Chapter XXXII. Tender Troubles

Jo and Beth shared a special relationship, including things in common. My take on “Tender Troubles” from Little Women.

Little Women 150

By Susan Bailey

Marmee was worried about Beth and for good reason. Her daughter was quieter than usual, even withdrawing from her father. She would cry when visiting with Meg’s babies. Her music was tinged with sadness. Unable to draw Beth out, Marmee asked Jo to find out what was wrong.

Jo thought she had the answer: Beth was in love with Laurie. But in her lack of experience with matters of the heart, she misread the signs. Does a girl in love stare out of a window with a tear sliding down her cheek? Does she cry over her little niece and nephew because she is longing for Laurie? Why would she withdraw from her family?

Jo tried to look at the bright side when it came to her favorite sister even if the signs were pointing in the opposite direction. Hoping that Beth had moved beyond her lingering…

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2 Replies to “Chapter XXXII. Tender Troubles”

  1. Very nice take. I never could see where Jo got the idea that Beth was in love, because it sure didn’t occur to me that it was even a remote possibility.

    1. Jo believed what she wanted to believe. It worked for Beth and also for her. She knew Laurie was “fond” of her and to imagine Beth being in love with him gave her the excuse to flee to NY guilt free.

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