Nicholas Sparks

First Chapter of The Notebook

In this essay, A.A. analyzes the first chapter of The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. This very first scene contributes to the meaning of the work as a whole, that the power of love is stronger than any obstacle.

Although brief, the very first chapter of the novel, The Notebook, is packed with importance. Despite being only five pages long, here Sparks introduces themes and motifs, sets the tone, and reveals important characteristics about two characters, Noah Calhoun and Allie Nelson.

The title of this chapter, Miracles, is significant in itself because it introduces the motif of miracles. Throughout the novel, different miracles occur. Each of those miracles involve either Noah or Allie, or both. Although this title does not allude to a specific miracle, one could assume that it has something to do with the only two main characters introduced so far: Noah and Allie.

The first lines of the novel are questions: “Who am I? And how, I wonder, will this story end?” These specific questions introduce a prominent theme in the novel: the theme of self-understanding. Throughout the novel, Noah and Allie will each search inside their souls for themselves when they are separated. Each of them struggle with the idea of not having one and other, but it is in these moments of doubt when they begin to value themselves.

The character of Noah Calhoun is introduced in this first chapter. Although there is no name stated in the pages, the lack of significant details about his life reveals his simple, common nature, and his dedication to the simple aspects of love. “I am nothing special; of this I am sure. I am a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led to a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough” (Sparks 2).Without a name or any major specifics, a reader already understands on page two that this narrator has once felt a deep, passionate love and is grateful for this love. Which is extremely true, because as Noah’s character is further developed, his devotion to and his appreciation of his time spent with Allie is revealed.

The motif of time is also introduced in this opening chapter. Details in the second paragraph reveal the narrator’s age, but more details later in the chapter reveal the affects of passed time on his life. Unlike the memories of love, humans grow old, and Noah reveals his struggles with these affects. “Time, unfortunately, doesn’t make it easy to stay on course. The path is straight as ever, but now it is strewn with the rocks and gravel that accumulate over a lifetime” (Sparks 2). This passage also adds to the theme of self-understanding found in this opening chapter.


The opening chapter of The Notebook also begins the character development of Allie. Because the details of Allie are told from the perspective of Noah, she is perceived as a sad, confused, and frail woman, but still having the love of a seventeen year old girl. The details about Allie reveal a lot about her character, as well as even more about Noah’s character.
Finally, the selection of detail in the first chapter develops the tone of the novel. Noah’s persistence in staying by Allie’s side, even with her not having any memory of him, shows his driven attitude and the loving, hopeful tone of the novel.

Although only five short pages, the very first chapter of Nicholas Sparks’ novel, The Notebook, is full of overwhelming literary significance. Themes and motifs are introduced, the tone of the novel is revealed, and the main characters’ roles begin to develop. Throughout the novel, the love story of Noah and Allie is told through a flashback, and it all begins with the very first chapter.

(A.A. 2014)

The Lucky One: The price of secrecy in a relationship.

June 2013. In this literary essay, H.S. will analyze Nicholas Sparks’ use of narration from the perspective of each character, in order to explore the potential of secrecy to either preserve or destroy a relationship.

Early in the novel The Lucky One, the reader is introduced to Logan Thibault, a former Marine, and one of the novel’s main protagonists. Logan is introduced as a wanderer, a man who survived two active duty tours in Iraq (against all odds), and is now traveling, by foot, from Colorado to North Carolina. His travels are centered around a photograph of a smiling young woman known to him as “E”; a photograph found during a night raid and the reason he made it out of Iraq alive while so many others lost their lives. After his final tour, he vows to find the mysterious woman, his guardian angel, and thank her.

Upon reaching the small town of Hampton, North Carolina, Thibault stumbles upon the Elizabeth Green, the woman in his picture. It is here that Sparks introduces the most important theme of the novel: secrecy. Elizabeth, known as Beth, discovers Logan in the office of her dog kennel/boarding facility and immediately assumes that he is looking for a job. Instead of explaining the true reason for his presence, Logan plays the part of an inquiring perspective employee and does not give a truthful explanation regarding his journey. Beth seems unsure of the stranger, and immediately judges him harshly when she finds out he was a Marine. Her brother died while serving in Iraq and the memories are still too new and painful for her to deal with. She tells Logan to leave and does not find out until the next chapter that her grandmother hired Logan as he was walking away.

