I would've given it four stars, but the ending dragged it down. No resolution. I get that it is part of a series. But each part should have a resolutiI would've given it four stars, but the ending dragged it down. No resolution. I get that it is part of a series. But each part should have a resolution. ...more
Beautiful. Just beautiful. The only thing better would have been if it was an episode of the show. Plus, you can never go wrong with John Barrowman reBeautiful. Just beautiful. The only thing better would have been if it was an episode of the show. Plus, you can never go wrong with John Barrowman reading it to you. ...more
Breadgivers tells the tale of Sara Smolinsky trying to find her place in the world, similar to how Jim and Antonia must fi(From a posting for a class)
Breadgivers tells the tale of Sara Smolinsky trying to find her place in the world, similar to how Jim and Antonia must find their place in the world as in My Antonia. Sara doesn't want to be married off, and doesn't want to give all her wages to her strict Jewish father. She views his way of life as the old way, and knows there is something more out there for her. He demands that she serve him, and yet she grows tired of his demands. He uses his religion to try to make his wife and daughters obey him. He constantly quotes scripture about how women are supposed to be subservient. He buys a store, and soon realizes that he has been scammed. He later gets mad at Sara for selling something for two cents less than what the charge is supposed to be. At this point, we see the first real act of rebellion. Sara says, "Do you make such a holler on me over two cents, when you, yourself, gave away four hundred dollars to a crook for empty shelves?” (Yezierska, 150). He asks how she dare questions him, and soon she decides to leave. She decides she wants to be a teacher. She wants to know what is out there, beyond the begging streets she grew up on. She is soon faced with the harsh reality that becoming a teacher isn't as easy as she thought. She is determined, however, and soon goes to college, where as frustrated as she becomes, she perservers, with the dean even saying, "[Y]ou, child—your place is with the pioneers. And you’re going to survive" (Yezierska, 258). After she becomes a teacher, she goes home and finds her family still down-trodden. Through the finale of the book she struggles with wanting to be independent, as well as going the more traditional route of returning to take care of her family. In the end, she merges the two by inviting her father into her home. She realizes there is value in both the old and the new, and still has met her desire with knowing reality. Sara shunned the old ways of simply making a wage to support her father, or to marry for money and stability, and embraced the new way of making it on her own. She found her true self, which is one of the components of modernism, and broke free of the social restraints of her culture. But in a way, Sara seems to revert back to her old self, as being subservient. It almost seems as if her father conned her into taking care of him, and putting aside the independent woman she had become. This is the only part I found to be less modernist and more traditionalist, but overall, the quest of the true self and the breaking free of restraints embraced the culture of modernism. ...more
**spoiler alert** Okay... so I love TJ's writing. I really do. But half the time with this book I was just trying to get through it so that I could sa**spoiler alert** Okay... so I love TJ's writing. I really do. But half the time with this book I was just trying to get through it so that I could say I had read it before I judged it. Overall, the book was not horrible, hence the four stars. It had just enough romance, and just enough fantasy; TJ didn't present too much of either side. I had issues with how quickly Felix trusted Seven, but I can look past that due to the genre. From about 70% of the book til about 90% of the book, I felt that it dragged. Telling us something was going to happen kind of spoiled the surprise. I mean, yes when you read a book of this style, you expect some deaths towards the end. I just... I don't know. I felt like it took away something. But from 90% til the end, I was pleasantly enthralled with the twists that TJ presented. As others have said, there are some editing errors that could have been fixed, but I've seen scholarly anthologies with the same errors, so I'm not going to harp on that. Overall, TJ writes another great story, and I look forward to the next entry into the series. I would just suggest to condense some things, and maybe not give away too much too soon. :)...more
Held my attention the whole way through. Not many books can do that. True, I'm reading this for a class, but I found myself wanting to read it. And IHeld my attention the whole way through. Not many books can do that. True, I'm reading this for a class, but I found myself wanting to read it. And I might just read it again for fun! ...more
I had hoped the ending would resolve more, even though I knew it was a series. It really left me wanting more, and not in a good way. Too much happeneI had hoped the ending would resolve more, even though I knew it was a series. It really left me wanting more, and not in a good way. Too much happened too fast. But it was still a good read, and I'm looking forward to reading more of the series. ...more
I read this book a good five or so years ago. I bought it, then didn't read it for a while, read the first half... didn't read it for a while... thenI read this book a good five or so years ago. I bought it, then didn't read it for a while, read the first half... didn't read it for a while... then picked it up again and read it in five days flat. I have to say it was one of my favorite books at the time, and I still hold it in high regard. ...more
