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A Walk to Remember essay writing tips

Nicholas Sparks' 1999 novel A Walk to Remember, later made into a successful film, is often chosen as a subject for essays. The protagonist of the story is Landon Carter; it is narrated from his viewpoint, looking back decades later. It tells how his life was changed by his relationship with Jamie Sullivan, an unpopular and extremely religious girl, whom he initially looks down on but eventually falls in love with. It deals with the reaction of his friends and Jamie's minister father, his feelings on discovering that she is dying of leukemia and the changes he experiences. Here are a couple of tips if you're planning an essay on it.

Identify Landon's motivations during his relationship with Jamie. It initially began when Landon, who comes from a wealthy family and is the most popular boy in school, was elected as school president and needed a partner to take to the ball. As no other girls were available to go he reluctantly asked Jamie. During the ball, though, she stood up for him when he was threatened by another student and he admires her courage. After she asks him to take part in the school play with her, and then to walk her home after rehearsals, he is mocked by his friends and feels embarrassed to be seen with her. However she gradually introduces him to her interests, mostly charitable ones, and finally he falls in love with her. When he tells her this she announces that she is dying. Landon eventually marries her, fulfilling her greatest dream. Although fulfilling that dream seems to be Landon's motivation for marrying her, though, he narrates that forty years later (and presumably long after she is dead) he still loves her and wears her ring.

What changes occur in Landon? Early in the novel he looks down on Jamie for her social status; her family are much poorer then hers, and she dresses unfashionably, carries a bible everywhere and has no friends. Later, though, he sees through this (which he wasn't capable of doing before) and learns to appreciate her character. At first he never looks at the bible except when he has to go to church, but when he realizes Jamie is dying he turns to it for guidance on what to do.

Does the book add anything new to literature? Although extremely popular, some critics have stated that the novel is formulaic. Does it say anything that hasn't been said before or is it simply a retelling, albeit well done, of a predictable redemption story?

Hopefully these tips will help in writing an essay on the novel. It does have the potential to be turned into an interesting discussion, whatever its literary merits.

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