“What brought you to Hampton?”[ Beth]
‘You, he thought. I came to find you.’ “It seems like a nice town, and I figured I’d give it a try.”[Logan]
‘…his story didn’t sit well and she heard mental alarm bells starting to go off’ (Sparks 74).

Logan decides not to describe the true story to Beth in the beginning of the novel because he feels incapable of rationally explaining the situation without alarming her. He feels that secrecy is the best option at the time in order to preserve the ‘boss to employee’ relationship. However, as the novel progresses, so does the relationship between Logan and Beth. They become attracted to one another, as the reader can see through the individually narrated chapters, and embark upon a fervent love affair. During this time, Logan attempts time and time again to tell Beth the truth about his identity, his past, and the reason for his trip to Hampton. Each time however, he is emotionally incapable of explaining to her the reality of his life and continues to live under pretense. His secret is not meant to hurt Beth, and seems to be forgotten until the end of the novel.

Throughout the course of the novel, Beth’s possessive ex-husband, Keith Clayton, trails Logan and eventually discovers the photo of Elizabeth in Logan’s house while illegally inspecting it. Keith then informs Beth of his discovery and fabricates a lie concerning Logan. He tells Beth that Logan is a lunatic drifter, that he does not love her and is, in fact, a threat to her safety. This is the second situation involving secrecy that Sparks weaves into the novel. Clayton knows that Logan is not a threat, yet he keeps this knowledge to himself and allows Beth to believe the worst about her lover. Whereas Logan kept a secret out of a belief that it would preserve his heartfelt relationship with Beth, Clayton intentionally keeps a secret to destroy another’s happiness.

Therefore, both situations, each concerning secrecy, can be examined in detail by analyzing the narration of each character. As the novel progresses it is obvious, in the chapters narrated by both Beth and Logan, that they care deeply for each other and would do nothing to harm the other. Logan wrestles internally with his secret, but does not treat it as a threat to his relationship. His secret seems rather harmless to him. Keith Clayton on the other hand wields the same secret as a deadly weapon used to destroy the relationship between his ex-wife and her new boyfriend. Sparks uses the first person narration of each of the characters to allow the reader to gain perspective from all sides. He also makes it clear that secrecy will most always lead to destruction, whether it is meant to be harmful or not.

(H.S. 2013)


Nicholas Sparks

The Guardian: The ability of humans to cope with sorrow and learn to trust others.

June 2103. In this essay, H. S. explores Sparks’ believable illustration of life’s trying situations to depict the ways in which humans react to grief and learn to overcome obstacles by trusting others. H.S. explains Sparks’ use of character description and first person, multi-sided narration to complete this task.

Nicholas Sparks begins his novel with a chapter long description of Jim Barenson, the ideal man and model husband. Jim is caring, genuine, faithful and deeply in love with his wife, Julie. He is one of the most important people in Julie’s life as he saved her from a life of homelessness and despair. However, only a few years into their marriage, Jim becomes terminally ill. Julie, having little to no connection with the family of her youth, clings desperately to the hope that her husband will live. Sadly, Jim is taken from Julie just a few months later and she is left alone in the world. Julie feels lost;
Jim’s dead, and now that he’s gone, I feel like I’m dead, too” (Sparks 7).
Sparks uses Julie’s traumatic life experience to depict sadness and despair, two feelings associated with grief that will be overcome throughout the course of the novel.

Sparks introduces the first example of a human’s journey to overcoming grief when he introduces Singer, a main character of the novel who also happens to be a Great Dane. It is Christmas and Julie is lamenting the loss of her husband when a package arrives and with it, a note from Jim. The note reads:

“I knew that you didn’t have anyone to help you get through something like this. Family, I mean. It broke my heart to think that you would be all alone. Not knowing what else to do, I made arrangements to get you this dog…And Don’t worry. From wherever I am, I’ll watch out for you. I’ll be your guardian angel, sweetheart. You can count on me to keep you safe. I love you” (Sparks 11).

