Summary and Analysis
Noah and Allie stand in silence, each lost in his and her own thoughts and memories and feelings. Finally, Allie breaks the silence, greeting Noah. Awkward silence is followed by awkward, stilted conversations. Allie asks and Noah confirms that no significant other exists in his life, yet then she admits that she is not only engaged to be married, but that the wedding is in three weeks.
Noah asks all the right questions about the nature of her relationship, and Allie provides all the right answers; still Noah cannot help but wonder if Allie truly loves Lon or if she is merely trying to convince herself that she does. He then invites her to stay for a crab dinner. Allie follows Noah to the dock. While he inspects the crab cages, she inspects the dock and finds the inscription "Noah loves Allie," which was carved in the dock just days before she left, 14 years prior. Allie admires the house as Noah prepares dinner.
During their conversation, Allie reveals her mother's attitude toward social class, and Noah questions her as to why she never responded to any of his letters. Allie reveals that she never received any of them.
Allie almost admits that she felt compelled to come after she saw the newspaper clipping about Noah's restoration of the old house. During the course of their continued conversation, Noah is shocked to learn that Allie no longer paints; she is just as shocked to realize he not only remembered but also a painting of hers hangs in his living room.
Allie wonders if she still loves Noah. When talking about Fin and Sarah, Noah tells both Allie and readers that Fin was killed in the war. By the end of dinner, Noah is sure that he has fallen in love with the new Allie and not just the memory of the Allie of his summer love. He states that loving Allie is "his destiny."
Another new poet is mentioned — Browning. As they continue to share the evening, readers find out that Allie and Lon have never been intimate. She keeps the shirt he lent her during dinner in an effort to avoid staining her shirt. Noah asks to see her tomorrow, promising to show her a special place, and Allie agrees to meet him. She then turns away before Noah is able to attempt to kiss her.
After Allie leaves, Noah has no desire to play the guitar or to read poetry. He does not know how he feels or what he feels like doing. The chapter ends with the image of Noah crying on the porch.
The one sentence first paragraph of this chapter effectively draws attention to the image of the long-lost lovers reunited. The lack of movement as each faces the other mirrors the idea that time has stood still.
After overcoming his initial shock and disbelief, Noah is able to begin getting reacquainted with Allie. Their sharing the chores of making dinner is an indication of domestic comfort with one another as they perform some of the necessary chores of living. During their reunion, Noah and Allie share details of their lives, filling in the gaps of their missing 14 years.
Their reunion is marred only by the inclusion of details about their forced separation. What Allie's mother believed and told Allie, that "Status is more important than feelings" and "Our future is dictated by what we are, as opposed to what we want" not only reveals much about Allie's mother, but also they serve as antithetical statements regarding important themes in The Notebook. Clearly, Allie's mother is an antagonist (a person who works against the protagonist and gives rise to the conflict). In this case, she not only worked to keep Noah away from Allie, but also she succeeded for 14 years.
Allie's sense of compulsion directly addresses the thematic topic of fate and destiny. Although fate may lend a hand in Allie seeing the newspaper clipping, she chose to lie to Lon and seek out Noah. Allie and Noah may have been fated to be together, but she chose to return to New Bern. She chose to visit Noah at his house. And he chose to invite her to stay.
This chapter continues the exploration of the nature of love. And rather than provide an easy-to-memorize, moral-of-the-story answer, Sparks provides examples and complications of the messiness that makes up real-world love. Clearly, love is more than a word — it encompasses the actions that accompany the words.
One of Allie's thoughts serves as an important thematic statement: "Poetry . . . wasn't written to be analyzed; it was meant to inspire without reason, to touch without understanding." This idea refers not only to poetry but also to love.
The closing image of the chapter is one of Noah alone on his porch, crying. Many critics consider this a bit of emotional blackmail, tugging on the heartstrings of the readers. Yet, realistically, what else would Noah do?
Stylistically, the closing of the chapter mirrors the beginning, ending with a single-sentence paragraph. The final sentence is commentary by the narrator, focusing on Noah's inability to control or stop his tears. Noah is overcome by his emotions and so too are most readers.
Chasm literally a gorge; metaphorically a gap; used here to indicate the emotional distance between Allie and others
Browning Robert Browning, a famous British poet of the Victor-ian era
The Notebook was your first novel made into a movie. Can you describe what that process was like? Did you, at any point, feel as though you had lost control of your story?
The film sold to New Line Cinema in 1995; filming, however, didn't begin until 2003. There were long stretches during that period when nothing seemed to be happening, and until they actually began production, I suppose I'd come to believe that it would never be made.
The delay was caused by a multitude of factors: It took six months to find a screenwriter, who then took six months to write the screenplay. The studio, New Line Cinema, asked for a rewrite, which took another six months, but they still weren't happy. New Line then spent six months or so deciding whether or not to hire a different screenwriter. Eventually, they did, and the screenplay took about a year to get exactly right. At that point in time, rumors began to float that an extremely well known director and actor were interested in the project, so the studio waited for a year and a half to see whether they'd move on the project. It never happened. Around the same time, New Line Cinema ran into financial troubles: For a while, it was unclear whether the studio would survive. Fortunately, they took a chance on Lord of the Rings, and the trilogy was a spectacular success. They then hired a director, who spent about six months on the project and then, for some reason, either left the project or was asked to leave. Finally, after another few months of inaction, they hired Nick Cassavetes, who loved the project. He eventually ended up directing the film and did a first-rate job.
It's also important to realize that this circuitous was by no means extraordinary — it's more the rule than the exception. Every adaptation has its challenges, but I was fortunate that Mark Johnson, the producer, never gave up.
The purpose of this chapter is twofold: to establish the conflict and to illustrate the depths of their love. Although Noah is not involved in any personal relationship, Allie is engaged to be married. Yet, their memories and their reunion illustrates that they both have loved each other and have been in love with each other since the first summer they met, 14 years prior.