Last Song Is A 2009 Novel English Literature Essay

SEMESTER JANUARY 11302

(MS. BHARATHI MUTTY)

Prepared by

:

Nurul Hedia Binti Dzulkifli

Matriks nmber:

Book

:

The Last Song

Date of Submission

:

21TH March 2013

Introduction

The Last Song is a 2009 novel by American author Nicholas Sparks. The Last Song is Sparks' fourteenth published novel (fifteenth published book), and was written specifically as the basis for the film adaptation by the same name. It contains 390 numbers of pages and its first international trade edition was published on September 8, 2009 by Jamie Raab, the editor at Grand Central Publishing which is a division of Hachette Book Group. Sparks participated in writing the film’s screenplay of the film version of The Last Song with Jeff Van Wie’s helps; which is his college roommate, to co-write the script. It was released in the U.S on March. With the help of his roommate, Sparks manages to finish the screenplay before he began writing the novel.

About the Author

Nicholas Sparks, the second child out of 3, was born in 1965 in Omaha, Nebraska. He excelled in school, graduating as valedictorian of his class and earning notice as a middle-distance runner. He was hampered by an injury during summer after his freshman year and that caused the declining of full athletic scholarship to Notre Dame. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Notre Dame in 1988 with a degree in business finance. A year after, Sparks settled down with his wife, Cathy. He has five children named Miles, Ryan, Landon and twins Lexie and Savannah. The Passing was the first novel Sparks had written but was never published. There are 17 books six of his novel was made into movies which is is Message in a Bottle (1999), A Walk to Remember (2002), The Notebook (2004), Nights in Rodanthe (2008), Dear John and The Last Song (2010), and Safe Haven is expected to start production in 2011 for a 2012 release.

Opinions

Frankly, I am not a ‘novelholic’ but I must say my first time reading Nicholas Sparks’ book has given me a huge impact. At first, when my mother gave me this book, I bet it has something to do with love and family issues. Even though the cover was not eye-catching but once you read, it will burst your heart. Like people say, never judge a book by its cover. I just loved how everything developed. It was simply blown me away like I was in those particular situations. I admire the way that Sparks takes me from the beginning until the end of it. The writer manages to ride my emotions from time to time. Everything was connected right at the end. Besides, I am a kind of sentimental reader, so I like to read something that will touches my heart and definitely real. Anyhow, what I love the most was when Pastor Harris mentioned to Ronnie about her father

"... I don’t think you realize how much he missed you, or how much he really loves you and Jonah. He was literally counting the days. When I’d see him, he’d say, ‘Nineteen days,’ or ‘Twelve days.’ And the day before you arrived? He spent hours cleaning the house and putting new sheets on the beds…" (Chapter31; page 319)

It puts the tears on my eyes when I read this, just because Ronnie’s father’s wish before he died was to spend the holiday with his children. This story keeps me awake and eager to know what will happen next. That is what I like about this book. I would like to give a special thanks to both my mother and grandmother for recommending this book. It is definitely a heart-warming book for teenagers. I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for an average-level book. Throughout the reading, you will feel something stir inside you.

Plot

The Last Song begins after the major action of the plot has already occurred, so the novel is actually told as a flashback. The story was set in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina during summer on the present day. Sparks use the place he lives to adapt on his novel. Moreover, the story is not told only from Ronnie’s perspective but also as the third person narrative, with the changes of perspectives from chapter to chapter. There is the mention of Christmas trees, as well as the fact that last month was November. This not only helps to establish the setting but also provides two important contrasts: the first is the contrast between this year and last year; it was last New Year’s Eve when a fire destroyed the church and the second is the contrast between summer and winter. The church stated on this novel was important physical locations because it gives a huge impact on development of Ronnie’s character.

"Still she hoped that someone new in town had stumble into the church this morning and experienced the same sense of wonder she’d had when she first seen the light flood the church on that cold day in November." (Prologue; page 1)

"She’d been awake for an hour, but she wasn’t ready to face the day. The holidays felt different this year. Yesterday, shed taken her younger brother, Jonah, for a walk down the beach. Here and there were Christmas trees on the decks of the houses they passed." (Prologue; page 1)

Characters

Veronica "Ronnie" Miller is the protagonist of The Last Song. She was progressing from a self-centred teenager who is mad at the world, especially her parents; to a thoughtful, mature young woman who finally learns the important of family, talents, and gifts. At the beginning of the novel, there is a mention about the Ronnie’s age. She was seventeen, so legally must abide by her parents' wishes. Ronnie has had been arrested because of shoplifting, but generally stays out of trouble. Her parents had divorced, and she can’t handle the situation very well and turns out to be rebellious and selfish person. Ronnie blame his father for abandoned her three years ago. After that, she quit playing the piano to get back at him, even though she is very talented. She also has not seen him even though her father came down to visit her and never replies his father’s letter. She take it too seriously and unable to address her anger towards her father. towards her father.