The author uses this very powerful bit of dialogue, represented in the form of a letter, to help Julie feel comforted. This represents the way humans cope; they are comforted by other people, or in this case, an animal, a companion. It is also important to note that this section of the novel is narrated from Julie’s point of view, that is, the reader is experiencing Julie’s personal feelings while reading.

Fast forward four years. Julie Barenson is twenty-nine and has established a strong emotional bond with her dog, Singer. Time and the companionship of her dog have helped her broken heart to mend and she is ready to find love and learn to trust again. It is around this time that Julie meets Richard Franklin, a seemingly perfect man with everything to offer.
“… he smiled at the right moments…was good looking in an artistic sort of way, with sculpted cheekbones, emerald eyes, black hair, and a mustache”(Sparks 17).
Again, this description is from Julie’s point of view, although Singer’s disapproval is made clear as Sparks allows the dog to have human-like qualities, thus incorporating the animal into the multi-sided narration.

Seeking a new relationship is also a step in overcoming grief as Sparks points out. However, Julie does not feel a connection to Richard and instead pursues Mike Harris, a longtime friend of Julie and Jim who stood by her side in the years after Jim’s death. As her relationship progresses, Julie learns, through more character description as well as narration by Mike, Julie’s co-worker Andrea,(and even Richard), that Richard is a psychopathic murderer. Julie grows closer to both Mike and Singer as she learns to trust them and rely on each for her protection.

Through the use of character description and first person, multi-sided narration and point of view, Sparks is able to expose the ways in which humans handle sorrowful situations. Companionship, exhibited through Julie’s relationships with Singer and Mike, is based on trust and her feelings of security and comfort. Her failed relationship with the possessive, overpowering psychopath Richard, was based on the need to move on and let go of the past, but was unable to grow and develop because of the lack of trust. Each of these relationships was able to be explored through first person narration, and Sparks’ ability to use well versed and informative diction when describing, and exploring the personality of each character in the novel.

(H.S. 2013)


Characters Views, Love and Secrecy that Heal a Broken Heart. The Last Song
In this essay KM analyzes the use of different points of view and how it progress the story and adds further incite to the development of plot. Also how secrecy and love can break a heart and heal one, by analyzing Nicholas Sparks novel The Last Song.

Is it wrong to get close to someone while keeping secrets that might hurt them? In Nicholas Sparks novel, The Last Song, secrecy and love both play intricate parts. It is love that gives Ronnie the ability to form a relationship with her father and summer romance Will, but it is also love that breaks her heart when the truth is revealed. Sparks uses each chapter of The Last Song to narrate each character in the book. He progresses the novel through the different character views of events, thus letting the reader understand what each character is feeling. Sparks also uses the themes of betrayal and secrecy to show how love is the only thing that can heal a broken heart.

When Ronnie first arrives to spend the summer with her father, Steve, she is resistant and very angry with him. “I don’t want to see or talk to him”. Ronnie wants nothing to do with him this summer and just wants to go back and spend it in New York City with her friends. She does her best to avoid her father and anything having to deal with the subject of the piano.

After Ronnie and her dad get in a fight over the piano, Steve decides to put up a wall to hide the piano so Ronnie does not have to look at it. His son Jonah asks him, “ ‘Dad, I still don’t see why you wanted to put it up in the first place’ ‘Ronnie said she didn’t want to see the piano…there’s no place to hide the piano, so I put a wall up instead’”. Steve only put the wall up out of his love for Ronnie. Even though he cannot play the piano because of the wall he was willing to sacrifice this ability to try and please his daughter and to try to make her happy so that they can have a better relationship. By portraying Steve’s thoughts in his own chapter the reader is better able to understand Steve’s decision as to why he put the wall up and his reactions to it. Steve does not care that he cannot play it, he only wants his daughter to be happy.

