A Walk to Remember is an emotional coming-of-age film. I chose this movie to do my review on since it’s one of my favorites and I really enjoy it. The story surrounds a teenage boy Landon, who is rebellious and constantly getting into trouble. After a prank gone wrong, Landon is given the option of tutoring students and being involved with different school clubs or expulsion. He chooses tutoring and here he meets Jamie. Jamie is known as a goody-two-shoes, and is also the daughter of a minister. Jamie is very plain and often not noticed by most of her classmates. Landon struggles to memorize lines for the school play and enlists the help of Jamie. Jamie and Landon slowly start to fall in love and begin dating. After some time, Jamie decides to tell Landon that she has Leukemia and the treatment is no longer working. Landon is heartbroken but, stays by her side even building her a telescope. After school ends the two get married and spend the summer together, not long after Jamie dies. The movie ends with Landon thinking about Jamie and saying “Our love is like the wind…I can’t see it, but I sure can feel it.” (Sparks,1999).
The film relates to several different concepts we learned in the course. A big part of the film really showcases Jamie’s faith especially since her dad is a minister. Her religion and faith really allows her a coping mechanism when her Leukemia is no longer treatable. In our lectures we learned that there are two different types of sickness; disease and illness. The difference is that “disease is the biological/physiological malfunctioning or the clinical perspective.” This is a measurable condition such as having a cough/fever or a broken arm. “Illness is the experience and perception of disease; within the sociocultural context; including spirituality and religion.” (Gabriel,2016). Jamie copes with leukemia using her spirituality and faith in to get her through her disease. In a way it’s almost as though she tries to live her life without having an illness. Illness has more to do with psychological/religious imbalance and Jamie has a healthy amount of spirituality. Although at certain point she is hospitalized, she retains her faith in god to keep herself grounded. Jamie seems pretty healthy from a psychological standpoint given her outlook. She keeps busy doing positive activities like looking at the stars, acting in the school play, and tutoring. This isn’t to say Jamie’s not afraid of dying but, she has positively accepted her future and utilizes it in a positive manner. I definitely feel her spirituality, Landon, and her father play a key role in helping her cope.
In “Ebola Took Her Daughters and Made Her an Outcast,” I felt that although the article doesn’t discuss cancer, many points were similar. One line that really stuck out to me was: “It’s a disease that doesn’t just strike down healthy adults in their prime and decimate entire families. It’s a disease that sows a paralyzing fear through the wider population[…].” (Aizenman, 2014). Even though Aizenman is discussing Ebola, I felt that it was very similar to cancer. Cancer affects everyone, small children to the elderly. I definitely feel that we also treat people with cancer/cancer survivors much differently than we should. We often associate them as weak, frail, and bald from chemotherapy. No, we don’t recoil with disgust every time we walk past someone who has cancer. However, I think we put cancer patients in this cliché category and they are forever known as having cancer define them. Why do we allow people to be defined by their disease? In A Walk to Remember Jamie wanted to have as normal of a life as possible. It’s quite possible she waited to tell Landon about her cancer so he wouldn’t use that to define her. Jamie lived a very normal life in the film, I really liked how the whole film wasn’t her just laying in a hospital bed. Instead, it was a more realistic approach into the normalness of living with cancer and while there are realistic hospital scenes, there is more to the film than Jamie being sick.
I think this film would be a great addition to ANP 370, overall it really masterfully shows the importance of spirituality when coping with disease. It also shows how cancer did not define who Jamie was. In fact, the cancer was only mentioned a few times during the whole film. Jamie lived a loving and full life to the best of her ability. She got to experience being in two places at the same time, Landon built her a telescope, named a star after her, Jamie acted in the school play, etc. She was very active for most of the movie and I really liked that she was portrayed as a normal girl who fell in love.
Sparks, Nicholas. A Walk to Remember. New York: Random House Large Print, 1999.
Gabriel, Cynthia. “Lecture 1.1 Culture, Health, Illness: Introduction.” ANP 370 Culture Health and Illness. Accessed August 15, 2016. http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp370-us16/lecture-videos/culture-health-illness-introduction/.
Aizenman, Nurith. “Ebola Took Her Daughters And Made Her An Outcast.” NPR. August 25, 2014. Accessed August 15, 2016. http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2014/08/25/342225542/ebola-took-her-daughters-and-made-her-an-outcast.