"…she was seventeen. Because of a trick of the calendar. Because Mom conceived three months earlier than she should have. What was that about? No matter how fiercely Ronnie had begged or complained or screamed or whined about the summer plans, it hadn’t made the tiniest bit of difference. (Chapter1; page 7)

Steve is completely an ideal father. Even though he is dying, he keeps his illness a secret and puts the wants and needs of his children above of his own. Steve demonstrates to his children, but significantly to Ronnie, what it means to love another. Though Ronnie took some time to understand her father’s words and actions, she finally had open her heart and eyes to see broadly, think maturely and accept the fact that everything happens for a reason and there must be a silver lining above all had already happened. Many questions remain about Steve's actions surrounding the divorce; about why he have to left his family, about why he have not confronted his ex-wife about her affair, and about why he don’t let Ronnie knows the truth. But just as Ronnie takes a journey of maturation, Steve is on his own journey; his quest is to find God.

Initially, Will Blakelee also appears to be too good to be true. He seems to have it all; good looking, athletic ability, a family of means, good friends, and a good job. But Will has secrets, and these good things are only what are on the surface. Will is privately dealing with various kinds of guilt: guilt about the untimely death of his brother; guilt about the origins of the fire; guilt about not acting on his knowledge; and guilt about not telling Ronnie the truth. He is admirable but by no means perfects — a well-rounded character.

Summary

The Last Song is the story of Ronnie Miller and the summer that she spends with her father at Wrightsville Beach. At the start of the summer, she is a rebellious 17 year old who resents her parents for their messy divorce; she is particularly annoyed that she is being forced to spend the summer with her estranged father, to whom she has not spoken in three years. She is so angry that she has abandoned the one thing that she and her father used to share in common — playing the piano. She has no desire to spend the summer in North Carolina; she has no desire to get to know Will Blakelee, the good-looking beach volleyball player who literally bumps into her during her first day in the South; and she has no desire to reconnect with the father who walked away from her, her mother, and her brother. However, a run-in with the wrong crowd combined with a nest of endangered loggerhead turtle eggs results in Ronnie's unexpected maturation. The summer she initially dreaded ends up being an opportunity for her to learn about faith, family, and love.

Personal Impression

The Last Song was Sparks’ phenomenal novel. The story is formulaic, but is imbued here with a great deal of life. The formula has each novel begin with a problem. A new player enters the playing field and it seems the problem will go away. This story is familiar. Whether you are a teenager or older, you understand the conflict between parent and child. This study documents fears, worries, and concerns about family issues expressed by 147 teenagers on a confidential questionnaire during consecutive initial visits to an adolescent medicine clinic in a university hospital setting. Studies shown that 28% reported conflicts in their home, 27% were having problems with their family, and 20% were concerned about their parent's relationship. It had covered 75%; more than a half of overall percentage. The data reported by adolescents on a confidential questionnaire had demonstrated a high frequency of stressful and anxiety-provoking family situations. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8775478; 12:18pm; 19/03/2013).

It is obviously shown that Ronnie’s parents estrangement give a tremendous effect on her behaviour especially her behaviour towards her father. She hasn’t spoken to her father since he left three years ago, and is far from happy to hear that she’ll be living with him. Ronnie arrives at her father’s in a foul mood, but soon begins to view her visit there as a gift rather than a punishment.

Ronnie is sent to her father's house for the summer with her younger brother Jonah, but she is determined to not have a good time and to spend as little time as possible with her father. Subconsciously, she wants to hurt her father in retaliating for his leaving, but Ronnie also has a sensitive, softer side, which she occasionally reveals. Ronnie moves toward maturity as the novel progresses. The Last Song is about growing up, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Only when she allows herself to accept help and criticism from others does she begin to change. But the maturation process is slow; it takes Ronnie the summer to learn this. She also learns the value of love and faith. Throughout the course of the summer, Ronnie learns from family and friends, who serve as a catalyst for her growth. She learns the value of communicating from Will; from her father, she learns that love is more of a verb than a noun; and she teaches herself that when you take time for other people, other people will take time for you.

In another sense, Steve is a symbol for God's love. Steve loves unconditionally, trusts in his children, and knows his children better than they know themselves. His words and actions model the essence of love. Just as Steve yearns for the presence of God in the world, not realizing that he was experiencing it during the summer with his children, Steve becomes a symbol of how to live your life, though Ronnie is also too blind to see it until the end. In a sense, Steve is an "Everyman" who is facing his mortality and trying to attain spiritual and emotional peace before he dies. His questions, uncertainties, and fears are those of all people, but particularly of those who realize that they will not be alive much longer.

There is a moment of irony when Ronnie discovers that Will was not avoiding her when he went away to school. He was giving her the gift of time, which was the best thing he could have possibly given her. When he comes back for Steve's funeral, Ronnie isn't sure whether he is giving her the brush off when he claims that he will call her after he returns home from Europe. Fortunately, Will surprises her in New York, demonstrating both a thoughtful and playful side, indicating that even though summers always come to an end, their love is enduring.

Sparks has now had nine number one books on the New York Times’ list with 50 million books in print and four movies. He continues to live in New Bern, North Carolina and set his novels in the state. The current novel is set on Wrightsville Beach near Wilmington, which is the center of television and film production in North Carolina. Sparks use the place he lives to adapt on his novel. The story was set in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina during summer; the summer Ronnie had been betrayed, arrested and fallen in love. Ronnie, the main character in this novel is stubborn and rebellious, who is quickly approaching womanhood without any plans for her life. She was trying to make her parents believe that she was old enough to do whatever she wanted. She was rude towards her parents especially her father but her father is patient and kind with her, and she starts to regret having pushed him away for so long.

Personal Impression