In Ronnie’s chapter she reacts to the wall being put up. “ ‘Why are you being so nice to me?’ ‘Why shouldn’t I be?’ … because I haven’t been very nice to you”. Ronnie is able to recognize that her dad is trying his best to be nice and to do things for her, even though she has been nothing but mean to him. By reading her own viewpoint it is easy for the reader to start to see how Ronnie and her dad’s relationship is improving and how they are both noticing ways to become more comfortable with each other. By having the chapters switch back and forth between their viewpoints the reader is able to get to see both sides of the story from two completely different perspectives. This keeps the reader on their feet because the narration keeps changing. Thus the story evolves by catching the readers interest of not knowing what is going to happen next or whose view point they get to see it as.

As Ronnie’s relationship is improving with her father, she starts a relationship with another young man named Will. The more Ronnie and Will hang out the stronger their feelings grow for one another. Will “stared at her, knowing with certainty that he was falling in love”. Just as things seem almost perfect for Ronnie her dad is hospitalized and she receives the truth about her father’s health condition. Steve has terminal cancer and had his children come visit so he could spend his last summer building a relationship with them. Steve knew his children were scared and knew “it was time to stop lying; and time to tell the truth”.

In Ronnie’s chapter she struggles with the truth that her dad is actually sick. Only her new found love for her father has made her realize how upset she is over his cancer and that she actually does love him. “ She remembered the day she’d arrived at his house and the anger she’d felt toward him… she’d hated him then and loved him now”. It is the secrets of her father who she loves that has lead to her heartbreak. Perhaps if Ronnie did not love her father now she would not feel the same heartbreak she does now.

When Will finds out about the cancer he feels he has to admit him and his friends guilt about the fire at the church. Wills love for Ronnie and respect for Steve make him want to do the right thing and tell the truth so that Steve is no longer blamed. When Pastor Harris stops by the house and checks on Will, Jonah and Ronnie trying to finish Steve’s stained glass window for the church, Will finally feels the need to tell Ronnie the truth. “He thought of the pastors words and the possibility that Ronnie’s dad might not even live to see the window installed…he felt something collapse inside of him… ‘There’s something I need to tell you’”. Will’s love for Ronnie and guilt make him admit the mistake him and his friends made that night. Ronnie does not take this lightly and refuses to forgive Will. “I don’t trust you, Will. You need to go”. Ronnie ends things with will because of the betrayal she feels Will and his friends have done to her father. Yet again Ronnie suffers another heartbreak and is left suffering.

Once Ronnie’s dad passes, there is a funeral service for him. At the service Ronnie runs into Will who promises to call her once he is back from Europe. This statement gives Ronnie hope that Will might one day come back into her life, but she still feels down and very upset about the whole situation. When Will surprises her by showing up in New York Ronnie can hardly believe herself. “I never stopped loving you, Ronnie. And I never stopped thinking about you. Even if summers do come to an end”. Will loved Ronnie through the entire break up and it is his love now that is allowing Ronnie to heal and recover from her loses. Will’s love has healed her.
The Last Song is a very relatable story of an angry teenager who falls in love and rediscovers her passion for piano and her love for her father. With tragedy comes wisdom and maturity for Ronnie who realizes what she really wants in life. Her summer with her father has made her a more down to Earth and better human being. I loved the style the book was written in by changing chapters from character to character. It kept the story fresh and the reader entertained. Even though the book was fairly long it was easy to read and is a book a reader is not going to want to put down. Sparks details and emotions involve the reader in the characters lives and gives the book a very realistic feel.

Sparks use of different character points of views and the themes of love and secrecy display how love for one another is the only thing that can fix a broken heart and keep people going. In the end Ronnie was able to build a relationship with her father, fall in love and be healed through her relationship with Will. (KM 2012)

How Internal Conflict Can Haunt Your Decisions. Dear John.
In this literary criticism K.M. depicts how love for someone can affect decisions and cause internal conflict and regret by analyzing Nicholas Sparks book Dear John.
Inner conflict affects everyone. No matter where you are or what you are doing it can attack and stick around with a lingering presence. It is an issue that only a single individual can solve. No one else can decide you own fate except for you; and this is a life lesson that John Tyree found out the hard way. In the novel, Dear John, by Nicholas Sparks, John Tyree experiences a whirlwind of emotions based on his life altering decisions. The internal conflict he experiences leaves him haunted by not knowing if he made the right choices. Nicholas Sparks uses foreshadow, separate sections of John’s life, and repetition to convey how John is haunted by past decisions that he cannot fix.

