Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thoughts on Little Women

Hi, how have you been? Me...well, the less said the better about Friday through Monday. My hormones went completely nuts and hijacked my tear glands. I was such a JOY to live with.

There is no rational explanation for such behavior, but part of it is that I am in limbo with the whole decision to substitute teach. I haven't gotten any calls yet (it's only been three days since I was fully approved) and I feel like I'm not focused on teaching OR on staying home. I am the kind of person who likes to have A Plan, and until the Plan goes into effect, I am a mess. Especially when those special womanly hormones are involved.

Let's talk about something else. I'm rereading Little Women, which was one of my absolute favorite books when I was a child. I chose it because I needed something nice and old-fashioned and (mostly) funny. And I still like parts of it, but some of it is super annoying because it is so preachy in places. Not to mention how frustrating it is that Alcott had to tame Jo, forcing her to give up her tomboyish ways, and make her a conventional "little woman" who fit the "proper" societal roles.

The afterword mentions what "some readers consider the bitterest literary disappointment of their lives: Jo's refusal of Laurie." As a romantic young girl, I simply could not believe she wouldn't marry him. So of course I didn't like the rest of the book. Spoiler alert, if you've never read it: Laurie marries Amy, Jo's younger and more feminine sister. I never liked Amy. And it was impossible for me to view Professor Bhaer, whom Jo married, as a love interest, with his bushy beard and phonetically rendered German accent.

Now I learn that Alcott wasn't happy about having to marry her characters off. She wrote, "Publishers are very perverse, and won't let authors have their own way. So my little women must grow up and be married off in a very stupid style." I get the impression that Alcott would have rather let Jo remain a single writer, as she was herself. How interesting that women who lived a hundred and forty years ago were trying to create different roles for themselves than the ones society offered.



  1. I had this as an AudioBook as a kid, so I never actually READ it (showing how lazy I was) but I could recite the abridged audio version word for word.

    I too was terribly disappointed in Jo's refusal of Laurie and her subsequent professor, but knowing it was semi-autobiographical I guessed perhaps Alcott herself may have refused a Laurie and loved a professor.

    But when Beth actually - you know (don't want to spoil) ... I stopped being as interested. As a little kid I just wanted a fairy tale, I guess.

  2. My emotions have been way too strong lately too. I hope things work out for you with the substituting.

  3. I want to re-read "Little Women" and "Anne of Green Gables" both one of these days. I hope I get to them soon.

    Hope your emotions give you a break soon!

  4. Yes, I often found it disappointing and sad, too! But I always loved the memory of Jo's writing dress, the one she could wipe ink drops on.

  5. I've never read it, nut have always meant to get to it. I like to have a plan and even when there is a plan, until we get to the part where the plan begins, I'm a little nervous Nelly-ish, constantly telling myself everything will be fine. The rain, as I'm sure you've noticed too, hasn't helped. eHUGS

  6. Haven't read the book before, but its always fun (to me) to re-read a book, cos' there are always new discovery.... *wink*