The novel The Notebook is dedicated to two lovers who were able to maintain their relationship with each other, despite all the hardships that stood in the way of their love. At first glance, it may seem that in his novel Nicholas Sparks raises a completely ordinary topic, which readers have encountered more than once. The problem of the relationship between an ordinary guy and a rich girl is touched upon by many writers. However, few of them manage to tell it as tenderly and sincerely as Sparks. Millions of people have read the story of an all-consuming love carried through the years, and the novel itself is one of the most highly regarded examples of the romance genre. This study will analyze how Nicholas Sparks manages to convincingly reveal the theme of bitterness and hope through the images of the book’s two main characters.
The touching love story of Noah and Ali made Sparks one of the most popular writers in the United States. Only a week had passed since the book was published in October 1996 before it became a bestseller and remained so for more than a year (Sudhakaran 733). The novel returned to this status after the release of the movie of the same title. The novel was inspired by the story of his wife Cathy’s grandparents’ relationship. These two people who loved each other lived hand in hand for sixty years. The author himself mentioned more than once in interviews that the characters in his books have prototypes in real life – they are acquaintances, friends, and relatives of the writer. One of the peculiarities of the author’s novels is that their characters live in small towns (Sudhakaran 733). This is due to the fact that the author himself comes from a little village.
Noah is the main character in the book, on whose behalf the story is told. He is kind and good-looking, but he does not have much money. He is the most impressive character in the book because he is incredibly driven and does whatever it takes to succeed, no matter what. Noah is incredibly romantic and hardworking but will never do things unrelated to nature or poetry. Then, of course, he is madly in love with the woman of his life, Allie. All these traits of Noah’s character attracted the girl herself so much that she chose him.
Allison is a young girl born into a privileged family. She is a bit flighty and used to living in luxury. Allie’s parents represent the most common high-society approach to life (Mandasari 203). In their view, people of a lower class cannot deserve any of their precious time. Only equals or those of a higher class deserve attention. However, Allie was not in any way influenced by this attitude; she was well-mannered, and she did not behave arrogantly. Her mother taught Allie that “status is more important than feelings,” but she thought “it was a terrible thing for a girl to learn” (Sparks 55). This quote demonstrates the heroine’s principled nature and her refusal to follow the attitudes dictated to her by society. In the novel, she is faced with the problem of choosing between the life her parents told her Allison should live and reconnecting with her soul mate, Noah.
This choice confronts her when she sees her lover after years of separation and must tell him one of two things. She can either say that she is engaged to someone else or that she wants to be together again with the guy from her dreams. Her parents’ contemptuous attitude toward poor people makes her somewhat hesitant about her choice. The main character is convinced that there is “no doubt they would disapprove” of her decision, but she has no intention of giving up on her love (Sparks 25). The importance of this phrase is that it demonstrates that the parents’ non-acceptance of the girl’s choice is not going to stop her. Eventually, Allie looked deep into her soul and found the only right decision – to be with the one her heart tells her to stay with – Noah.
However, the author’s denouement is hidden from the readers for a moment. The author brings the story to a point where Noah is already an old man. The hero managed to retain the youth of his soul — he is as romantic as ever. Noah is now in a nursing home where he reads excerpts from his diary to an older woman who cannot even remember her name now (Mandasari 203). She is immersed in the passion that Noah and Ellie had through the pages of the diary. The old woman is very ill; the disease destroys her memories and mind day by day. This is Noah’s wife, who bore him five children, who stood by his side in joy and in sorrow, and her name is Allie! She chose the madness of love between a secure life.
Nicholas Sparks tenderly and reverently describes the last days of these two who are still in love. The hero’s motivation to read the memory diary to his beloved is worth mentioning – he does so “in the hope that the miracle that has come to dominate his life will once again prevail” (Sparks 14). This quote demonstrates Noah’s devotion to Allie and his unwillingness to accept that another circumstance, namely the heroine’s illness, will again destroy their love. They were able to carry their pure, mutual, tender feeling through more than 50 years, raising worthy children and living their lives madly happy to have each other.
The main characters’ love persists despite the difference in their wealth, the standard of living, and life goals. Parental disapproval, war, letters that did not reach the addressee – all these circumstances could not prevent the two lovers from being together. Even the impending marriage of the main character could not be enough reason for Allie to forget Noah. Nicholas Sparks gives readers faith in a happy ending because love is capable of being stronger than all circumstances.
The novel’s central message, which deserves to be read by everyone, is that true love knows no boundaries. Nicholas Sparks has put into this novel something that cannot be described in words. That is the beauty of this book, which immerses readers in those beautiful emotions. The world of literature knows many stories of love, in which the events of heartbreaking choices are woven in, and the more genuine the story, the greater the impression it makes. The storyline of Nicholas Sparks’ book and the characters of the book’s main characters allow readers to understand more deeply the author’s idea of the eternity of love and its immense power. Despite all the hardships of life, the characters have hope, which they carry through the years.
Mandasari, Harisa. “The Struggle of Love as Reflected in Nicholas Spark’s the Notebook.” Jurnal Ilmiah Langue and Parole, vol. 1, no. 1, 2017, pp. 200-204.
Sparks, Nicholas. The Notebook. Little, Brown and Company, 1998.
Sudhakaran, S. “Literary Analysis of the Novel the Notebook by Nicholas Sparks.” Journal of Xi’an University of Architecture & Technology, vol. 12, no. 13, 2020, pp. 733-737.