The beginning of the end for Beth

As I continue to read Little Women, I have really come to appreciate Louisa's ability with the written word. The phrases she strings together as she builds each character, carefully, layer by layer, is such a joy to experience. By far though, her most meaningful writing for me is whenever she deals with the subject …

Setting the stage for a major disappointment

Louisa knew she was about to inflict a major blow on her fans. Countless girls had implored and demanded that Jo and Laurie be married, but the stubborn author refused to give in. She never wanted Jo to marry in the first place but figured she'd create a "funny match for her" instead (see my …

Jo’s choice

In Chapter 34, "A Friend," Jo makes not one but two choices. One is exceedingly difficult, the other flows from the first. The choice most commented upon is her decision to give up writing sensational thrillers. Modern feminist critics look to this chapter as a death of sort, of Jo's independent self (see Little Women …

Louisa creates the perfect man for Jo (and herself?)

At least that's my take on Professor Bhaer. And what a sweetheart she's created! Kind, gentle, a lover of children . . . an intellectual who can challenge her mind and create stimulating conversation . . . a confidant . . . someone with the courage to be virtuous and defend it . . .  …

Amy wins the day, and Jo pays the price

In Chapter 30 of Little Women, "Consequences," Amy for the first time became a fleshed out character for me and I liked her very much. Having May Alcott A Memoir so fresh on my mind, I could see for the first time what May Alcott was really like. No memoir could describe her quite the …

A view of marriage from a decided spinster

Louisa May Alcott was an astute observer of life. Her description of Meg and John's first year of marriage in Chapter 28 of Little Women, Domestic Experiences, amazed me with its accuracy. She obviously studied her sister Anna and brother-in-law John Pratt's marriage carefully, probably without even realizing it. Her keen mind picked up on …

Three years later . . .

The first three chapters of Little Women, Part Two (aka Good Wives) certainly didn't disappoint! I loved how the first chapter (Chapter 24, Gossip) brought me up to date on all the major characters - it was like hanging around the water cooler at work finding out what happened on my favorite TV show last …

I finally get it!

Now that I've finished part one of Little Women, I finally get it. I know, I'm late, I always seem to be behind the curve. For so many years I have heard people rave about Little Women but I never understood what the attraction was. On the surface, Little Women appears simplistic, way too sentimental, …

Beth’s influence is revealed; Jo and Laurie’s friendship grows; Amy shows some mettle

Just finished chapters 18 and 19, describing Beth's bout with scarlet fever, and Amy's 'exile' with Aunt March. Scarlet fever sounds like a pretty frightening illness, and we all know it inevitably led to Beth's death later on in the book. It's interesting how she really came to the forefront as a result of the …

Giving Beth her due – chapter 17 “Little Faithful”

I never seem to gravitate towards the mainstream. True to form, my favorite character in Little Women is not Jo (though she's my second favorite character). It is, instead, Beth. When I attempted to read Little Women as a young girl, Beth was always the one who caught my imagination. The attraction back then was …