"Look like a girl. Act like a lady. Think like a man. Work like a boss." ~Anonymous

Thursday, February 2, 2012

An Unwanted Letter

Author’s Note: In this essay I tried to stress how all books, though we might not realize it, were written for a bigger reason to tell amuse readers with a good storyline. I hope this will inspire readers to examine a book more closely, and really attempt to figure out how it is all connected. Please note the use of semi colons, colons, A-B transitions, and the research involved. 

You looked at her face, tears streaming down it and clutched the letter she had written to you, taking another step you attempt to take in all of the features you couldn’t bear forget; as you are boarding the plane, you didn’t have to look to know she gone. It wasn’t your decision, to leave, that is, but you made a commitment; you had to stick to it, no matter how much you’re wishing you could go back on it now. The army has left with some painful memories, and hurt, yet it was the best decision for you at the time, when you were lost; strayed far from the path chosen for you. Your first times apart, you’re amazed at how your love only seems to getting stronger, letters filled with love and passion, until one day it arrives. Another letter, though you wouldn’t think anything of it, as opposed to your usual upbeat conversations, until you read the first two words, the words that change everything: Dear John. Inside these pages, there’s not just a valuable story, but one that, under close examination, is all connected, one that some may remain oblivious to their whole lives as they continue on, mesmerized by Nicholas Sparks’s Dear John.

So how exactly does this whole puzzle fit together, the connections included unite? The answer is simple, they’re the two words are the first you read of the book, yet many will think nothing it. How many of actually know that there is such thing as a “Dear John” letter? No, it is not just a regular greeting, that some of you may even used to address and old friend, or perhaps a family member. It is commonly believed that these letters often started around the time of World War II, and for the purpose solely of ending long-distance relationships, most likely because the girlfriend/wife has found another lover. They were usually written because of the difficulty in just contacting them, but the unwillingness to do so face to face also plays a part. A typical letter you might receive from your lover while stationed overseas, might begin “My Dearest Johnny,” or “darling,” but if it begins straight to the point with “Dear John” a soldiers heart is instantly filled with dread. Now you might be asking well what if his name doesn’t happen to be John? Beginning with “Dear Christopher” instead of your usual “Dear Chris” works the same way, we just refer to it as a “Dear John” letter because of the overly simpleness of the name.

How exactly does this book tie into the letter a love struck soldier receives from his love; how can we be sure this letter is really a classic "Dear John" letter in which the author wanted to portray? Our first clue is obviously the greeting of “Dear John,” and after careful examination no other letter began exactly as this letter. "I am sitting at the kitchen table, and I am struggling because I don't know how to say what I'm about to tell you." (227) This is how the letter begins and tells us straight off that this wasn't easy for her, and shows us an image of her reading the words over and over, searching her mind for the perfect way to deliver this heart-breaking message. "So here I am, groping for words, and hoping you'll somehow forgive me for what I'm about to write ."(228) Here she suggests that the decision was difficult, and as we continue reading, we can note there seems to be no sign of negativity, it doesn’t suggest being friends, and perhaps most like the letters of our past, it is handwritten. “You’re rare and beautiful, John,” (228) she compliments him, reassuring him that he is a good man. Finally, as if not to be confusing, instead of her usual closure “Love, Savannah” it is instead replaced with “I’m so sorry-Savannah.” Furthermore, as often pointed out, just by the greeting soldiers instantly knew what they were about to read, and this passage proves this point, “She was in love with someone else, This I knew before I even started reading.” (233) All of the characteristics pointed out in the letter build up a great example of a “Dear John” letter, and from there I am lead to believe that this is exactly what the author wanted us to figure out.

Sure, we have proven that the letters of the past and the one included in Dear John were connected; the next step would be, what else is connected here? Just by the time difference to back in World War II, and the war in Iraq, we see the author wanted this to be a more current twist on the happenings of stories that built up America’s past. He wanted to stress the difficulty of overseas relationships, and how couples were usually bound to grow apart. Through a unique character, he tried to explain the pain and emotions that were pulsing through his veins as he read the two words that changed everything. It might seem like Sparks picked an common name out of nowhere. John, we all know, it nothing out of the ordinary, but I am willing to bet the author did this too for a reason. Another clue, I am forced to assume, to help us figure out the purpose of this book because while it seems reasonable considering you wouldn’t start a book Dear John if the character’s name was Logan, the reasoning to this natural habit, or so it seems, actually is much deeper than that. Just looking at the personality of the main characters we can also see the resemblance of those you might have lived back during World War II, the way they don’t have cell phones, and prefer handwritten letters to emails. All authors incorporate this into their writing, subtle or obvious, through symbolism, yet few actually discover how it all comes together.

Passion, love, betrayal, forgiveness are all major components that build up this remarkable book of Spark’s Dear John. Unexpected twist and turns make this book one emotional roller coaster. In the end we realize, the right decision isn’t always the easiest, and maybe it won’t even help us out, yet we do it anyway. We do it not because we were forced, but rather we want to, we do it because it’s that right thing, it’s as simple as that. A classic love story will hit home, and leave people thinking about their own lives; doing things not just for themselves, but for everyone around them.


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  2. Very emotional, I could read it over and over again. I especially love your third paragraph where you have the letter, but you tell us the meaning of every sentence. I can tell this book really meant something to you deep down inside. Your language arts skills and research was astounding. You are gifted in every way! Nicely done.

  3. This was an amazing piece! I love the beginning a lot because it made me feel like I was involved. I think this is my second favorite piece you've written, my favorite being the one about The Last ....