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Free Study Guide - The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

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THE NOTEBOOK BY NICHOLAS SPARKS

LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTING

New Bern, North Carolina, 1932, 1946, and the present day at Creekside Extended Care Facility


CHARACTER LIST

Major Characters

Noah Calhoun
The narrator of the book and the main character, Noah is a good and kind man who fell in love with Allie fourteen years before the novel opens. He has never forgotten her and is overwhelmed with how much he still loves her when she returns to tell him she is engaged.

Allison Nelson
A young woman who comes from a privileged family, she spends a wonderful summer with Noah when they are young, but is forced to leave when her parents disapprove. She meets Lon and becomes engaged to him, but something in her makes her return to Noah to be sure she is not making a mistake.

Lon Hamilton
He is Allie’s fiancé, who fights for her in the end, but is too late. He has allowed his career to disrupt any hope he may have had to win her for himself.



Minor Characters

Morris Goldman
A Jewish man who hires Noah for eight years in his scrap yard and leaves him part of his assets as an inheritance, which then allows Noah to restore his house.

Gus
He is the black man who lives down the road from the house Noah has restored. He becomes Noah’s only family until Allie returns.

Anne Nelson
She is Allie’s mother and had so disapproved of her being with Noah that she had never delivered his letters to her daughter. She comes to warn them that Lon is on his way to confront them both, and she finally gives Allie the letters. When she leaves, she whispers to Allie that she should follow her heart.


CONFLICT

Protagonist

The protagonists are Noah and Allie. They are very much in love, but nearly lose each other because of societal influences. They ultimately find the courage and the strength to be with each other as life soul mates. Unfortunately, nature deals them a bad hand at the end of their lives when Allie is struck down with Alzheimer’s disease. It is only Noah’s great love that draws out her own and keeps them together.

Antagonist

The antagonists are Allie’s parents who don’t think Noah is good enough for their daughter and Lon, who neglects the woman he loves by prioritizing his career ahead of her. In the end, they have no power to keep these two soul mates apart.

Climax

The climax occurs when Noah, having had a stroke and eighty years old, reads Allie’s final letter again and is reminded of the promise she made when she found out she had Alzheimer’s: she would try every way she knew how to overcome the disease and be with him in the end.

Outcome

Noah goes to Allie’s room late at night even though he is chancing a panic attack when she awakens. He means only to leave a poem under her pillow, but instead kisses her passionately. This causes her to awaken and recognize Noah, glad that he has come back to her. Their passion continues and Noah says they begin to slip toward heaven. This is such a vague ending that it’s possible to believe that they die there together once more just as Allie had promised.

 

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