Little Women (Little Women, #1) Little Women question

Jo and Laurie
Anna Anna Jun 08, 2011 12:25PM
It's sad that Jo turns down Laurie's proposal...:( why did she do that? write your option.

Jo and Laurie together seems like a good idea the first time one reads the book. After meeting the professor, though, one can see that Jo and Laurie would never have suited each other. It would have irritated Laurie that Jo had to write; all Laurie's society obligations would have grated on Jo. What drew them to each other would have been the same things that frustrated them if they'd married. Amy is a much better partner for Laurie than Jo could ever have been.

The first few times I read Little Women, I, too was disappointed that Jo turned down Laurie, but even though I didn't get over that disappointment until I had read the book a few more times, by the time that he married Amy I had forgiven her for being such a tiresome child. The Amy we see in Europe is not only a lovely young woman, but what is more, a young woman of character, just strong enough to stand up to Laurie when necessary, but without the temper and the stubbornness that would have made Jo and Laurie such a bad match.

I was ready to accept that Laurie married Amy a long time before I was willing to acknowledge that Jo and the Professor belonged together. He is hardly represented in a romantic light, even through the eyes of Jo, who loves him. But then, she is not really a romantic girl, for all the wild romances in her "sensation" stories.

What finally reconciled me to the whole idea -- and this may seem strange because it is far more a children's book than Little Women is -- was rereading Little Men and seeing how happy and fulfilled Jo was as the Professor's wife. They wanted the same things out of life; they not only loved each other deeply, but they respected each other deeply. I imagine their love was tender rather than passionate. Jo was a passionate girl, but it came out in different ways. And when I think of her with Beth, I see that beyond the wildness and impulsiveness, tenderness was an essential part of Jo's character.

Jo needed intellectual stimulation, not something Laurie would have excelled at, but the Professor did.

Every time I read the book, it made me sad they didn't marry because there was the warm fuzziness of first love about it. When she met the Professor, I knew he was right for her, but I wish he wasn't so old.

The most important part there, I think, is that both Jo and Laurie were impatient and hot-tempered. Being a person like that myself, I know that as my significant other I need a person who's stable and calm so that I'm grounded. Seriously, my boyfriend is the only person who can keep me doing sane things and not making rash, idiotic decisions that might hurt myself in the end. I believe Jo also realized this - she couldn't be that person for Laurie, nor could he do it for her. She may have had romantic feelings for him, not as much as he did for her but feelings either way, but she could also see how it wouldn't work.

Essentially, Jo needed someone like her father was to her mother, and the Professor did that job marvelously. He balances out her ups and downs, her impulses and her impatience, and she, on the other hand, helps him experience things in a more intense way. Laurie needed someone like Amy, someone who would balance out his bad temper with gentle but firm words and his impulses with rationality. She, on the other hand, gained someone who truly admired her and wanted to let her flourish, but who wouldn't make that spoiled brat resurface like your average rich boy probably would have. Also, they both crave for adoration, which really confirms my opinion that they're well-suited for each other - they both ended up both admiring and being admired, which is a much more solid relationship than simply being admired.

I also disagree that she's unlikeable - granted, I never liked her as much as Jo or Beth, but I actually liked her better than Meg. Amy is the youngest, so we actually get to see her grow from the baby of the family into an adult (the others were already "little women" when the first book started, weren't they?), and I really enjoy watching her grow and develop. Slowly, during the course of the two books, she learns to swallow her pride, be realistic and rational, to handle her bad habits, and then in the end we see what she's become. I admit I thought Laurie's decision to ask her to marry him seemed (and probably was) quite fickle and rash, but that's more his fault than hers. She definitely deserved it, and I think he came out much happier with her in the end.

Because they just weren't in love.

Controversially, I think that Jo was in love with Laurie, but realised (1) that his boyish passion for her would not last and (2) that she would eventually start to aggravate him with her writing and her awkward social ways. His falling for a "girly" type was eventually inevitable.

In the chapter entitled "Heartache" where she rejects him, it is really her own heartache she needs to deal with in the long term. Prof Bhaer is her attempt to put a brave face on things.

Lucrecia I completely agree with you!!! Still in my mind they ended up together... :)
May 11, 2013 06:09PM

amy should have been voted off the island. Sticking Laurie with her was like a punishment - maybe there was someone Alcott was angry with IRL.