In the prologue of the novel, Sparks introduces John Tyree who falls in love with Savannah Lynn Curtis. As John briefly shares some memories of him and Savannah he seems distraught and upset with himself. “I’ve been burdened by questions I’ve asked myself a thousand times since the last time we were together. Why did I do it? And would I do it again?” This line not only foreshadows the end of John and Savannah’s relationship, but it foreshadows the regret and emptiness John is to feel by decisions that he has made. By asking himself why he ended it, over and over again, he is only bringing up his own internal conflict and regret for decisions he has made. John is left wondering what possessed him to make these decisions, which the reader will soon find out.

Part 1 of Spark’s novel represents the falling in love and memorable times that Savannah and John experienced over a brief two week period during the summer. Their love was not intentional but a mere accident. When John first gets invited over to hang out with Savannah and her friends he does not think much of it. “I had no desire to start something I couldn’t finish. I was leaving in a couple of weeks, and none of this would amount to anything”. John realizes the reality of the situation and that he really only has a couple of weeks to spend with Savannah at best; but soon his emotions blur his vision of reality as he chooses to continue his relationship with Savannah while he is overseas.

In part 2, John and Savannah struggle to keep their relationship afloat. In this part of the novel the reader experiences both points of views of John and Savannah. Savannahs letters to John depict her reciprocal feelings for John. When Savannahs learns that John has chosen to serve another tour overseas, all hope seems to be lost for the survival of their relationship. The tone of Savannahs letters start to change and she seems almost disconnected without emotions. Her letters to John are coming less and less frequently, until she writes her final letter. In her final letter Savannah includes, “part of me hates me, writing this letter forces me to acknowledge that, and when I look in the mirror, I know I’m looking at someone who isn’t sure she deserves to be loved at all”. Savannah feels conflicted breaking things off with John because she realizes all that John is going through with the war and reinlisting. Savannah truly loves John and does not want to upset or hurt him by ending their relationship. She’s left feeling that she might not even deserve love for the betrayal she has inflicted upon John.

Part 3 leaves John with many important choices to make. After he deals with his father’s death, John drives down to North Carolina to see Savannah. When John learns that Savannahs husband Tim is sick with a possibly deadly form of skin cancer, Tim realizes that Savannah deserves to be happy if he is to die. Tim tells John, “Don’t forget Savannah if anything happens to me. And promise that you’ll always treasure her the same way I do”. John is now conflicted with his desires for Savannah or to help Tim live. If John wants Savannah he could sit around and wait for Tim to die then come in and scoop up Savannah and live happily ever after. Seeing the bigger picture, John realizes that if he truly loves Savannah then he should “want nothing more than for her to be happy in life”. Therefore John must leave Savannah and Tim to be alone and to enjoy the rest of their time together. “Saying good-bye was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Part of me wanted to turn the car around and race back to the hospital, to tell her that I would always be there for her…But I didn’t”. John’s love for Savannah has allowed him to make the ultimate sacrifice of his own happiness to assist hers. Even though goodbye was harder than war for him, John found a way to overcome his grief and desire to turn around and go get Savannah back. John did the right thing by not breaking up a marriage, even though his own happiness and wants were sacrificed.

Nicholas Sparks’s epilogue in Dear John is the most heartfelt definition of love I have ever read. John finally understands what true love really means; “Tim had told me- and shown me- that love meant that you care for another person’s happiness more that your own, no matter how painful the choices you face might be”. John sells the only possessions that his father and he had a real connection over. He donates the money from his father’s coin collection anonymously to Tim’s account for his treatment. This donation allows Tim to be in a clinical trial for a new treatment, which works and cures him.

