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Me Before You

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Julia R

on 24 May 2016

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Transcript of Me Before You

Me Before You
By Julia Richardson

Description
Me Before You
is a romantic novel written by British author Jojo Moyes. The novel follows Louisa Clark, a twenty-six year old residing in a small village in the United Kingdom with her middle-class family. The book focuses on her relationship with Will Trainor, a quadriplegic Louisa is hired to care for. The book is great and I really loved reading it. It has become a movie which will come out in June!!
Setting
Me Before You
takes place in the current day, and the novel elapses approximately six months (from the beginning of Louisa's employment with the Traynors to the end). In terms of location, the novel is set in a small village in the United Kingdom near the tourist attraction Stortfold Castle. Will describes the town as "so limiting. And it’s all about the castle... not exactly dynamic, is it? Not exactly full of ideas or interesting people or opportunities" (Moyes 95). One of the primary locations is Granta House, where Will lives. Because of the location, readers may pick up on a dreary mood, which is affected by the small and apparently unambitious population. At one point, the novel also takes place in Mauritius, and the mood created by the sun and ocean stands in stark contrast to the mood evoked the majority of the novel.
Plot (SPOILERS!)
Louisa Clark is a young woman living with her parents, grandfather, sister Treena, and nephew Thomas. When she loses her longtime job at a café, she is forced to seek out other work as her family is not very well off. After much searching, she lands the job at the Traynors' home. Will has been hit by a motorcycle, and is a quadriplegic in need of someone to boost his spirits. While at first, the two do not enjoy each other's company, they come to like each other. Louisa, who has an awful boyfriend, becomes increasingly close to Will. She soon overhears Camilla Traynor discussing her agreement with Will; after six months, he is authorized to undergo assisted suicide at Dignitas. Louisa is horrified, and plans on doing whatever she can to encourage him to continue living. As the six months draw near, the two become very close (to the point where Louisa moves in Granta House and breaks up with her boyfriend) and Louisa takes Will to Mauritius. Here, she confesses her love for Will, and hopes her love and their connection has caused him to change his mind about committing suicide. Read the book to find out what happens!!
Characters: Louisa Clark
Louisa Clark is the protagonist and narrator of
Me Before You.
She is a dynamic character, as Will Traynor changes her outlook on life completely. She begins as a person with no desire to leave her home and ends heartbroken, but wanting more from life. Louisa is also a dynamic character. Throughout the novel readers learn about her past experiences, specifically one traumatic event, and can see how she is not simply a small-town girl who wears crazy outfits. Louisa is eccentric and a fun, loving person. While her motivations are originally money, she eventually remains employed at Granta House because of her caring nature and love for Will. People typically like Louisa, though she can be short-tempered or selfish (most of this is as a result of her home life). Louisa's strengths are perseverance and her capacity to love, even in difficult situations. Louisa is a good person, and tries to do the right thing. This makes it extremely difficult for her to decide whether or not to support Will in his decision. Her personality is complex and shaped by her history (constantly living in Treena's shadow, struggling to support the family, etc). Louisa is an integral part of
Me Before You
. As a reader, I wanted to support her and felt bad for her situation. I loved her persistence and aim to make not only Will happy, but herself.
Characters: Will Traynor
Will Traynor is also the protagonist of
Me Before You
. When readers first meet him, he is rude, cynical, and overall unpleasant. As the novel continues, he opens up to Louisa and becomes much more alive and charismatic. Throughout this process, though, his outlook on his life does not change. So, he is somewhat of a dynamic character. Will is also Louisa's foil, in a way. While the two are compatible, they are almost the complete opposite. He has lived in a big city, traveled the world, and done crazy things. Louisa, though, has been in her small bubble her entire life. Will is stubborn and sarcastic, but very charming. He is moody, so his actions can be somewhat erratic. Others often pity him, and are very careful around him, so it is a shock to him when Louisa does not take his poor attitude and rude demeanor kindly. Some of his strengths are his intelligence and generosity, while his weaknesses could be considered his disability (in his point of view) and his stubbornness. Will has a complex personality that is definitely shaped by not only his present state, but the contrast between it and his active past life.
Louisa Clark Quote
Will Traynor Quote
Theme
One of the major themes of
Me Before You
is
Quality VS Quantity
of life. This theme is present throughout the entire novel and easily seen when comparing Louisa and Will. Louisa is unambitious, stuck in one routine, and has had the same job for six years. In the beginning of the novel, she states that "there’s not a lot separating [her] from anyone you might pass in the street. You probably wouldn’t look at [her] twice. An ordinary girl, leading an ordinary life. It actually suited [her] fine" (Moyes 18). This quote summarizes Louisa before meeting Will. Will, on the other hand, lived an adventurous, intense life prior to becoming disabled. When the two meet, Will encourages Louisa to branch out. He tells her, "you only get one life. It's actually your duty to live it as fully as possible" (Moyes 194). This quote, along with others that are very similar, show the importance of quality of life for Will. Will's quality of life is not enough, and Louisa is not either. He does not want to be in the wheelchair, and he cannot stand to live in such a miserable way. He hates what he is, and misses who he used to be. Louisa and Will have completely different situations, and while they love each other, have to do what is best for them. Their lives are different, so their perspective on what it means to live is different. The author tries to show this contrast throughout
Me Before You
.
Another theme of
Me Before You
is
love
. The author shows what it is to love unconditionally through all the relationships in the novel. She also shows readers that love does not always work out.
"I know I can make you happy. And all I can say is that you make me... you make me into someone I couldn't even imagine. You make me happy, even when you're awful, I would rather be with you - even the you that you seem to think is diminished - than with anyone else in the world" (Moyes 323).
This quotation shows the contrast of Louisa's opinion of Will to his own (he sees himself terribly because of his disability, whereas Louisa loves him regardless and just wants him happy).
"I am not designed to exist in this thing – and yet for all intents and purposes it is now the thing that defines me. It is the only thing that defines me." (Moyes 325).
He sees his disability as the one thing that determines his worthiness and life, unlike Louisa. He really believes he should not be in this situation.
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