Sparks' novel features traditional narrative techniques found in many novels. The story is told by a first-person narrator, Wilson Lewis, who relates the events of the story. Sparks employs the narrative technique of flashback in that his narrator tells the story many months after the events. Thus the reader views the events as Wilson experienced them and learns from Wilson's experiences.
The novel develops strong thematic parallels or symbols. The swan, as well as Noah's neglected house and overgrown garden, communicate ideas in the story. The swan is representative of Noah's dead wife Allie and Noah's once beautiful home symbolizes the state of Wilson's marriage to Jane before he resurrects it. The restoration of Noah's home to its former beautiful state parallels the rebirth of Wilson and Jane's relationship.
Sparks' diction is descriptive and evocative. His imagery is rooted in emotion and evokes emotion in the reader. There is nothing cold, objective, cynical, or unfeeling in Sparks' writing.