As John is sitting on the hilltop watching Savannahs house it is a reflection of the same place he is sitting at the same time he was sitting there in the prologue. This repetition of the same spot allows the reader to foreshadow the end of the book and that John has overcome some of his internal conflict that he seemed so upset over in the prologue. The familiar setting allows John to conclude the story without Savannah by his side. “I’d come because I needed to know that I made the right choice in selling the coins for Tim’s treatment, that I’d done the right thing in never contacting her again, and from where I sat, I knew that I had”. Through John’s internal conflict and heart ache over Savannah his mind just needed to know that he had helped make Savannah happy by saving Tim.

When he is sure Savannah is happy, he must stay to finally know if Savannah loves him. When John finally sees Savannah emerge from the house to stare up at the full moon as the tradition of their love is John finally feels content. For John he is finally happy, “and for the briefest instant, it almost feels like we’re together again”. Even though John does not have Savannah he knows that she truly still loves him and that what they had was real, which is enough for him.

Although Dear John displays the struggles of internal conflict two lovers go through over a period of events, it is also the most profound and passionate love story I have ever read. Sparks does a remarkable job at displaying all the emotions the John and Savannah have for each other. Even though I love a happy ending and wish they somehow could have ended up together, the fact that they did not had an even more powerful effect. The sacrifices that they both make for each other show the true connection they share and the enormous amount of love that they have for each other. I would recommend this book to everyone and would not change any part of it.

Even thought Dear John has recently been made into a motion picture, the movie does not even compare to the emotions the reader feels while reading the book. Sparks displays the internal conflict that haunts John through foreshadow, separation of John’s life and repetition of events. I will never forget this book and what it states as the true meaning of love. (KM 2012)

Attaining the Connection to Human Emotions. Dear John.

In this literary criticism M.S. explores the skills it takes an author to connect with the human emotions of his or her readers by analyzing Nicholas Sparks book Dear John.

The most memorable memories are the ones that have the most intense of emotions. The most memorable songs are the ones that people can listen to and relate to what the artist is singing about. Nicholas Sparks uses this to his advantage in all of his books, but more specifically Dear John. He uses diction and descriptive imagery to touch his readers emotions which is what keeps the books pace as well as keeps the readers interest. His characters say things that we as a population usually keep to ourselves, and in many cases should not.

Sparks breaks the book up into three parts, and each part is a different section of John’s life. The sections can symbolize anyone’s life, the different stages a person goes through in the journey of life. In the prologue, Sparks foreshadows what is to come later on in his life using nature. “beyond her, the horse pasture shimmers like a green ocean, and she passes through the gate that leads toward it.” The fact that he used green ocean to describe where she was was important. Their most precious memories took place at the beach and just in that sentence in the prologue the reader can predict without it straight out saying it that John cares about this girl.

Part one was the part that built up their relationship. From the time John and Savannah first laid eyes on each other to the time John went on leave, Sparks built an extremely believable story of two young people falling in love. The language in this part is extremely light and exciting. As John stole Savannah away from her other guy friend, Sparks again relates him to nature. “Randy, meanwhile, was content to hang out with Brad and Susan as the third wheel, licking his wounds.” In Part I Sparks uses many scenes to show the gradual closeness that the two characters were feeling towards each other. Just as any human relationship they started off just talking and as the story went on they shared more of a personal connection. Sparks made sure to let the reader know what John was thinking at all times, which gave the reader a more personal connection to the characters. After John told Savanna that he loved her, he thought “In all my life, I’d never been as sure of anything, and as much as I hoped to one day hear Savannah say these words to me, what mattered most was knowing that love was mine to give, without strings or expectations.” Sparks used particular word choice and focused in on one of the strongest emotions that all people hope to feel.

The first part of the book focused on the happy and exciting times in Johns life. But like anyone’s life, there are significant downs for all of the ups. Sparks makes a comment on how high a person can feel in life without feeling the exact same low in the second part of Dear John. He smoothly transitioned the point where John and Savannah started to grow apart once he left to serve in the military. One of the most emotional parts of the book is when Savannah tells him about her internal struggle between missing him and longing for him to come home VS the importance of why he was away. The way Sparks managed to put her emotions into words was incredible. Any reader male or female could feel what she was feeling right in that moment. By building the character of Savannah as closed person emotionally, the reader could feel how big of a deal it was that she was saying this to him. This is another way Sparks triggers the readers emotions. Having a character act out of character brings attention to the scene as well as make the emotions more believable. Much like a good song or a favorite movie, being able to relate to something in a book makes the reader feel more connected, maybe even take a lesson or two from what the author is trying to get across.

