Author’s Note: In this book I paid close attention to the wide range of symbols used and picked a few to explain after researching the meanings further. Please notice the use of a-b transitions and the comma usage.
He was gone, this I was sure of, though I forced myself to believe that there was still a sliver of hope. There was no such thing as miracles and deep down I knew what was happening; with that in a rush of anger I promised myself one thing. From this day forward, I’d never play the piano again, for every time I touched a key I would reminded of him: my teacher, my friend, my father. Not anymore. Left he had, and he had no right to be defined of any of those terms; each letter he wrote remained unopened stuffed away in the darkest corner of my closet, to remain unread for eternity. I hadn’t even got as far to read the what I expected upbeat greeting of “Hi Ronnie” that I had no doubt would be placed there, as if he had done nothing wrong. That was the day I turned away from music and family; resorted to disobeying and crime, trapping myself in a dark hole with no escape in sight. In Nicholas Sparks’ The Last Song we pay attention the great deal of symbols used within the text; the ones we notice if we read between the lines.
We open with Ronnie, a girl trapped in a place her parent’s mistakes had put her; she’s ruled by her own anger and hurt. She feels as if no one understands her and perhaps most importantly, betrayed. Her style reflected her hurt as her cheery tees and blue jeans were soon replaced with an all black ensemble. Black, a color that come to mean a restful emptiness, hidden, fearful, or by bad experience. This is exactly the kind of character Ronnie is immediately conveyed as through the authors words, where she was put by an awful time in her life. With this being said, I am lead to believe this is just what he wanted, so he could show how much she had transformed as the the story comes to an end; how much love can make everything seem okay again and give you the strength to forgive.
We now realize that the author didn’t throw some stuff into a book; that it actually took a great deal of thought, not just represented by colors, but by objects also. When they’re is a fire whether in real-life or within a book’s plot we don’t automatically think of happy times because instead we are filled with thoughts of danger or pain. This is the kind of fire Nicholas Sparks uses to express greater meaning than the ones revealed at the peak of the pages. Fire is known as the bringer of destruction, a symbol of chaos and war. It has the power to burn everything in its path and leave no person or thing with a second chance; behind it nothing remains, but ruins and charred earth. The author uses this symbol multiple times in his story. Once with a character, Marcus, a boy who cares of nothing but himself; a boy who plays with fire for a living and feels a rush with setting things of fire, watching them crumble with satisfaction. He’s the very person who makes life so much more difficult for our main character, Ronnie, and just about everyone surrounding her; though she’d never admit it, he scares her. Another involvement with fire would be the church: the very one her father had learned to play piano and practically grew up in, unfortunately was also lost by the tragedy of fire. With this conflicts arose, scars made, tears shed, and accusations spat; yet this was only the beginning of what was to come.
Fire is a symbol of darkness to many, but the other major component is the one that helps pull everyone together once again, the very one Ronnie is rebelling against, music. As Hans Christian Anderson once said, “When words fail music speaks.” This is often true throughout this book, especially with Ronnie’s father, Steve, who’s battling against more than you or me come ever imagine, music was his escape. As he sat down down at that bench, the pain went away, and when his daughter accused him of trying to convince her to play again, he hid the piano away. If she didn’t want to see it, she wouldn’t. Although he’s the one struggling through a matter of life and death, his children’s needs were more important. Each passing day he escapes to the church, half rebuilt and sits at the lonesome piano in the middle of wood and sawdust, attempting to compose a song, the last song he will ever write and despite his many years in the music business, it never came out just right. His days were coming to an end and Ronnie is struck with an intense need to do something for him, to show him she cares, she has forgiven him. It came to her then, she was going to finish his last song for him, if it were the last thing she did, and maybe just maybe she never has lost that passion for music after all. “Life is much like a song,” her dad realizes as he draws his last breathes, “In the beginning there is mystery, in the end confirmation, but it’s in the middle where all the emotion resides to make the whole thing worthwhile.” (Pg 374)
Every author incorporates the use of many symbols in their writing, though many overlook this fact, it’s all there, including in the exhilarating plot of Nicholas Sparks’ The Last Song. Why would they write in this color ink, why would this object show up suddenly? It’s not just because it was the first thing that popped into the author’s mind. These symbols not only hold the story together, but give us something to think about or perhaps even learn from. A tragic story about new beginning will be sure to get to every one's heart and have you thinking about if you’re truly living your life to the fullest. After all in the end, life is too short to be anything but happy.