Analysis of The Notebook Essay
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The Notebook begins at a nursing home where an elderly man called “Duke” reads a love story that is written in a notebook to an elderly woman who is also a patient. The story is set in Seabrook Island, South Carolina where a local boy by the name of Noah Calhoun falls in love with a young heiress named Allie Hamilton. In order to get her to go on a date with him, Noah climbs up a Ferris wheel at the local carnival and threatens to jump off unless she agrees to go out with him.
Their first date is at the movies and ends with the two dancing in the street. The end of their date leads into a beautiful summer love affair where the two fall deeply in love with each other. Allies parents are dead set against the two young people being together; this is mainly due to Noah’s status (being poor) in the world. Eventually the two break-up and Allie returns home to Charleston with her parents.
Even though the two are apart they are still very much in love with each other. Noah writes a letter to Allie every day for one year; unfortunately Allies mother intercepts the letters and does not give them to her daughter.
Since neither one hears from the other they decide that they have no choice but to move on. Noah goes on to fight in World War II, while Allie goes on to college and then volunteers as a nurse who cares for wounded soldiers. During her time as a volunteer Allie meets Lon; a young lawyer who comes from old money. The two date for a while and then one night while out with her parents Lon proposes to Allie and she accepts. Even though she is engaged to someone else Allie still thinks about Noah. In the meantime Noah returns home from the war and sees Allie eating at a restaurant with Lon and catches the two of them kissing. Noah decides to go back home and restore the plantations house, thinking that if he can finish it then Allie will eventually come back to him. One day while searching for her wedding dress Allie sees a picture of Noah and the finished house in the paper. Allie decides that she must go back and see Noah. Upon her arrival the two talk for a while and then eat dinner. Later the next day he takes Allie for a boat ride out on the river and shows her the swans. On the way back it is storming and Allie finally asks Noah why he never wrote to her.
Here she finds out that Noah did in fact write to her and after arguing for a while the two ends up making love. The next day Allies mother shows up and gives her the letters that Noah had written all those years ago and tells her that she needs to make a choice. Eventually Allie chooses Noah and she breaks off her engagement with Lon. In the present we find that “Duke” is actually Noah and the elderly woman is Allie. The two have been married happily all of these years. The reason that Noah has been reading this notebook love story to her is because Allie has dementia and at times his retelling her the story helps her to remember. At the very end of the movie Allie asks Noah if he thinks that their love is strong enough to take them away together, meaning die together. He believes that it is and the two lie down on the bed wrapped in each other’s arms and die peacefully. I found this movie to be very touching, sad, and happy all at the same time. The way the two loved each other so fully and completely through everything is something that I believe is clearly lacking in today’s world.
Through most of the movie we find Allie holding her emotions in, fearful of hurting those that she cares about. We can see this when she finally concedes to her parents’ wishes and moves back to Charleston. We also see this when she accepts Lon’s proposal, not just because she cares and loves him, but because he is what her parents would have chosen (and approved of) for her. Another major place where we see this is towards the end when she is trying to make her decision on whom to be with. In each instance we find her extremely fearful of expressing her emotions. Another issue that we see through the movie is inadequate interpersonal skills. This is one of the hardest communication obstacles to overcome. This is because many people simple do not know how to express their emotions. While this can be seen with all the arguing that occurs between Noah and Allie; we also see it more subtly with Allie and her mother. This is because Allie and her mother never simply sit down and talk to each other about the issue of the relationship between Noah and Allie. Instead of explaining to Allie from the beginning how she felt and why she felt that way about the relationship she instead decided to yell and hide the letters that Noah had written.
Had the two learned to communicate better from the beginning it would have saved a lot of heartache. Through this movie we can also see the Socialization Theory at work. This theory talks about the different ways that men and women are taught to express their emotions. During this movie we see Allie’s mother hold her emotions in when it comes to anything other than he daughter’s actions. Anne is what would be considered the perfect southern woman. She does not express any negative emotions in public setting; instead she keeps them to herself. We can also see this with her father and how he ever so eloquently addresses Noah and his unhappiness with him seeing his daughter. In both respects Allies parents act emotionally how the upper class of southern society would expected to. This movie shows every aspect of a relationship, from the good to the bad. It shows that no relationship is perfect; they all have their ups and there downs. While many different elements of emotional communication can be seen, for me the concepts of fear, inadequate interpersonal skills and the socialization theory are the most appropriate. I believe that this movie can teach all people something about relationships.