When I read the Jo and Laurie didn't end up together, I cried, for they were my OTP (one true pairing) and I really wished they could have been together.Well, if Jo could have loved Laurie, I think that they could have passed their temper and stubborness if they really loved each other. All that I could say is that I can never move on, and someday, I would always remember these two, who could have been perfect, who could have been together, who could have been Mr. and Mrs. Laurence.

Marriage is complicated and Jo knew that. For it to work, both parties have to love each other in more or less the same way and while Laurie loved her as a lover, she loved him as a brother. This is not going to create the kind of relationship and balance they would need to build a life and family together. Jo never loves him that way and the book makes that very clear from the very beginning - he's always a brother to her, never a lover. She's looking for something else. And really, she wouldn't have been the kind of wife he needed - she'd make a terrible society wife. She wasn't ever going to be happy with that and he never really entirely understood that part of her. He saw it as her hobby, not her passion. That's a big part of the Professor's draw - he understood Jo in a way that no one else really did. They were equals in a way she had never experienced before (and probably never did again). He never tried to make her anything that she wasn't - he saw who she was and loved her for it and she returned him the favor.

If Jo had married Laurie she wouldnt have been happy. Jo was an adventurous self-sufficient artistic stubborn individual, Laurie needed her more than she needed him. They just were not right for each other romantically. I think Alcott wrote Jo's character as a reflection of herself only Alcott never married. The first time i read the book i rooted for Laurie but by the end of the book I changed my mind. As far as people not liking the Professor as whom Jo chose to marry, because he's "old" lol well remember the time period in which the book was written. Jo wasnt going to marry Laurie because he was young any more than marrying him for money.

I'm surprised the number of people in this thread who say things like "they were supposed to be together" or "they were the perfect pairing." Jo consistently sees him as her brother and treats him that way. Not as an annoying brother but as a brother she's very close to. She loves him, sure, but as an brother. When it becomes clear that Laurie wants the relationship to become romantic, she is disturbed for Laurie's sake, because she knows it will never work.

Which is why I always believed Jo when she said she loved Laurie as a brother. She's not "offended" by Laurie's romantic turn, even though she doesn't feel that way. Compare that to Anne in Anne of Green Gables -- there's a sense where Anne is outraged when Gilbert wants to get romantic, not because she isn't romantically interested, but because she doesn't want that to happen *YET*.

I never expected Jo and Laurie to get together, but I always expected Anne to end up with Gilbert. Because Jo was never in love with Laurie "that way," while there was always a romantic edge to Anne's love for Gilbert. I also loved "boy next door" romances, and always wanted to be friends with the guy I married first, but also never thought Jo and Laurie were a good match.

As someone said up above, part of it is that Jo wanted someone who is her intellectual equal, and Laurie wasn't. They share a similar creative streak (Jo in writing and Laurie in music), but intellectually they are very different. Laurie is socially smarter, while Jo is more studious -- Laurie isn't that interested in the sort of intellectual conversation Jo craves, while Jo isn't that interested in what the people they know are doing.

Also surprised by the number of people who think Amy *suddenly* changes. Amy was maturing back in book I, when Beth is so ill with scarlet fever and they send Amy off to Aunt March's. That was a definite growing experience for Amy, and at the begionning of Part II ("Good Wives"), you can see it's had a long-term impact.

At that same point, Laurie keeps Amy entertained so easily because they both share a lot of the same interests and abilities. Jo admires Laurie's ability to manage people because it is a skill she does not share; Amy studies Laurie's ability to manage Aunt March and learns to do it as well. Even that early, and long before LMA was thinking about marrying her characters off, she's showing that Amy and Laurie have a deeper understanding that perhaps either of them realizes.

LMA told her fans that Laurie was based on Ladislas Wisniewski (aka, Laddie). And she told Alfred Whitman that Laurie was based on a combination of Laddie and himself. Karen Sands-O'Connor, however, believes that Laurie was based on "The Heir of Radclyffe," Sir Guy Morville. If LMA had subconsciously connected Laurie back to Sir Guy, then Laurie was destined to marry "silly little Amy" from the git go.

