I finished reading Little Women last week and will comment on that in the last post that I do on this book. But first, I wanted to address how Louisa brought about the pairing of Amy and Laurie.
I wish that I had not known that Amy married Laurie because I could never feel the obvious disappointment that readers felt when Jo turned Laurie down. In her usual, logical fashion, Louisa laid out the case for why Amy was the best match for Laurie and I bought into it.
It always appeared to me that Jo and Laurie had a brother-sister relationship, and that it seemed unnatural to Jo to feel any differently for him. I’m not so sure that she was running away from a more passionate relationship – she may not have been capable of such a relationship. Her pairing with Professor Bhaer felt very right to me – they seemed to be soul mates intellectually and emotionally, and he brought out the best in her, at least to her way of thinking. She wanted to be more like Beth and he enabled that.
Laurie tapped into the more rebellious and volatile side of Jo and while fans may have applauded that, Jo would not have ( at least as I see her character).
Amy, on the other hand, seemed like a perfect match for Laurie. He wanted to be improved and she did that, bringing out the best in him. She was able to challenge him out of his doldrums without causing a huge fight (which I think would have happened had Jo challenged him like that). They shared similar sensibilities and desires. I found their courtship to be very charming and loved hearing descriptions of Amy’s deftness in getting Laurie to do what she wanted.
Laurie ended up then bringing out the best in Amy, tapping into her generous nature. She had begun to mature, realizing that wealth alone was not enough. She needed true love, and she needed something philanthropic to do in her life. Laurie made that possible, not just through his wealth, but through his nature.
Passion makes for a great read but doesn’t always make for a lasting relationship. While it was highly disappointing to many that Laurie and Jo did not end up together, I felt that Louisa’s treatment of both relationships showed maturity. Yes, it’s true that she avoided such commitment in her own life but I’m glad she was able to realize it at least in her characters.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one – what do you think? Even if you knew already that Amy and Laurie were married, were you still as disappointed?
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