teachers, and townsfolk. But so does everyone else he knows. Landon does not see this as a flaw, per se, but as a trait shared by all teenagers. He is aware of his own unkindness, but he sees it as harmless; in fact, he realizes that he could be so much more cruel, and he prides himself on not crossing an imaginary line he has set for himself. "Gossip is one thing," Landon says, "hurtful gossip is completely another, and even in high school we weren't that mean." What Jamie forces Landon to see, however, is two-fold: First, that those people Landon is gossiping about or mocking are probably aware of his sentiments and are hurt by it. Second, that gossiping and mocking are not required activities for teenagers; after all, Jamie is a teenager who does not participate in these activities. Landon also recognizes his own apathy and mediocrity. He tends to refer to this trait as "irresponsibility," but that is not really the word that describes Landon's tendency in this area. In fact, Landon has usually tended to do what he is told, shown up when he is supposed to, and otherwise been a responsible student and son. What Landon is not doing, however, is putting much effort into his own life; instead, he is doing only enough to get by. His three best attributes could be considered circus tricks: tying knots; walking barefoot across hot asphalt; and balancing a pencil on his finger. Thus Landon begins to see himself as excelling at a few party tricks while the rest of the world is slipping out of his reach. Landon also notes a high degree of selfishness in himself, especially when compared with Jamie. Although it is true that nearly everyone would pale in comparison to Jamie's selflessness, Landon notices that how he spends his time and how his parents spend his grandfather's ill-got fortune tend to be for the benefit of themselves instead of for the benefit of others. Jamie, of course, lives for others and does so cheerfully.
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