The first quarter of the school year is ending and deadlines for first quarter projects are coming up. In between writing essays on three great American novels, I dropped by the movie theater to catch “Nights in Rodanthe.”
With literary analysis on my mind, I could not help but consider characters, plot, setting, and even a thesis statement, with the following result:
“In ‘Nights in Rodanthe’ Nicholas Sparks uses foreshadowing and setting to reiterate the need for self-knowledge in any relationship.”
I also toyed with, “Nicholas Sparks ponders the potential for self-discovery when two depressed adults with great chemistry end up in the same seaside hotel for the weekend.” However, there was also, “In ‘Nights in Rodanthe’ Nicholas Sparks explores the effect of Richard Gere, a very sappy plotline, and fans of ‘The Notebook’ on Payson’s water conservation effort.”
Character and plot are essential elements of any story. Adrienne Willis (Diane Lane) says she “hates not knowing whether she’s married or not.” Her husband left her for another woman, but when he comes to her house to take the kids for the weekend, he asks to come back to her. Adrienne promises to think about it, but she has already promised a friend that she will play hostess at her seaside bed and breakfast at Rodanthe.
The only guest, Paul Flanner, (Richard Gere) is a successful doctor who has come to Rodanthe to recover from a surgery gone terribly wrong.
The stage is set for a strong “Man versus Self” conflict, closely mirrored by the tumultuous setting.
The title can be grouped with the setting analysis, since it provides a very nice lead-in. Rodanthe is a small island town, known for its fine seashore and wild horses.
“Nights” could possibly have several meanings. It could be simply that the main characters meet and at a seaside bed and breakfast, known for offering lodging during the night. It could be because the characters spend several nights there, holding out during a hurricane, which takes out the power. It might also refer to the emotional turmoil the characters find at Rodanthe, leaving for the outside world only after a long, dark night in Rodanthe.
All of these elements come together to create a somewhat, if not terribly believable, story.
“Nights in Rodanthe” is sappy beyond belief, but the characters are fairly real, even if the setting is not. It is very pretty to look at, although it lacks a universal appeal. This movie was best suited to adult women, as I can only hope my literary analysis is suited to high school English teachers.