A Walk to Remember: Chapter 3

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As the dance approaches, Landon hopes that Jamie won’t turn up in her usual old sweater and plaid skirt. The dance demands something a little more special. On the day of the dance, Landon puts on his best suit, borrow his mother’s car, and drives to Jamie’s house. Hegbert invites him in for a little chat, asking him to say something about himself. It turns out that Hegbert is suspicious of why Landon asked Jamie to the dance, and he wants to make sure Landon has planned no pranks to deliberately embarrass the girl. Landon assures him that is not the case, and is relieved when Jamie appears. She is wearing a blue skirt and white blouse and Landon has to admit that she looks all right. In the car on the way to the dance, Jamie tells him that her father thinks he is irresponsible, and he does not like Landon’s father or the rest of his family either.

 The evening is not a success, although it starts well enough. Jamie enjoys herself and loves the dancing. But things start to go downhill when Landon’s former girlfriend, Angela Clark, arrives, with her boyfriend, Lew, who is older than the others. Lew confronts Landon, accusing him of staring at Angela, and were it not for Jamie’s cheerful intervention, Lew might have hit Landon. Jamie has a knack of being friendly to everyone, which confuses Lew and defuses the situation. However, Angela gets drunk on two glasses of punch that Lew has spiked. She vomits in the bathroom, and Lew deserts her and goes home. Landon and Jamie clean up the mess in the bathroom and drive Angela home. It is now nearly eleven o’clock, and Landon takes Jamie home.

 She thanks him for the evening, saying that she had a good time, which surprises him, given what happened.

 Analysis

The pattern revealed in the first two chapters reappears yet again here: Landon fears Jamie will look dowdy, but she looks better than he expected; he doesn’t know whether she even knows how to dance, but she surprises him by showing him she is a “pretty good dancer.” Further, in her innocence she saves him from Lew, so as she prattles on about Bible school he finds himself a little in her debt and actually listens to what she is saying “at least with one of my ears.” Landon is astonished at how Jamie makes the best of everything. She shows a sweetness, a capacity to be friendly even to those who scarcely deserve it, a willingness to help someone in trouble (Angela), and an overall sweet, grateful nature that Landon simply doesn’t understand—yet.  Further characterization of Landon and his pals is provided by his interview with Hegbert, who fears that Landon and his friends may be setting Jamie up for ridicule. It seems that Landon has quite a reputation for immature behavior—in stark contrast to the maturity shown by Jamie in two difficult situations at the dance.

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