Summary and Analysis
A Letter from Yesterday
Allie gets her crying under control as she drives back to the inn, and by the time she arrives she notices that Lon's car is parked in the lot. Instead of getting out and going to Lon, Allie reaches for the stack of unread letters from Noah. And instead of reading the first one, Allie decides to read the last one, the goodbye letter. Noah's letter was a heartfelt statement of love that expressed the finality of their situation without diluting or sacrificing the significance of their summer together. Noah wrote about the nature of their love and the fond memories that he will always cherish. Allie reads the letter three times before she gets up the courage to go and speak to Lon.
This chapter ends the inner story of the frame narrative. It leaves readers in suspense, for they do not know if Allie is either getting her courage up to break up with Lon or using Noah's own words against him as a means for her to again walk away.
This chapter is another short one that Sparks uses to build suspense. There are also two paragraphs that consist of only a single sentence each. These sentences, along with the contents of Noah's final letter to Allie, create a mood of finality. Sparks also creates a sense of distance between readers and the situation by having almost half of the paragraphs starting with the word "she." Using a pronoun instead of Allie's name is a technique that depersonalizes the character. As a character, Allie is moving away from the reader as she literally and metaphorically moves away from Noah.
Ironically, as the narrator tells the reader that Allie remains uncertain of her decision until she sees Lon in the lobby, it is that exact image that makes readers uncertain of Allie's decision. Not being privy to Allie's thoughts at this time, readers are left with the same uncertainty that Noah is simultaneously experiencing. At the end of the previous chapter, Noah thinks about how much Allie and her mother have in common, and a similar thought crosses the mind of readers, cannot be certain exactly whom Allie is going to choose. Emotionally, readers are rooting for Noah, but intellectually, they are not sure if Allie walks away from him because it may be the easier choice to make.