They don't end up together because that's not what happened in Alcott's life. Louisa May Alcott based the character of Josephine March on her own personality and experiences. It's to be assumed that Laurie represented someone that Alcott knew as a young woman. The ironic thing is that even as Jo turned him down in the story, it's said she actually did have romantic feelings for him. Although just because you have feelings for someone doesn't mean they're exactly right for you.
There is no exact reason that anyone can point to in terms of why she did turn Laurie down in the novel that is without doubt. To truly know why, you would have to ask Alcott herself as the storyline of Little Women is based on her upbringing.

I really wanted Jo & Laurie to be together!!They were so great with each other and really understood each other!Don't really like the idea of Laurie being with Amy instead of Joe...

Jo and Laurie would never have worked. I wanted them to work when I read the book, but I understood why it wouldn't too. I have always thought that the Professor was perfect for Jo (and given that this book is semi-autobiographical it is entirely plausible that the Professor embodied the characteristics of what would have been Alcott's "dream man"). But, like others, it was Laurie's marriage to Amy that totally killed it for me. Amy was the most spoiled brat until the very end when as another commenter put it, she magically became this wonderful woman. Sorry, didn't buy it and my intense dislike of her meant that I could never see Laurie truly being happy with her.

JO and the Professor complements each other it is also the case in Amy and Laurie. so i think it is nice that Jo and Laurie remained friends only.

i was sooo sad and that jo and laurie did not marry it made me sick and the whole day i was gloomy. its all the book fault. it would lighten my heart if laurie and jo were together.

For me, one of the problems is that Amy appears unlikeable throughout most of the book and, because we like Laurie as we are meant to, it seems unsatisfactory that he should have to put up with Amy. I can see the good reasons why it wouldn't have worked if he and Jo married each other, but I agree with Natali D that "the real problem is that Louisa May Alcott made it seem like true love."

I think that readers feel that LMA has misled them, both because Laurie and Jo don't marry and because Laurie marries Amy.

I used to be want to smack Jo upside the head for not accepting Laurie , but now I see it was truly for the best.

Like everyone else has said here, they were too much alike... too brotherly and sisterly. They were great as best friends but Jo just didn't feel the same way about him so it wouldn't have worked. If she had have just accepted him despite her feelings she would have ended up very unhappy. Plus their personalities would head-butt and they'd end up fighting half the time.

Laurie is a young woman's ideal of a husband. Maybe Alcott had the wisdom to offer up the Professor as a husband for a woman her own age.

Shelley, Rain: A Dust Bowl Story

It was difficult to get over the fact that Jo and Laurie weren't meant to be.But then,again Jo did find the Prof. And they did go on to become a lovely couple.
But Laurie and Amy?

Look,after the first page or so Jo was my fav.Then came Beth,Meg and Amy.And I took an instant liking to Laurie(who didn't?). So obviously I wanted them to marry.I mean all the signs were there-they were comfortable in each others company,never had to lie to each other about anything etc etc.So when Jo rejected and went to marry the Prof. It was kinda bittersweet. But I guess LMAlcott didn't want to end the book with Laurie still a bachelor.So she married him off to Amy.But,then again he could have married Beth instead.Screw the age gap! But LMA did what she did for a reason.Beth was a really likeable character,unlike Amy.So when Beth died there would be a lot of more um...response if you know what I mean?

Anyway,sorry for the long rant.I'll shut up.For now.

Lucrecia I always disliked Amy, she was a very non agreeable character through the whole book, I think most of us felt betrayed at Jo and Laurie not getting ma ...more
May 11, 2013 06:14PM

This is a pretty hard question. I can see why Jo doesn't want to marry Laurie, but I wanted her to! But she is good with the professor because she is wild and he is calm so they balance each other out.The only thing is, he's OLD! But, yeah. I like Laurie and Amy, though.

I will never understand why the author made this second part. Or why did she do it like that.
It was obvious that Laurie and Jo were so perfect together. I was quite upset when I read it. And she should have been a writer because that was her dream.
I think I will give the first book to my kids to read and many many years later I will give them the second. Probably the author intention was to break down the harsh reality of life after her first book.

i did not really like jo marry Professor if he was young it would have been better

Although I can see why Jo eventually wed the Professor, I am mystified at how fickle Laurie is. I am going to fix it.

