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Topic: Little Women- conclusion

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Subject: Little Women- conclusion
Date Posted: 12/9/2008 9:59 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,930
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I really enjoyed this book, and I think I like the second section better because its more complicated and intense.  Apart from the sections with the twins Desi and Daisy, which I thought were just annoying, I loved the last chapters.  Although I still can't help feeling that Jo and Laurie would have been perfect together, I think Alcott did do a wonderful job of showing how Laurie falls for Amy.  And I can even see some foreshadowing of it in part 1, where Laurie spends all that time with Amy when she's sent away.  Having Laurie switch his affections to Amy could so easily have been a cop-out to give an easy happy ending, but it wasn't.  Laurie undergoes real transformation, but stays true to his essential character.

And although initially I thought the romance between Bhaer and Jo was a bit forced, it grew on me, and the end was so sweet.  What a wonderful book.

Date Posted: 12/11/2008 4:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2007
Posts: 3,237
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I think Jo needed a man like Bhaer, who could sort of slow her down a little bit and help her think things through. His character touches me a lot, a stranger in a strange place, a man who's so lonely and yet so kind to others. I like him better than Laurie!

I wonder if there wasn't a lot of the "father figure" in Jo's feelings for Bhaer, too--since she was so adoring of her father.

Date Posted: 12/11/2008 6:32 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,707
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One of the things I really like about Alcott's writing is that she was never afraid to show the painful emotions. Even though most of her books were for young adults, she always had at least one character die - even a child like Beth. Of course that was necessary due to the auto-biographical nature of the book with the real-life Elizabeth dying, but the real-life Amy died fairly young as well, and she didn't "kill her off" in one of the later books. Although by that time her own health wasn't the greatest either. And she wasn't afraid to write what she felt in her heart was the way the story would go - I remember in one of her biographies they mentioned how many letters she got after Jo turned Laurie down with all the girls writing to her to say, make her change her mind and marry him after all! But she didn't, because she knew that wouldn't be true to the story.

I have read pretty much all of Alcott's works including her adult fiction, as well as several of her biographies, and I often find myself wondering what her later-in-life books would have been like if she had lived to a decent old age. At the same time, I'm almost glad she DIDN'T live to be very old, because in many ways she displayed many of the typical qualities of Victorian American naivete (believing good always wins over evil) and I think World War One would have broken her heart.

I think both the Professor and Mr. March were "father figures" to Louisa as much as Jo - they represented a more idealized sort of father. Bronson Alcott was an incredibly intelligent man but he was not an easy man to live with - with all his schemes for developing utopia and always squandering his money and expecting his wife and daughters to always live up to what were very strict expectations. March and Bhaer both come across as much more loving types than anything I have ever read about Bronson Alcott. Of all the characters in the book that represented LMA's real llife family, I find Mr. March to be the least like his real life counterpart.

Date Posted: 12/12/2008 1:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2007
Posts: 3,237
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Bren, have you read Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father? I've had it on my wishlist for months, and would really like to read it. I don't know a ton about Bronson Alcott, but what little I've heard makes me agree with you that Mr. March is an idealized father figure.

I really enjoyed Geraldine Brooks' March, which gave Mr. March a voice all his own.

Date Posted: 12/12/2008 4:11 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,930
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Its interesting how important Mr. March was to Jo (and all the March women) and how his character influences Jo later in her life, with her writing and somewhat drawing her to Prof. Bhaer, since Mr March himself is not a very prominent character in the book.  He doesn't appear onstage until the very end of part 1, although his valediction is what gives closure to the first part.  And in the second half, although he is present, he is far less directly involved in the action than Marmie or even Mr. Lawrence.  Its interesting how a character can be described so thoroughly through other characters.

Date Posted: 12/16/2008 10:36 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 1,438
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Last Edited on: 8/4/14 8:47 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/17/2008 12:59 AM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2007
Posts: 3,237
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Guess that's why he seemed rather pompous to me, giving his wife and daughters platitudes and mottoes from on high, while they were in the trenches, too, struggling with difficult lives and too little money.

Yes, I definitely got a sense of that on this reading, thinking about the reality of how tough it was on them and how detached he seemed to be from it all.

Date Posted: 12/17/2008 8:54 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 1,438
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Last Edited on: 8/4/14 8:47 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/17/2008 4:09 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2007
Posts: 748
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Oops, I didn't realize this one had already begun.  I keep watching the threads on my watched list, and as a result the new ones are off and running before I even realize they've started.  :)

Was there a date to finish Part 2 by, because I sure missed it.  I started it just a few nights ago so I wouldn't get too far ahead.  Are we to read the entire thing, or is it also broken into two sections/discussions like Part 1? 

Date Posted: 12/17/2008 4:25 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2007
Posts: 748
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Of all the characters in the book that represented LMA's real llife family, I find Mr. March to be the least like his real life counterpart.

Guess that's why he seemed rather pompous to me, giving his wife and daughters platitudes and mottoes from on high, while they were in the trenches, too, struggling with difficult lives and too little money.

I wonder if Mr. March was more like his real life counterpart than we realize.  Have you read about the Fruitlands utopia they had?  If I understood an article I recently read about it, they didn't want to work any animals and the men would have deep philosophical discussions.  So guess who was left with all the day to day, very physical work of growing the food and meeting needs? 



Last Edited on: 12/17/08 4:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/17/2008 10:47 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 1,438
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Last Edited on: 8/4/14 8:46 PM ET - Total times edited: 1