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A Walk to Remember: Synopsis (13 Chapter)

A Walk to Remember is a novel by American writer Nicholas

Sparks, released in October 1999. The novel, set in 1958-'59
in Beaufort, North Carolina, is a story of two teenagers who fall in
love with each other despite the disparity of their personalities. A
Walk to Remember is adapted in the film of the same name.
The title A Walk to Remember was taken from one of the tail end
pages of the novel: "In every way, a walk to remember." The novel
is written in first-person, and its narrator is a seventeen year-old
boy, living in the 1950s.

Mr. Carter is the father of Landon Carter. He is a

congressman in North Carolina and is gone nine months out
of the year because he lives in Washington D.C


The novel was inspired by Sparks' sister, Danielle Sparks Lewis, who
later died of cancer in June 2000. Although the story is largely
fictional, certain parts were based on real experiences.
A Walk to Remember is set in North Carolina. It begins with the
The Characters:

narrator, fifty-seven-year old Landon Carter, announcing that he is

going to look back on a life-changing event that happened to him

Jamie Sullivan-Carter is the daughter of the Beaufort

when he was seventeen years old.

church minister Hegbert Sullivan. She is very religious,

sweet, and kind.

Landon Carter is a son of a rich family, the narrator of the



Hegbert Sullivan is Jamie's father. He is the Beaufort

church minister.[55] His wife died shortly after giving birth to
Jamie. He is very old with "translucent skin";he is often
crabby but his daughter describes him as having "a good
sense of humor" .He wrote the local play, The Christmas
Angel but he maintains a strong dislike for Mr. Carter due to
his father's choices.

Mrs. Carter is the mother of Landon Carter. "She [is] a nice

lady, sweet and gentle."

Sparks here uses the literary technique known as the frame. He

tells a story by framing it, like a picture inside a frame. The frame,
to which he will return at the end of the story, is that of the middleaged man who looks back on an event earlier in his life.
Sparks uses the first chapter to set the scene at a leisurely pace.
He creates something of a Southern feel to it, without going into
much detail, and he also creates a sense of the history of the area

and period (only three television channels available), particularly

with the story of Landons grandfather. He also lays out the initial
characterization of Landon, Jamie, and Hegbert. Landon is a rebel
without much taste for academic work, but it is clear that he is not
too wayward a kid, just a boy who has lacked a father as a role
model to emulate. Jamie is characterized as the product of her
religious home environment; as the ministers daughter, it seems
that she is almost too good to be true. The minister Hegbert is seen
through Landons unsympathetic eyes, but it is clear that he has

When Landon opens the story with the words that his life changed
when he was seventeen years old, he is preparing us for profound
events that hes never forgotten.
When Landon warns us that we will laugh and we will cry, he
foreshadows the loving relationship that will develop between him
and Jamie.
The fact that Jamie has underlined one particular Psalm in her Bible
foreshadows that she knows Landon will need those words to carry
on in the face of her death.

endured much hardship and suffering. Sparks also cleverly

characterizes Landons best friend Eric Hunter with one deft touch
Eric quite openly goes through Landons lunchbox looking for his
candy bar (which he will no doubt eat over Landons protests).
Throughout, Sparks manages to maintain the tone of an older man
looking back on the immaturity of his youth.

Landon warns the reader that his story will

Make us laugh and cry.

This warning is an example of


There are several other literary devices that pop up at various
times in the story. One of the most prevalent ones is foreshadowing
which frequently presents clues of something that will happen later
in the novel. Some examples of foreshadowing include:

Landon finally fulfils Jamies wish by

Marrying her before all the people they love.

Another element that is important to note is irony - when
something happens, or is seen, or is heard that we may know, but
the characters do not, or that appears opposite of what is
expected. Some examples of irony include:
Landon promises Jamie that he wont fall in love with her if shell go
to the homecoming dance with him, but thats exactly...........
As winter begins to turn into spring, Landon is struck by how life
comes back even as Jamie lays dying.

Another literary device used by the author is creative license. This
device allows the author to imagine obviously impossible things
and make the reader suspend his disbelief. Nicholas Sparks uses
creative license when he has his main character, Landon, see
anthropomorphic changes take place in his body and in the town he
lives in, so that he is no longer imagining his past; he is actually

Best Quotes from the Novel/Movie:

Love is like the wind, you can't see it but you can feel it.

Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is

never boastful or conceited. It is never rude or selfish. It does
not take offense and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure

gradually gets to know Jamie his attitude slowly begins to change. He first m

passage that he finds the answer to the question that has been troubling hi
Coming of Age

The novel covers only a few months in the life of Landon Carter, but these a

most of the classes. Hegbert Sullivan thinks he is irresponsible, and his judg

in other peoples sins, but delights in the truth. It is always

learning to follow his own heart and moral conscience, even if this means a

ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever

aware of his obligations to himself, his family, and his community.

Maybe God has a bigger plan for me than I had for myself.

Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Like this journey never ends. Like you were sent to me

When the novel begins, there are some deep-seated, long-held family woun

because I'm sick. To help me through all this. You're my

expenses, as a result of which Landon drops his resentment of his father. Hi


There are moments when I wish I could roll back the clock
and take all the sadness away, but I have the feeling that if I
did, the joy would be gone as well.

Landon: [voiceover] Jamie saved my life. She taught me

everything. About life, hope and the long journey ahead. I'll
always miss her. But our love is like the wind. I can't see it,
but I can feel it.

Essay Q&A
1. How does the 2002 movie version compare to the book?

A Walk to Remember was made into a movie in 2002, starring Mandy Moore

The movie was updated from the 1950s to the late 1990s. The filmmakers w
Another change is in the character of Hegbert Sullivan. In the film he is still

There are many other changes as well, the principle ones being that Landon
behavior from Landon.
Unlike some authors who dislike how their works are treated in the movies,

Novel and Movie Guide:

A Walk to Remember was made into a movie in 2002, starring
Mandy Moore and Shane West. There were many changes made to
the story in the book, which always happens when a book is
transformed into a movie. Novel and film are different artistic
genres and need to be approached in different ways.

2. Does Jamie live or die at the end of the novel?

According to Nicholas Sparks on his Website, this is the most frequent quest

would have been such a startling conclusion to the story that the narrator c

alive. However, on his Website Sparks claims that he was unable to write ab

3. What is the relationship between Landon and Eric? Why are they

Eric and Landon have known each other since kindergarten, and Landon ref

Theme Analysis

his growing friendship with Jamie. He seems to enjoy making his friend unco

The Discovery of Faith

discovers that Landon is serious about acting in the play, he gives him his fu

A Walk
to Remember
asofa Landon
In the early part of the novel, religious faith is presented only in the form of4.
as seen
through the
He mo

Sparks notes with some pride on his Website that A Walk to Remember

Character Development -- Bringing the characters to life in the

reader's mind.
They figures,
can range
to deep,This change
Jamie are presented through the eyes of the narrator Landon Carter as unattractive,
of ridicule
and derision.
It's anyone
from his former state of ignorance. He also learns from Jamie the Christian value
she holds
for having
5. A Walk to Remember is popular, but is it good literature?

to note that different genres and stories require different types of

character development.
Like Sparkss previous two novels, A Walk to Remember was a best-seller. But a popular book is not necessarily a good book. Reviewers of all Sparkss

segment of the book-buying public that likes to read simple love stories that do not belong in the category of romance novel. Specific criticisms that
Writing Style -- How the novel is written. Is the writing style
and their relationships: Jamie might be seen as too good to be true, the relationship between Landon and Jamie unconvincing (given their great differen
efficient or complex? Does the author use an extensive vocabulary
or get straight to the point? Are words used appropriately with
regard to meaning, or do they seem written to showcase the
"sound" of a sentence? Style should always be appropriate for the
genre or story. An appropriate style adds to the texture of the
novel; an inappropriate style does just the opposite. Literary fiction
The Four Basic Elements Of Any Novel

tends to lean toward complex sentences with original language.

Thrillers tend to use shorter, more efficient sentences, especially as

by Nicholas Sparks

the pace quickens in the novel.

It's critical to understand these elements and how they are related.

