Summary and Analysis
Later that night, Landon contemplates Reverend Sullivan's recent odd behavior, in which he appears sad and disconnected. Landon and Jamie discuss God and the importance of continued faith, and Landon invites Jamie to his house for Christmas dinner. Landon then holds Jamie's hand, and although he hopes for a goodnight kiss, the opportunity does not present itself.
Dinner is pleasant and uneventful; afterward, Landon and Jamie take a walk in the garden, and Jamie asks about Landon's grandfather. She challenges Landon to find a way to return his grandfather's ill-gotten financial gains. They then discuss Jamie's father, Hegbert — his worries and fears. Finally, Landon asks Jamie whether he can come over to see her now and then, and she agrees. He visits her the next day, and they kiss.
Although this chapter revolves around Landon's newfound interest in Jamie, his desire to ascertain whether she feels the same, and, if she does, his interest in kissing her at some point, it's not all lovey-dovey. This chapter also centers on faith. Jamie has started to recognize that a miracle has occurred in their lives, and that miracle is the turnaround in Landon's outlook and behavior.
Questions about God and faith, ones that would have bothered Landon so much in the past, now provoke thoughtful discussion in which he willingly participates. He is still a 17-year-old boy, of course, and would rather find out how she feels about him than talk about God, but Landon is happy to participate in Jamie's conversations.
The conversations between Jamie and Landon in this chapter extend beyond spirituality and enter the realm of the existential (that is, about our existence) — for example, why does life happen as it does? This sort of question will come up again in the novel — questions of why are we here, what is our purpose, and how do we discern it. It is interesting to note that Jamie is the one asking these questions — this from someone whose answer to any of life's curveballs was that "God has a plan." Jamie, too, is changing and growing, seeing life in a far more complex light than she has in the past.
The next day, Landon and Jamie have an equally intense conversation — one that would likely have made him deeply uncomfortable in the past — regarding his grandfather's legacy. Unlike before, when he did not like to think about his grandfather, Landon can now discuss his grandfather's ill-gotten fortune with Jamie in spite of his discomfort. Jamie plants the idea in Landon's mind that perhaps the money can be given back in some way, maybe by giving money to those in need. Readers never know whether this occurs because Landon says only, "That decision, if it ever came, was a long way off." But he at least is contemplating the idea now, and as the sole heir to his grandfather's fortune, Landon will one day be in a position to do whatever he wants with the money. Supposedly, he will now do good deeds with it.
The teenage Landon finally gets his wish when he kisses Jamie and she kisses back. But their love story will soon turn to tragedy.
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Jamie prods Landon to give back his grandfather's ill-earned income. The elder Landon, as narrator, tells us, "But that decision, if it ever came, was a long way off." Would it be necessary for Landon to make reparations in this way in order to become truly good? Or is this passage meant to highlight Jamie's uncanny ability to challenge Landon's core assumptions?
In the context of the novel, this passage highlighted both Jamie's intensity and her challenge to Landon's core assumptions. As for reparations, because the sin wasn't Landon's in the first place, I don't believe that there would be anything Landon could have done to rectify his grandfather's wrongs.