The saddest people I’ve ever met in life are the ones who don’t care deeply about anything at all. Passion and satisfaction go hand in hand, and without them, any happiness is only temporary, because there’s nothing to make it last. I’d love to hear your dad talk about coins, because that’s when you see a person at his best, and I’ve found that someone else’s happiness is usually infectious.” This lesson on passion is important to the book as a whole. It is a passage that once the reader has read he or she often finds themselves contemplating what was just read. Sticking this passage in the book applied to the context of the conversation, but there was also an underlying message that the author, Sparks was trying to get across. This is another way that Sparks connects with the readers emotions. Touching on a subject such as passion, or lack there of passion in a persons life can certainly get the individual evaluating if they want to have such a passion in their own life.

Another important aspect about the book to mention that Sparks handles very well is the part about 9/11. Their story is incredibly easy to relate to. Any American who has a loved one who is fighting in Iraq can relate to how hard the distance can be, how strenuous it can be on a relationship. Sparks did not focus on the tragedy of the day, more so the aftermath effects on Americans, which was just as difficult. Savannah represented all of the Americans home waiting, and John, all of those soldiers that went over anxious to defend their county. “Still what we needed together was time. Time alone. If our relationship was a battery, my time overseas was continually draining it, and we both needed time to recharge.” Part I was full of joyful and fresh metaphors, however even before John left for Iraq, the metaphors and adjectives in Part II were much less uplifting. This prepared the reader for what they knew was bound to come.

Part II of the book basically offers the reader from the perspective of both sexes, what can go wrong with a long distant relationship. Part III offers Johns way of dealing version of dealing with it. After his dad dies and his time in the army had come to an end he was left with no one but his memories of a love he once had. The twist at the end of the book of Savannah being married to Tim and then three years later Tim getting cancer was just another way to connect with the readers on an emotional level. Although the ending was not realistic or believable, the raw human emotion dealing with the longing to be with someone and the death lingering over each characters head is extremely overtaking.

Many of Sparks books were made into movies, however these movies make it impossible to appreciate what he does best. In his book Dear John, Nicholas Sparks uses words to put emotions down on paper, a skill that is not easily mastered. He gives the reader a chance to live through his characters, an accurate portrayal of how a male and female would react to certain situation. (M.S. 2008)


Two sides of human nature, how they are developed, and how they deal with grief. The Guardian.

In this paper M.S. analyses the importance of the motif of the human like characteristics of Singer the dog, which Sparks uses to contrast the dark side of human nature with the brighter side, as a well as make a statement on how the two deal with their grief.

Nature VS nurture is a debate that will be on going for years to come. In the book The Guardian, this topic unexpectedly comes into play. Are people born with certain personality traits such as aggressiveness or free will or is it the environment around them that builds it? In The Guardian, Sparks uses the motif of Singer to get the reader thinking about the good and bad sides of human nature, and what causes a person to act the way they do. Singer also reminds the reader of the different ways different people tend to deal with grief.


The Guardian is one of Sparks more serious books. It is not based upon a love story, although of course there is one in it. Julie the main character has a rough childhood, but made something of herself in adulthood, marrying Jim. They have a happy marriage until Jim gets a terminal illness and dies. Before Jim dies, he wrote Julie a letter that was to be given to her after he had passed away. The following is an excerpt from the letter that ends up being of great importance later on in the book.


I guess I always knew in the back of my mind that I wasn’t going to make it. I didn’t want to think about it, though, because I knew that you didn’t have anyone to help you get though something like this. Family, I mean. It broke my heart to think that you would be all alone. Not knowing what else to do, I made arrangements to get you this dog…And Don’t worry. From wherever I am, Ill watch out for you. Ill be your guardian angel, sweetheart. You can count on me to keep you safe. I love you.”