**spoiler alert** This review was written for a class I'm taking which I had to read the book for.
In forum 6, first, outline the way in which each of**spoiler alert** This review was written for a class I'm taking which I had to read the book for.
In forum 6, first, outline the way in which each of the girls decides to become "a fulfilled woman." Then focus on Jo March. What is admirable about her? What is troubling about her? In what way can her portrait be seen as advocating feminism? How are we ultimately to judge her?
Each girl could be put into a stereotype. Jo, the feminist. Amy, the selfish, spoiled girl. Meg, the pretty one. Beth, the homely one. And given the time when this was written, we can see why the stereotypes were necessary as these were the stereotypes of women during this time period. We find in later literature that feminists could also be pretty. Jo is never really described as beautiful, but as having beauty in her personality more.
That being said, each of the girls decides to become a fulfilled woman in ways that are similar to her own stereotypes. Alcott writes of Jo, “Jo's ambition was to do something very splendid. What it was, she had no idea as yet, but left it for time to tell her, and meanwhile, found her greatest affliction in the fact that she couldn't read, run, and ride as much as she liked. A quick temper, sharp tongue, and restless spirit were always getting her into scrapes, and her life was a series of ups and downs, which were both comic and pathetic” (Alcott, pp. 51-52). Instead of wanting to become a wife and mother, she wanted to accomplish something.
Alcott writes of Beth, “Beth was too bashful to go to school. It had been tried, but she suffered so much that it was given up, and she did her lessons at home with her father. Even when he went away, and her mother was called to devote her skill and energy to Soldiers' Aid Societies, Beth went faithfully on by herself and did the best she could. She was a housewifely little creature, and helped Hannah keep home neat and comfortable for the workers, never thinking of any reward but to be loved” (Alcott, p. 52). Beth is again described as homely, and wanting nothing but to please others.
Of Amy, she writes, “Amy was in a fair way to be spoiled, for everyone petted her, and her small vanities and selfishnesses were growing nicely. One thing, however, rather quenched the vanities. She had to wear her cousin's clothes. Now Florence's mama hadn't a particle of taste, and Amy suffered deeply at having to wear a red instead of a blue bonnet, unbecoming gowns, and fussy aprons that did not fit. Everything was good, well made, and little worn, but Amy's artistic eyes were much afflicted, especially this winter, when her school dress was a dull purple with yellow dots and no trimming” (Alcott, p. 54). Amy, while caring about her family, also is very selfish in her attitude, at least at the beginning.
As for Meg, we read, “Margaret seemed to find it a little hard to tell hers, and waved a brake before her face, as if to disperse imaginary gnats, while she said slowly, ‘I should like a lovely house, full of all sorts of luxurious things—nice food, pretty clothes, handsome furniture, pleasant people, and heaps of money. I am to be mistress of it, and manage it as I like, with plenty of servants, so I never need work a bit. How I should enjoy it! For I wouldn't be idle, but do good, and make everyone love me dearly.’" (Alcott, p. 194). Meg wants to be adored, but also wants the nice things in life. She would be a mixture of Amy and Beth, though Beth wants to be adored in the sense that she makes people happy, while Meg wants to be adored for being pretty and having nice things.
