees to see her that day. As when Landon asked her on their date, the two sit outside because Reverend Sullivan does not allow Jamie to be alone in the house with a young man. Jamie asks Landon whether he'd be willing to audition to play the part of Tom Thornton in this year's The Christmas Angel, taking over for Eddie Jones, who stammers. Jamie insists that she is asking not because Eddie's stammering embarrasses her but because she wants the production to be perfect this year for her father, whom she loves. Landon reluctantly agrees, wondering if he really even had an option the saying no to her request.

Analysis

Chapter 4 finds Landon pondering Jamie's behavior at the dance. He finds it inexplicable that anyone could be that compassionate and kind and wonders whether he is starting to like her as more than a classmate. He shrugs off what he's feeling under the logic that if he liked Jamie, he would have already asked her out again. Since he hasn't, he decides he must not like her. Never does the idea enter into his "logic" that perhaps he is intimidated by Jamie's goodness and also worried about the social ramifications of dating her.

Were it not for Jamie's persistence, Landon may have never moved beyond those thoughts. But Jamie calls Landon to ask him for a favor, and he agrees to meet her at her house only because he knows she will eventually find him if he doesn't. But more than that, he remembers that she helped him with her generosity in cleaning up after Angela, and he recognizes that, in return, he can show her the respect of listening to her. "I may be irresponsible," Landon says, "but I'm a nice irresponsible." Landon again shows small signs of growing up.

Jamie's request, that Landon play Tom Thorton in the Christmas play, throws the two sides of Landon into relief. He desperately wants to say no based on what his friends might say, but he understands how important this is to Jamie and to her father. Landon now feels deep regret at having teased Jamie and her current co-star — the stuttering, nervous Eddie — behind their backs during drama class because he discovers that Jamie is aware of those barbs. He feels shame, another important component for growth.

Although Landon clearly has the opportunity to turn down Jamie's request, he understands that to do so would be to revert to his former self, a side of him that he now finds embarrassing. So Landon agrees to take the role, although he believes he didn't have a choice. He is maturing, but unwittingly.

Glossary

hushpuppies small, round cornmeal breads that are deep fried and very popular in the South.

RC Cola a soft drink developed in 1905 that become popular in the 1950s; it is still available today as an alternative to Coke and Pepsi.

penance atonement for having sinned, usually by performing a religious act (such as reciting certain prayers) or by doing a good deed.

Chinese water torture an Italian practice of torture, in which water is dropped slowly onto the victim's forehead, eventually driving the person insane.

From Nicholas

Is A Walk to Remember a love story, a tragedy, or a coming-of-age novel? Or is it all three?

A Walk to Remember is first and foremost a love story, the kind of novel that can trace its roots back to the Greek Tragedies. It's also Landon's journey of growth and redemption, which stems from his first experience with love, and concludes with bittersweet loss.

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