Of course, basic writing rules always apply. Limit the use of adverbs
when describing dialogue ("he said angrily" should read, "he said"),

Plot -- There are many definitions of plot, but plot is essentially the

avoid words that add unnecessary emphasis ("he was a little tired"

story, or the events that make up what the book is about. Plot, of

should read, "he was tired," or "she was very thirsty," should read

course, is defined by conflict, either internal (Coming to terms with

"she was thirsty") avoid cliches (like, "It was a dark and stormy

the loss of a spouse, for example) or external, (A stalker is watching

night,") use words appropriately and with their proper meaning,

through the window), and the best plots are both original and

make the sentences clear and coherent, make them original

interesting. Complexity of the plot is a matter of taste, so is the

without seeming to strain for originality. And most important of all,

setting (such as time period).

"show" whenever possible, don't "tell." In other words, don't write,

"Max was angry." Show me his anger instead. ("Staring into the fire,

No matter what other definition is given, the very best plots are

Max balled his hands into fists. Not this, he thought, anything but

defined by readers with the simple phrase, "I couldn't put the book


down." In other words, a great story.

For a further look at Style and Rules of Composition, see The
Elements of Style by Strunk and White.

Length -- Just what it says. How long is the book? The length

was the worst of times," is a much stronger opening than taking a

should be appropriate to the genre and be appropriate to the story.

paragraph or two to say exactly the same thing.

The Notebook, which in its final form was 45,000 words, was
originally 80,000 words before I edited it down. Why did I cut so

Likewise with novels or scenes that are too short, and though this

much? Because the story was so simple (only two main characters

doesn't seem to happen as frequently, it does happen at times.

and two settings, and the majority of the novel was devoted to only

Sometimes, characters scream for more detail about them,

a couple of days) that the additional words didn't add much; in fact,

sometimes settings do as well. Sometimes adding "bulk" is

all they did was slow the story to a crawl. In The Rescue, I cut 20%

important to the overall pacing of a novel. If too much length is

from the original draft for the same reason. In A Bend in the Road, I

bad, so is a book or scene that's too short.

cut 25%. In Stephen King's book, On Writing, he says his general

rule of thumb is to cut 10%. According to what I've heard about

The Three Categories

Hemingway, his advice was to take the first fifty pages of your

Broadly speaking, fiction can be divided into three varieties:

novel and cut them down to five pages. Sometimes when writing,

literary, genre, and mainstream. The first thing you need to do

less is more. (Ignore the use of the cliche, but it's appropriate here.)

when deciding what kind of novel you want to write is to come

down in one camp or the other...

In most books on writing that I've read, this final aspect is often
overlooked, though I don't know why. Length is critically important

Genre fiction is the most popular variety of fiction. It can be

in novels. How many times, for instance, have you read a novel

divided into categories such as mysteries, thrillers, and

that seems to go "on and on?" I've read plenty. Too many, in fact.

romances. If you decide to write genre fiction, you need to

be aware that each category will have a particular set of

Books that are too long are the sign of laziness by the writer and

rules (or conventions) that you, the writer, will need to

also imply an arrogance of sorts, one that essentially says to the

more or less follow. For more on this, check out the article

reader, "I'm the author here and I know what I'm doing, and if you

on the Fiction Conventions.

don't like it, then that says more about you than me, and we both
know which one of us is smarter." Not so. Who, after all, would have

Literary novels are generally far less commercial than genre

seen the movie Jurassic Park if the length of the movie was six

ones - but only generally. If your literary novel happens to

hours? As much as dinosaurs are interesting and exciting, enough

win a major prize or receive some positive word-of-mouth

is enough sometimes. Why are so many books too long these days?

buzz, it could still make you very rich.

Because being efficient is difficult and often time-consuming. It's a

lot harder to capture a character's personality fully in one, original

Mainstream fiction, as you might have guessed, sits more or

paragraph, than it is to take a page to do so. But efficiency is one of

less halfway between the other two. In fact, it is often

the characteristics of quality writing. "It was the best of times, it

defined in terms of how it differs to literary and genre

novels. The best definition of mainstream fiction, though, is

Round - A rounded character is anyone who has a complex

personality; he or she is often portrayed as a conflicted
and contradictory person.

Flat - A flat character is the opposite of a round character.

This literary personality is notable for one kind of
personality trait or characteristic.

