Two weeks into the rehearsals, in early December, Jamie asks Landon if he will walk her home. Still insisting to himself that he doesn’t like her, he nonetheless agrees to her request. As they walk, she asks him what he and his friends do on evenings when they go to the graveyard. He says they just talk, and she wonders whether he finds the place scary. He says he does not. He finds it odd that she would inquire about this, and he continues the conversation by asking her what she does most of the time. She replies that she studies and spends time with her father. When Landon says he imagines that she is excited about going to college next year, she says she doubts whether she will go. She dos not offer any explanation for this remark, which Landon finds strange, since she has excellent grades and he has heard she was excited about the prospect of going to a college called Mount Sermon.When Landon walks her home the following night, she asks him about his father, and he admits that sometimes he misses him, since he is not at home often. Jamie says she misses not having a mother. When the conversation turns to her father, she says that Landon will like him when he gets to know him better, something that Landon cannot imagine happening.The next night Jamie explains that she carries an old Bible around with her because it used to belong to her mother. Her mother had it with her in the hospital when Jamie was born. While Landon is still thinking of this, Eric and Margaret pull up beside them in Eric’s car. Eric as usual makes comments designed to embarrass Landon at being seen with Jamie, and his words have the desired effect on his friend. Jamie, however, does not notice Eric’s tricks and thinks he is just being nice.The following night is the last rehearsal for the play. Landon spends three hours with another boy named Eddy moving the props from the classroom into a rented truck and from there to the Playhouse. The rehearsal starts before he has a chance to eat, and he is in a bad mood. After the rehearsal he does not want to walk Jamie home but is persuaded to do so by Miss Garber. He is still in a bad mood and walks in front of her, without speaking. She tries to find out what is wrong, but he snaps at her, raising his voice. Then he is unable to stop himself, and he says some cruel things to her, such as he doesn’t want to spend time with her and does not consider her a friend. She looks hurt, and he continues on toward her house, walking five yards ahead of her. When they reach her home, she thanks him for accompanying her. He winces at her good nature.
AnalysisFor the first time, Landon realizes that he and Jamie may actually have something in common—the fact that they have both been raised by only one parent (Landon’s father is rarely at home). This is one sign that the gulf that separates them, which exists largely in Landon’s mind only, is starting to shrink. Although he still cannot share her religious faith, he at least learns why she carries her Bible around with her all the time, and this makes an impression on him. But obstacles still remain, and the author pointedly inserts a little scene with Eric and Margaret just to remind the reader that Landon still faces peer pressure, a kind of groupthink that has declared Jamie Sullivan to be a figure of fun.