I am pleased to share with you a wonderful essay about the professional lives of Louisa May Alcott and May Alcott Nieriker written by Lauren Hehmeyer, a professor of History and English at Texarkana College. Professor Hehmeyer presented at the May Alcott conference in Paris in June of 2018 (see previous post) and is currently …
Jo and Beth shared a special relationship, including things in common. My take on “Tender Troubles” from Little Women.
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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Here is this year's call for proposals for the Orchard House Summer Conversational Series. Visit louisamayalcott.org for more information. Are you passionate about Louisa May Alcott too? Subscribe to the email list and never miss a post! Keep up with news and free giveaways on Susan's books, Louisa May Alcott: Illuminated by The Message, and …
From LW150 blog — wow, I had no idea Laurie was so complex! Fascinating read.
p.s. Check out Cathlin Davis’ comments about this chapter here — she brings it into the present day.
By Jan Alberghene
I was nine when I first read Little Women, but I still remember pausing over Hannah’s calling Laurie the “‘interferingest chap,’” not because I disagreed with her opinion, but because it took me a few minutes to decode the unfamiliar word “interferingest.” I had to agree with Hannah. Laurie popped up in places where he had no business being: at a meeting of the Pickwick Club (where Jo was, to be fair, a co-conspirator), and later when the sisters climbed a nearby hill on a pleasant afternoon to “play pilgrims” in private as they sewed and talked. “Yes,” I thought, “Laurie was the ‘interferingest,’” and I hadn’t even reached the chapter titled “Laurie Makes Mischief, and Jo Makes Peace.”
After I finished reading chapter 21, the Laurie I liked no longer existed. Although Laurie is barely sixteen, he feels superior to his tutor Mr. Brooke, a…
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From the LW150 blog: What a wonderful post by NY Times best-selling author of the Penderwick family novels Jeanne Birdsall!
By Jeanne Birdsall
Louisa settled at her desk, preparing to slog through another chapter of Little Women, this book she was writing only for the money. It was meant to be read by girls, which meant she needed to stay away from high drama and thunder, her usual ways to advance a story. She rubbed her temples—a headache threatened—unwittingly mussing her hair. Who was she to write for girls? A woman who’d never been a conventional girl, who barely knew what such girls talked about and wished for.
Stop fussing, she told herself, and get to work. Where was she in the story? The mother of the March family, Marmee, had just rushed home from Washington, where she’d been nursing the girls’ father, to find that Beth had miraculously escaped death from scarlet fever. The chapter needed to begin with quiet joy and gratitude. Louisa picked up her pen…
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There is always room for another annotated version of Little Women as seen by this beautiful version published by Penguin Classics. Featuring a modern cover that ought to appeal to younger readers, Little Women: 150th-Anniversary Annotated Edition is a physically appealing book; I was immediately attracted to it the moment I started thumbing through the pages. …
From the LW150 blog: When “no” means “no” and “yes” means “yes:” Jo’s directness teaches an important lesson.
By Marlowe Daly-Galeano
As an adult reader, I think the most important relationship in the “Dark Days” chapter is Jo and Beth’s. The anguish that Jo experiences during Beth’s illness stems from her awareness that she may lose the companionship of her dear sister. When Beth finally pulls through the threatening fever, Jo and Meg “[rejoice] with hearts too full for words.” Yet, when I was a young reader, the sisters’ relationship in this chapter mattered far less to me than the relationship between Jo and Laurie. In fact, if you had asked my junior-high self what was significant about “Dark Days,” I would have rolled my eyes and answered, “The most important part is the kissing.”
For years, I thought of this as the chapter that revealed the chemistry between Jo and Laurie, the proof (in those few kisses) that they belong together. And, yes, I know you…
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