Stock - Stock characters are those types of characters who

have become conventional or
stereotypicalthrough repeated use in particular types of
stories. Stock characters are instantly recognizable to
readers or audience members (e.g. the femme fatale, the
cynical but moral private eye, the mad scientist, the geeky
boy with glasses, and the faithful sidekick). Stock characters
are normally one-dimensional flatcharacters, but sometimes
stock personalities are deeply conflicted, rounded
characters (e.g. the "Hamlet" type).

Protagonist - The protagonist is the central person in a story,

and is often referred to as the story's main character. He or
she (or they) is faced with a conflict that must be resolved.
The protagonist may not always be admirable (e.g. an antihero); nevertheless s/he must command involvement on the
part of the reader, or better yet, empathy.

Antagonist - The antagonist is the character(s) (or situation)

that represents the opposition against which the protagonist
must contend. In other words, the antagonist is an obstacle
that the protagonist must overcome.

Anti-Hero - A major character, usually the protagonist, who

lacks conventional nobility of mind, and who struggles for
values not deemed universally admirable. Duddy, in
Mordecai Richler's The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, is a
classic anti-hero. He's vulgar, manipulative and selfcentered. Nevertheless, Duddy is the center of the story,
and we are drawn to the challenges he must overcome and
the goals he seeks to achieve.

that it is a category in its own right.

Types of Characters in Fiction
"What does characterization do for a story? In a nutshell, it allows
us to empathize with the protagonist and secondary characters,
and thus feel that what is happening to these people in the story is
vicariously happening to us; and it also gives us a sense of
verisimilitude, or the semblance of living reality. An important part
of characterization is dialogue, for it is both spoken and inward
dialogue that afford us the opportunity to see into the characters'
hearts and examine their motivations. In the best of stories, it is
actually characterization that moves the story along, because a
compelling character in a difficult situation creates his or her own

In fictional literature, authors use many different types of

characters to tell their stories. Different types of characters fulfill
different roles in the narrative process, and with a little bit of
analysis, you can usually detect some or all of the types below.

Major or central characters are vital to the development and

resolution of the conflict. In other words, the plot and
resolution of conflict revolves around these characters.

Minor characters serve to complement the major characters

and help move the plot events forward.

Dynamic - A dynamic character is a person who changes

over time, usually as a result of resolving a central conflict
or facing a major crisis. Most dynamic characters tend to be
central rather than peripheral characters, because resolving
the conflict is the major role of central characters.

Static - A static character is someone who does not

change over time; his or her personality does not
transform or evolve.

Foil - A foil is any character (usually the antagonist or an

important supporting character) whose personal qualities
contrast with another character (usually the protagonist). By
providing this contrast, we get to know more about the
other character.

Symbolic - A symbolic character is any major or minor

character whose very existence represents some major idea
or aspect of society. For example, in Lord of the Flies, Piggy
is a symbol of both the rationality and physical weakness of
modern civilization; Jack, on the other hand, symbolizes the
violent tendencies (the Id) that William Golding believes is
within human nature.

Direct presentation (or characterization) - This refers to what

the speaker or narrator directly says or thinks about a
character. In other words, in a direct characterization, the
reader is told what the character is like. When Dickens
describes Scrooge like this: "I present him to you: Ebenezer
Scrooge....the most tightfisted hand at the grindstone,
Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping,
clutching, covetous, old sinner!" - this is very direct

Indirect presentation (or characterization) - This refers to

what the character says or does. The reader
theninfers what the character is all about. This mimics how
we understand people in the real world, since we can't "get
inside their heads". In other words, in an indirect
characterization, it's the reader who is obliged to figure out
what the character is like. And sometimes the reader will get
it wrong.

Ten (Direct or Indirect) Ways in which a Character Can Be Revealed

a. By psychological description.
b. By physical description.
c. By probing what s/he thinks.
d. By what s/he says.
e. By how s/he says it.

f. By what s/he does.

g. By what others say about him or her.
h. By his or her environment.
i. By her reaction to others.
j. By his reaction to himself.
Things to Remember:
1. Literary characters may embody more than one of these
character types at the same time. A dynamic character may
also be the antagonist, and a protagonist can also be, say, a
flat and stock character (i.e. the one-dimensional hero).
2. Here's a very common mistake: while characters are often
round and dynamic, that does not mean these two terms
mean the same thing. The former refers to a
character's complexity, while the latter refers to a
character's development over time. Students also make
this mistake with flat and static characters.


