Chapter XXI. Laurie Makes Mischief, and Jo Makes Peace

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.

Little Women 150

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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XVIII. Dark Days

From the LW150 blog: When “no” means “no” and “yes” means “yes:” Jo’s directness teaches an important lesson.

Little Women 150

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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Did the real Amy March get together with the real-life Laurie? Letters between May Alcott and Alf Whitman

Did the real-life Amy know Laurie? Apparently so, and they were good friends! How do we know? Through a stash of letters at the Houghton Library from May Alcott to Alfred Whitman. Who was Laurie based upon? Alf is one of two boys on whom Laurie from Little Women was based (the other being Louisa's …

Chapter XIII. Castles in the Air

from LW 150 blog: Dreaming of “castles in the air” and where they may lead us.

Little Women 150

By Angela Hubler

“Wouldn’t it be fun if all castles in the air which we could make could come true and we could live in them?” says Jo, in chapter 13, “Castles in the Air.” Jo thus encourages utopian dreaming, not only by Laurie and her sisters but by generations of readers, revealing why this text has been a touchstone for artistic and ambitious women for 150 years. Laurie and the March girls express their hearts’ desires, and as the novel progresses each sister achieves—at least to some degree– what she has pined and labored for: Meg is mistress of the “lovely house, full of…pleasant people”; Jo writes books “out of a magic inkstand”; Beth remains “at home safe with father and mother” until she flies in at “that splendid gate”; and Amy goes to Rome and develops her talents as an artist.

Of course, generations of critics have argued…

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Little Women Legacy: Best Wishes from Bavaria with Verena Demel, Featured Author

from Pink Umbrella Books: Verena Demel is studying in Munich and brings an interesting perspective to “Camp Lawrence” – great followup to yesterday’s post on the same from the LW 150 blog.

In this blog post series, we’ll feature contributing authors from our new anthology, Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes: The Little Women Legacy. Today we’ll catch up with Verena Demel, German student and lover of all things Alcott.

Verena

Contributor Verena Demel reads an English version of Little Women surrounded by various translations and adaptations of the novel in Germany. Betty und ihre Schwestern, referenced in her essay, sits on her lap.


What is your favorite scene from Little Women?

I have to talk about each part of Little Women because for me; the parts are quite different.

Part 1: Actually, impossible! All the Christmas scenes, castles in the air, Jo visiting Laurie, Beth and Mr. Laurence . . . but I would say “Camp Laurence,” the whole chapter. It’s an interesting chapter. It’s very different in some of my distinct retellings of Little Women, like whether Kate Vaughn is really rude…

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Chapter XII. Camp Laurence

From the LW 150 blog: Here’s an interesting take on “Camp Lawrence.”

Little Women 150

By A. Waller Hastings

Like many of the chapters of Little Women, chapter 12 – “Camp Laurence” – could be a self-contained short story, moving along a trajectory from the arrival of invitations to the picnic to a satisfactory day’s end, when Mr. Brooke responds to the British Kate’s observation that “American girls are very nice when one knows them” with the comment “I quite agree with you.” What more is needed?

The first half of the book, covering a year in the March family’s lives while Father is away at the war, is constructed as a series of such episodes. If chapter 12 could function independently, though, it also fits into the overall arc of the novel, in two ways. First, it offers additional evidence about the characters and romantic attachments of several characters. And second, it is a rare chapter that makes explicit, if satirical, reference to…

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Chapter X. The P. C. and P. O.

from LW150 – The P.C. and the P.O

Little Women 150

By Lorinda B. Cohoon

“The P. C. and P. O.” chapter recounts a deepening of the friendship between the March family and the Laurence family through Laurie’s admission to the secret society of the Pickwick Club. Both Meg and Amy have reservations about admitting a boy to the club–Mr. Winkle reminds the club members that “[t]his is a ladies’ club, and we wish to be private and proper” (90). Despite these objections, Laurie is voted in as “Sam Weller” once Jo, as Mr. Snodgrass, draws attention to all the ways the members of the Pickwick Club have benefited from the Laurences’ wealth and position: “We can do so little for him, and he does so much for us, I think the best we can do is to offer him a place here, and make him welcome, if he comes” (90). The martin house post office Laurie provides becomes the site…

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