Chapter VIII. Jo Meets Apollyon

From the LW150 blog by Kathryn Graham: This is probably one of the most memorable chapters in Little Women. I think of my fierce temper as my “Beast;” a part of my creative temperament that must be controlled yet channeled. I wonder if Louisa thought that way too?

Little Women 150

By Kathryn V. Graham

Now it’s Jo’s turn–after individuated attention paid to Beth and Amy in chapters 6 and 7, where the former finds the Palace Beautiful and the latter suffers her Valley of Humiliation, and before Meg’s Chapter 9 trial at Vanity Fair. These four clustered titles offer strong allusions to Bunyan’s Pilgrim’sProgress, but Jo’s encounter with Apollyon is the knottiest of the references. Even a reader unversed in Bunyan would have no trouble grasping the other three concepts. But who (or what) is Apollyon, and what does this encounter mean for Jo?

Jo has experienced the devastating loss of the sole copy of her hand-written collection of fairy tales, “the loving work of several years,” a project she hoped to share with her father and see in print. Amy has burned Jo’s manuscript in a fit of pique after being excluded from an excursion to the…

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