TN Read-Along #8: Little Women Discussion Thread
Touched to the heart, Mrs. March could only stretch out her arms as if to gather children and grandchildren to herself, and say, with face and voice full of motherly love, gratitude, and humility:
"O my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater happiness than this!"
Than…what, Marmee? Your surviving daughters' children not dying of hoof-and-mouth disease? I know it's the 1870s and I don't mean that nobody can possibly find child-rearing fulfilling, but what a comedown for Jo loyalists, seriously. She cut all her hair off and sold a story, but only because she had to, folks! Don't worry, she's not one of those…bluestockings!
…So! I could have given folks the usual 2-3 weeks to buy and read the book, but I have a feeling that anyone who wants to participate in this one already owns it, or has read it enough times to punt — and avoiding spoilers is a fool's errand at this point. (Beth dies. It's sad. Amy doesn't; also sad.)
We've already done some crabbing about the Marches here, but that mostly focused on Amy. Now's your chance to kvetch about Jo getting saddled with Bhaer; Meg's near-constant whining; Beth still playing with dolls at the age of 14; the incessant poor-mouthing when the Marches employ a full-time servant (and Alcott falls rather flat with the rendition of said servant's dialect); and, if you feel very strongly, any of the other Alcott books concerning Clan March (i.e., Little Men and Jo's Boys). You can say good things, too, don't get me wrong. (Free Laurie's grandfather!)
You may also discuss the movie adaptations (my hunt for a DVD copy of the BBC adaptation from the late '70s continues), biographical and/or scholarly insights into Alcott, why on earth anyone would make a big deal over pickled limes or lobster salad, or whatever ancillary materials you like.
In the meantime, I leave you with this horseshit:
As Jo received her good-night kiss, Mrs. March whispered gently: "My dear, don't let the sun go down upon your anger. Forgive each other, help each other, and begin again tomorrow."
This is Marmee's purpose in the text, I realize, but as aggrieved as I felt daily by my own, er, "Amos," Mr. Stupidhead, I knew our mother would never have sold me out like that if he'd burned up my stuff. If anything, she'd have asked me nicely not to kill Mr. S until my dad got home and could say goodbye, but then again, Mr. S would never have done anything that dicky.
Tags: books Louisa May Alcott Mr. Stupidhead parenting gone horribly awry shut up Amy March shut up Marmee The TN Read-Along