Kimberly's Reviews > Little Men

Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
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's review
Aug 13, 2009

really liked it
Read in September, 2008

For those of you who many not be familiar with Alcott, Little Men and Jo’s Boys are the sequels to the beloved Little Women. Telling the story of Jo’s life after her marriage to Professor Bhear, Little Men introduces us to Plumfield School where boys, and girls, are taught not only the important lessons learned from books, but the important lessons of life as well. Jo’s Boys takes the chronicles of the students to new heights, as the students reach adulthood and choose their future paths, allowing the lessons of the past blossom.

My favorite character is Dan. Dan is first introduced to us in Little Men as a wayward orphaned teenager who rough exterior and brusque and seemingly callous manor not only steals his way in to Jo’s heart, but manages to survive a good deal of trouble. He grows and changes and appears again in Jo’s Boys, now a rugged man of the Western Frontier. His character is perhaps one of the most complex in Alcott’s pantheon and truly deserves a paper of study all his own (which I may someday write). Through Dan, Alcott discusses issues of race, class, nature vs. nurture, and the ever important Transcendentalist questions of sin and redemption. Many have argued and will argue that Dan is a failed character, perhaps even tragic in that his one great flaw holds rigidly to his heart and leads to his destruction. I however would argue that Dan’s only flaw makes him a tragic hero. His flaw is not one that would mock the sanctity of life. Instead, Dan’s true flaw is that he loves too deeply. And, there, one must ask, can one love too deeply? Is that truly a flaw? What sort of actions are justified when one adheres to friendship so completely?

I won’t say anymore. Go read the books. Then, if you disagree…we’ll chat. I’d love that. And, maybe someday I’ll write my study of Dan and we’ll look a little more in to an all encompassing love a little more.

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