Love Letters by Kate Walker
In Love Letters by Kate Walker we have the theme of romance, love, honesty, vulnerability and selfishness. Narrated in the first person by a young man called Nick the reader realises after reading the story that Walker may be exploring the theme of romance. Fleur wants some romance in her life. Just like Helen has. She wants Nick to write love letters to her however Nick is quite inadequate when it comes to expressions of love. This may be significant as Walker could be suggesting or highlighting the difficulties that teenagers feel when it comes to expressions of love. Unlike Clive, Nick finds it hard to express himself romantically. He is more a man of action than of words. Something that is clearer to the reader by way of the fact that Nick offers Fleur his ice cream when first pondering about writing Fleur a love letter. Nick’s letters, with the exception of the last one, are the equivalent of pulling teeth. Nick has great difficulty writing about anything. It doesn’t dawn on him that Fleur wants the letter to be about her. For Nick to be romantic with her and to compliment her. Just as Clive compliments Helen.
What is also interesting about the story is the fact that it is only when Nick gets honest with himself and Fleur; does his life take on a new direction. His decision to call off his romance with Fleur opens the door to a possibly successful relationship with Gilda. A girl who Nick previously had no interest in. Gilda is an important character as she shows the reader just how fickle Nick might be. Previously Nick showed no interest in Gilda. Yet when she shows an interest in him, he develops an interest in Gilda. All based on Gilda’s appraisal of Nick’s last letter to Fleur. The fact that Fleur needs to receive letters from Nick could also be important as it may suggest she is a needy person. Things have to be about her. If anything Walker could be placing a spotlight on young love and the demands those in love place on one another. As readers we are also aware that Clive knows that he has to write letters to Helen. Other words she won’t go out with him.
It is also possible that when it comes to writing personal letters to Fleur. Nick may not wish to divulge any information that could be held against him. Something which would be normal for a teenager to feel. One may never know when a personal matter is revealed to others without consent. It is safer to avoid any personal matter. However this defeats the purpose of letter writing. Letters, particularly romantic letters, are meant to be personal. To allow another person inside your soul and to show your vulnerabilities. If anything a romantic letter should allow for a person to lower their guard and express how they truly feel. Though this is not necessarily how Fleur feels. She wants the letter to be about her. Which may leave some critics to suggest that Fleur is being selfish. Though this may be a little harsh as Fleur is still young.
The end of the story is also interesting as Nick feels no remorse about breaking up with Fleur. He knows in his heart that they have nothing in common and as such should break up and allow for each other to see other people. The fact that Fleur photocopied the letter and allowed for others to get a copy of the letter is significant. If it was her intention to demonize Nick she has failed. Nick is not embarrassed by what he has written because he has been honest and true to himself for the first time in the story. Which leaves the reader suspecting that Nick and Gilda’s relationship will blossom because they appear to have more in common than Nick and Fleur ever did. As to whether Nick will continue writing love letters is difficult to say. He might be better sticking to what he knows best and showing his love for someone through his actions (ice cream). Letter writing for Nick is something he struggles with. Which is understandable as Nick is still a young man. He is yet to fully understand how he feels about things. Perhaps in time he will be able to express himself to the best of his ability.