All stories contain four elements that can determine structure: milieu, idea,
character and event. While each is present in every story, there is generally
one that dominates the others.
Which one dominates? The one that the author cares about most. This is
why the process of discovering the structure of a story is usually a process of
self-discovery. Which aspect of the story matters most to you? That is the
aspect that determines your storys structure.
Lets take each element in turn and look at the structure that would be
required if that were to be the dominant element in your story.
The milieu is the worldthe planet, the society, the weather, the family, all

the elements that come up during your world-creation phase. Every story has
a milieu, but when a story is structured around one, the milieu is the thing the
storyteller cares about most. For instance, in Gullivers Travels, it mattered
little to Jonathan Swift whether we came to care about Gulliver as a
character. The whole point of the story was for the audience to see all the
strange lands where Gulliver traveled and then compare the societies he
found there with the society of England in Swifts own dayand the societies
of all the tales readers, in all times and places. So it wouldve been absurd to
begin by writing much about Gullivers childhood and upbringing. The real
story began the moment Gulliver got to the first of the books strange lands,
and it ended when he came home.
Milieu stories always follow that structure. An observer who sees things the
way wed see them gets to the strange place, observes things that interest
him, is transformed by what he sees, and then comes back a new person.
This structure is most common in science fiction and fantasy, but it also
occurs in other types of novels. James Clavells Shogun, for instance, is a
milieu story: It begins when the European hero is stranded in medieval
Japan, and it ends when he leaves. He was transformed by his experiences
in Japan, but he does not stayhe returns to his world. Other stories are told
along the waythe story of the shogun, for instancebut regardless of how
much were drawn into those events, the real closure we expect at the end of
the story is the main characters departure from Japan.
Likewise, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz doesnt end when Dorothy kills the
Wicked Witch of the West. It ends when Dorothy leaves Oz and goes home
to Kansas.
As you conceive and write your own story, if you realize that what you care
about most is having a character explore and discover the world youve
created, chances are this structure is your best choice.
When writing a milieu story, your beginning point is obviouswhen the
character arrivesand the ending is just as plain: when she leaves (or, in a
variant, when she decides not to leave, ending the question of going home).

Such stories are typically most effective when seen through the viewpoint of
the arriving character, as shell be surprised by and interested in the same
strange and marvelous (and terrible) things that engage the readers.
Idea stories are about the process of seeking and discovering new
information through the eyes of characters who are driven to make the
discoveries. The structure is very simple: The idea story begins by raising a
question; it ends when the question is answered.
Most mysteries follow this structure. The story begins when a crime takes
place. The question we ask is, who did it and why? The story ends when
the identity and motive of the criminal are revealed.
In speculative fiction, a similar structure is quite common. The story begins
with a question: Why did this beautiful ancient civilization on a faraway planet
come to an end? Why are all these people gone, when they were once so
wise and their achievements so great? The answer, in Arthur C. Clarkes
The Star, is that their sun went nova, making life impossible in their star
system. And, ironically, it was the explosion of their star that the wise men
saw as the sign of the birth of Christ. The story is told from the point of view
of a Christian who believes that this must have been a deliberate act of God,
to destroy a beautiful civilization for the sake of giving a sign to the magi.
When writing an idea story, begin as close as possible to the point where the
question is first
raised, and end as soon as possible after the question is answered.