As each of the girls grows up, we see their ambitions come about in different ways. Meg finds herself happy being a mother, and being adored by her children not for pretty things, but because she is their mother, similar to how Marmee is adored by the four sisters. She slips back into her old attitude when John wants to spend all his time with his friend and his wife since Meg spends all her time with the kids, and Meg wants to be adored again. They come to a compromise where they raise a happy family, which coincides with her ambition of wanting to do good, but also enjoy a happy marriage, and Meg is adored by John once again.
Beth says at one point that her true ambition, besides making people happy, is to stay at home and make her mother and father happy. Through her illness, she does accomplish this ambition. Nothing makes the parents, let alone the siblings and the Laurences, happier than seeing Beth happy. Of hearing her music, her singing, and enjoying her company. Also, she says she wants everyone to keep well and be together. Unfortunately part of this ambition fails, as she passes late in the book, but in the end, the whole family is brought together again.
Amy wants to be adored as well, and seemingly wants to be the center of attention. She says, “’I have ever so many wishes, but the pet one is to be an artist, and go to Rome, and do fine pictures, and be the best artist in the whole world,’” (Alcott, p. 195). And while she does improve on her art, and does get to travel in Europe, thereby accomplishing her ambition, she also finds that devoting herself to another, specifically Laurie, is what makes her life fulfilled. Laurie dotes on her, but she dotes on him as well. They are mutually selfish in regards to the other.
Jo reminds me greatly of Elizabeth Bennet of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. She would be happy never to marry. She wants to accomplish something, whether it be writing, or taking care of her family in a similar way to Beth. She holds herself to a high standard, and kicks herself when she sells out writing stories that bring her shame, and admirable quality. Jo promises, as Beth slips away, that she will take care of their parents. She doesn’t care if she becomes a spinster, because she only wants to make Beth, and in turn their parents, happy. This is a bit troubling as it would seem she is putting her dreams aside for others. While she is being selfless, the reader also wants her to accomplish her original goal. Jo would seem to be the most conflicted of the four sisters. While she is a feminist in that she doesn’t care if she gets married, and feels like she can accomplish her dreams without the help of a man, she also becomes less of a feminist when she devotes herself to her family. There is nothing wrong with devoting oneself to family, but in the sense of feminist theory, this becomes troubling. In the end, though she does get married to Professor Bhaer, she doesn’t submit to him, though neither do any of the girls really, but she becomes an equal in their relationship. She decides where they will live, though includes him in the decision. She decides it is best to open the school. She could travel, and inside I’m sure she wants to travel. She wants to write. She wants to accomplish her goals, but over time, those goals changed, and she is happy being part of the family and keeping it together in the absence of Beth.
One final note must be made of Marmee, though she is not part of the titular women. Early on Marmee says, “My dear girls, I am ambitious for you, but not to have you make a dash in the world, marry rich men merely because they are rich, or have splendid houses, which are not homes because love is wanting. Money is a needful and precious thing, and when well used, a noble thing, but I never want you to think it is the first or only prize to strive for. I'd rather see you poor men's wives, if you were happy, beloved, contented, than queens on thrones, without self-respect and peace,” (Alcott, pp. 132-133). In the end, this is what she gets. Her ambition revolves around her family. She just wants happiness. She could care less about money. Laurie is rich, but not the kind of rich man that makes his money the only quality about him. He brings happiness to the March family. John the same, though not rich. John and Laurie are stand-up men, who bring honor to the family through their personalities, hard work, and devotion to the girls. Marmee finds Professor Bhaer charming as well, not for his money, which he doesn’t have great quantities of, but for his devotion to Jo. It is not a selfish love. The two share an intellectual love, and Marmee sees that Bhaer is the only man that can truly make Jo sublimely happy as a wife, where Laurie only makes Jo sublimely happy as a friend. In the end, Marmee is content, as outlined by the final line in the novel, “’Oh, my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater happiness than this!’” (Alcott, p. 647)....more