The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Jai and Randy get married on the lawn of a Victorian mansion in Pittsburgh, but rather than leaving the reception in a ‘Just Married’ car, they are whisked off by a huge hot-air balloon. Jai feels like it is a “fairy tale ending to a Disney movie,” but quickly the balloon smashes into some branches, and The Ballooner becomes worried about the shifting winds. The balloon floats out over urban Pittsburgh, not where they’d planned to be, and they start looking for a safe space to land, but find none. The ballooner spots an open field near a train track and begins to let hot air out, causing the balloon to fall quickly. But Randy notices an oncoming train approaching. He tells the ballooner, who replies that it’s unlikely—but not impossible—that the balloon could get caught beneath the train.
This “fairy tale ending” proves to be more of a nightmare than a dream, as the beauty and romance of the idea quickly turns into very real danger. In this tense situation, Randy maintains his composure and keeps a poised, positive, realistic attitude, so that when he sees an obstacle approaching (the oncoming train), he is able to alert The Ballooner of the danger. Despite the tense situation, though, Randy doesn’t let this ruin his trip.
Themes
Attitude and Positive Behavior Theme Icon
The whole time it drops, Randy calculates what direction he and Jai should dive out of the balloon to save themselves. They crash land in the field, and luckily they miss the oncoming train. Randy’s friend Jack Sheriff arrives in the chase-car, happy to see them both safe. The Ballooner runs over just as they’re about to go, informing them they paid for the wedding package, including a bottle of champagne. They take it.
Again, in the face of danger, Randy has a positive attitude and is ready to take any proactive step possible to improve his and his wife’s situation.
Themes
Attitude and Positive Behavior Theme Icon