This passage helps set up what Sparks does in the following chapters. The next part of the book takes place four years later. Sparks walks the reader through a typical day with Julie and her dog Singer. What is easy to pick out right away is the human characteristics that Sparks gives Singer. The way Sparks describes Singer waking up in the morning “found his legs” “Singer wined like a pouting child”. Sparks also gave the dog somewhat of a dialogue. After reading the letter from Jim, and reading about the human characteristics that Sparks gives Singer, although it is never stated, it is as if Jim is living with Julie through Singer.


What is important to mention about a structural part of this book is the differences between certain thoughts and dialogue. Any thought that Sparks thought the reader should focus on is italicized. Even though Singer is a dog, Sparks gives him thoughts which are just the same italicized like any of the other humans in the book. As if to say that the thinking of this particular dog were at the same level as the rest of the human characters in the book.
One of the most important themes of this book is grief and how different people deal with it. The next character that must be analyzed before proving the thesis is Richard. Sparks does an excellent job of using language to slowly reveal to the reader how deranged Richard ends up being. The book interchanges between first and third person, however it swaps between characters. This gives the reader the advantage of knowing what Richard is thinking while he is doing something as well as what the other characters think about him and how they react to his actions. On the outside Richard seemed like a perfect bachelor. So from the perspective of Julie in the beginning she spoke very highly of him. Until Julie started to fall for someone else the only perspective of Richard the reader saw was Julies. The language in the very first passage describing where Richard lived revealed a completely different side of him. “In the darkness of the Silver moon, Richard approached the front door of the rented Victorian he temporarily called home…The house was pale in the light, half the height of the shadowed pines surrounded it”. The darker diction that is used to describe his house carries on when he reveals his childhood. His flashback goes grave detail about how his mother and himself had been abused by his father as a child. What is strange about this section is that revealing such a personal and sad experience to the reader would usually build some kind of sympathy for Richard. However the language leaves quite the opposite tone. When the information is given that Richard’s father died, it is quite obvious that his death is not an accident. But since Richard and his mother had so many bruises the police did not look too much farther into it.


Julies background is also important to know. Her mother abandoned her in the prime of her youth and she lived on her own for a good portion of her life. She never had a person truly love her until she met her husband Jim. When he died he left Singer behind as a part of him. What is interesting in comparing Julie and Richard is that their childhoods seem oddly similar. Julie even says to herself when she is getting to know Richard that “Richard knew what it was like, and she felt an emerging kinship with him, the kind visitors to a strange country might feel upon discovering that the people at the next table come from a town in their some state.”. Although they had somewhat of the same childhood, the two of them handled their grief in much different ways. Julie moved on with her life and made something of herself. And Richard never gets to that stage of dealing with his grief. He never lets go of the fact that his wife left him. Instead of moving forward mentally he came to a dead stop. Richard ends up being a unbalanced stalker of Julie that is revealed to the reader slowly as the book goes on. He felt the need to have control over his situation, and to have control over himself he needed to have control over another human being. In his case he ended up picking Julie.
Sparks does an excellent job of getting the reader in the state of mind that this criminal was in. “ He had learned from that experience. He’d despised his father as Julie has despised the men who’d moved in and out of her life. He hated his mother for her weakness, just as Julie hated her own mother’s weaknesses. But Julie was trying to make peace with her past by reliving it.” Although this is completely false, this is the way that he manipulated his situations and the actions of others.
Since Richard and Julie had the same past, it is evident that Sparks believes that a person is born with certain personality traits. He uses their common ground to contrast the brighter side of human nature to the darker side.


Sparks cleverly uses Singer to get the reader thinking about this topic. Singer and his humanlike aroma is only brought up in the book when Richard and Julie come in contact. Singer never liked Richard from the start. When Richard came to pick up Julie at her house for their first date, he growled. Julie calls Singer “jealous”, which at the time in humorous. But time after time, it is the fact that Singer does not like Richard that begins to reveal the darker side of him to the reader.


In the end Singer ends up protecting Julie from Richard. When she figured out he was stalking her she fled for her life. When he found her, it was Singer that attacked him and got shot in the process. He ended up being her guardian angel. (M.S. 2008)