Character stories focus on the transformation of a characters role in the
communities that matter most to him. Sure, in one sense, stories are almost
always about one or more characters. In most stories, though, the tale is
not about the characters character; that is, the story is not about who the
character is.
Take, for example, the Indiana Jones movies. These are not character
stories. The story is always about what Indiana Jones does, but never who

he is. Jones faces many problems and adventures, but in the end, his role in
society is exactly what it was before: part-time archaeology professor and
full-time knight-errant.
By contrast, Carson McCullers The Member of the Wedding is about a
young girls longing to change her role in the only community she knows
her household, her family. She determines that she wants to belong to her
brother and his new wife; they are the we of me, she decides. In the effort
to become part of their marriage, she is thwartedbut in the process, her
role in the family and in the world at large is transformed, and at the end of
the story she is not who she was when she first began. The Member of the
Wedding is a classic example of a character story.
The structure of a character story is as simple as any of the others. The story
begins at the moment when the main character becomes so unhappy,
impatient or angry in her present role that she begins the process of change;
it ends when the character either settles into a new role (happily or not) or
gives up the struggle and remains in the old role (happily or not).
In the event story, something is wrong in the fabric of the universe; the world
is out of order. In classic literature, this can include the appearance of a
monster (Beowulf), the unnatural murder of a king by his brother (Hamlet)
or of a guest by his host (Macbeth), the breaking of an oath (Havelock the
Dane), the conquest of a Christian land by the infidel (King Horn), the birth of
a child portent who some believe ought not to have been born (Dune), or the
reappearance of a powerful ancient adversary who was thought to be dead
(The Lord of the Rings). In all cases, a previous ordera golden agehas
been disrupted and the world is in flux, a dangerous place.
The event story ends at the point when a new order is established or, more
rarely, when the old order is restored or, rarest of all, when the world
descends into chaos as the forces of order are destroyed. The story begins
not at the point when the world becomes disordered, but rather at the point
when the character whose actions are most crucial to establishing the new
order becomes involved in the struggle. Hamlet doesnt begin with the
murder of Hamlets father; it begins much later, when the ghost appears
to Hamlet and involves him in the struggle to remove the usurper and
reestablish the proper order of the kingdom.

Almost all fantasy and muchperhaps mostscience fiction uses the event
story structure. Nowhere is it better handled than in J.R.R. Tolkiens great
trilogy. The Lord of the Rings begins when Frodo discovers that the ring Bilbo
gave him is the key to the overthrow of Sauron, the great adversary of the
worlds order; it ends not with the destruction of Sauron, but with the
complete reestablishment of the new orderwhich includes the departure of
Frodo and all other magical people from Middle-earth.
Notice that Tolkien does not begin with a prologue recounting all the history
of Middle-earth up to the point where Gandalf tells Frodo what the ring is. He
begins, instead, by establishing Frodos domestic situation and then thrusting
world events on him, explaining no more of the world than Frodo needs to
know right at the beginning. We learn of the rest of the foregoing events bit
by bit, only as the information is revealed to Frodo.
In other words, the viewpoint character, not the narrator, is our guide into the
world situation. We start with the small part of the world that he knows and
understands and see only as much of the disorder of the universe as he can.
It takes many daysand many pagesbefore Frodo stands before the
council of Elrond, the whole situation having been explained to him, and
says, I will take the ring, though I do not know the way. By the time a
lengthy explanation is given, we have already seen much of the disorder of
the universe for ourselvesthe Black Riders, the hoodlums in Bree, the
barrow wightsand have met the true king, Aragorn, in his disguise as
Strider. In other words, by the time we are given the full explanation of the
world, we already care about the people involved in saving it.
Too many writers of event stories, especially epic fantasies, dont learn this
lesson from Tolkien. Instead, they imagine that their poor reader wont be
able to understand whats going on if they dont begin with a prologue
showing the world situation. Alas, these prologues always fail. Because we
arent emotionally involved with any characters, because we dont yet care,
the prologues are meaningless. They are also usually confusing, as a halfdozen names are thrown at us all at once. I have learned as a book reviewer
that its usually best to skip the prologue and begin with the storyas the
author also should have done. I have nevernot oncefound that by
skipping the prologue I missed some information I needed to have in order to
read the story; and when I have read the prologue first, I have nevernot
oncefound it interesting, helpful or even understandable.

In other words, writers of event stories, dont write prologues. Homer didnt
need to summarize the whole Trojan War for us; he began the Iliad with the
particular, the private wrath of Achilles. Learn from Homerand Tolkien, and
all the other writers who have handled the event story well. Begin small, and

only gradually expand our vision to include the whole world. If you dont let us
know and care about the hero first, we wont be around for the saving of the
world. Theres plenty of time for us to learn the big picture.

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