Miss Garber suggests that they do an entire performance for the orphans. Jamie is excited by this, confiding in Landon that she wanted to do something special for the orphans this year. Jamie and Landon decide to visit the director of the orphanage, Mr. Jenkins, to discuss the idea with him. They walk to Landon’s home to borrow his mother’s car. Jamie is very impressed with the size and luxury of the house, which is much bigger than the one she lives in. Landon’s mother likes Jamie and tells her that she is welcome to visit anytime.Landon and Jamie reach the orphanage and wait on a bench in the hallway. She asks him what he plans to do with his life. He tells her he plans to go to college, and she replies that she prays for his success. Then she asks what he plans to do after college, and after he says that he doesn’t know, she tells him he should become a minister, because he is good with people. Landon does not take this suggestion seriously, but he gives her a polite answer. When he then asks her what she wants to do in the future, she replies that she wants to get married, with her father walking her down the aisle of a crowded church. She then speaks enthusiastically about the time she spends with the orphans.When they see Mr. Jenkins and explain their idea about the play to him, he does not think it is a good idea. The play shows a father who eventually realizes how much he loves his daughter. Mr. Jenkins does not want the orphans to be reminded of their own situation, without parents. After they leave Mr. Jenkins’ office, Jamie is sad that the idea didn’t work out, and Landon feels bad for her. He suggests they visit the children, thinking that might make her feel better. She agrees, and they go to the rec room together. Landon at first finds the sparseness of the surroundings depressing. But the children—they are aged five to twelve—crowd around them, happy to see Jamie again. Jamie and Landon stay for an hour, and when they leave, Jamie promises she will be back soon, although she does not say that Landon will be with her.
AnalysisIn this chapter Jamie shows some of her best qualities. She is perceptive. She sees things about Landon that he is unaware of himself. “Landon’s got a special heart,” she says to his mother, which may be true but probably no one else would have said that about him at this point in his life. She also points out, when she suggests that he should become a minister, that he is good with people, which again is something that has probably not crossed Landon’s mind. When Jamie sees the good in others, the effect is that they start to display more of that goodness themselves. Landon is starting to have a dim awareness that Jamie is in fact a girl who possesses a kind of transformative power. “She could twist you every way but normal,” he says after hearing her explain how much she loves working with the orphans. He feels guilty because in his own life he does nothing to help others. The guilt likely comes because in his heart he knows it is time for him to grow up, to behave more responsibly, but he still resists that inner voice.In this chapter also, Landon notices for the first time that Jamie, even though she walks around carrying a Bible with her all the time, is not so different from other people. She has her ups and downs just like everyone else. She is not always happy. He shows here that he is starting to see her for who she really is, not as someone he can apply a label to and dismiss.