I strongly suggest you all read Jo's Boys & Little Men to get the rounded view of how Jo and Friedrich and Amy and Laurie get on once the first flush of romance is gone..they are perfectly matched and the stories bear the extra effort to complete them... wonderful series and great for modern kids to learn self control and respect using comical and tragic scenarios of family life ...

I really love Jo as a character and respect her decision to not marry Laurie just for the heck of it when she knew she didn't love him...but Laurie and Amy?!? So so so wrong. I think I could have survived Jo and Laurie's lack of romantic relationship had Laurie married a complete unknown and not Amy, whom as people have mentioned, is unlikable through most all of the book, but magically becomes someone with basically no visible faults. And not to mention, the fact that it's presented like the aftermath of it all isn't awkward and everyone gets on without any regret or jealousy is ridiculous. I feel as though in a realistic situation, Jo and Laurie could never be very good friends again, especially without exciting any jealousy from Amy...
I'm telling you, Laurie and Amy are the reason this didn't get five stars from me!

Stasy (last edited Oct 21, 2011 10:09PM ) Oct 21, 2011 10:08PM   0 votes
During the first few times that I read the book (ages 8-14), I was really upset that Jo turned him down. Of course, throughout that time I was young and (at 14) with my first boyfriend. At that age, you think the first one is going to be the one and you can't understand how other people just can't make it work out. As I got older, I appreciated the fact that she turned him down.

I don't agree that Jo didn't love him. I think she was very much in love with him; however, she was in love with him enough to let him find happiness somewhere else, even if he couldn't see that future for himself at the time. That he found that happiness with Amy seems odd to me, but mostly because they are both such flighty people.

As for the Professor being too old, I think he was the right age. Jo is so headstrong and passionate about life that she needs someone who has seen more of life to help calm her when she goes too far. He needs someone to keep him young. They are perfect for one another.

One of my favorite parts of the book is the chapter in which Laurie keeps checking out the Professor to make sure he is good enough for Jo. I love that they stay friends and yet they keep looking out for each other. He knows by that point that Jo was obviously right to turn him down and he just wants to make sure she is going to be happy like him.

Jo & Laurie not getting married actually killed the whole book for me... All of a suddden I was wishing I'd never gone past the first book. Honestly, I thougt they were perfect for each other and I do not like Amy, nor the old grouchy Proffessor.

I read this book when I was very small, and back then I had no romantic sentiments or ideals. So I always will champion the professor and Jo because it was meant to be. Though I have to admit that I think that Amy doesn't deserve Laurie.

LOVE all of these answers!

Well, I never really finished the book. I started reading it at age 9 and I stopped because it was too boring for me. My favorite character was Beth. Then, I heard somewhere that (spoiler) Beth dies, (spoiler) and it totally made me lose interest in reading the book. I know all about it, however, and I do agree that Jo and Laurie would have been great together. So what if Jo had a temper? Arguments are healthy in a relationship. Amy/Laurie is almost as bad as Draco/Hermione

Nicole D. (last edited Jun 02, 2012 07:55PM ) Jun 02, 2012 07:49PM   0 votes
First time I read Little Women I wanted Laurie and Jo to end up together but having reread it as an adult.I see that Laurie and Jo would have fought and make each other unhappy.Plus Jo and Laurie were best friends and Jo thought of Laurie as the brother she never had and Laurie was the one who had the feelings and even he as he grow up saw that Jo and him didn't fit.This happened with another book I guess age does change your outlook and understanding of things.

I almost stopped reading the book when I knew that Jo and Laurie were not gonna be together.It was something I was waiting for.
I never had liked Amy,but the Amy in Europe was way different from what she was before.
Somehow I still don't think Amy deserves Laurie.If Jo and Laurie had married I am sure they would have made compromises for each other. I mean, that is what they are supposed to do.There is no marriages without compromises.I can really picture them as a great couple.
Wish I could change the story line......

Since Alcott herself was more drawn to women than men and never married, she was able to portray this in Jo's refusal to marry Laurie, who had more of a passionate feeling than intellectual for Jo, unlike the Professor's more mature attachment. She also justified it by saying that she and Laurie were too much alike: headstrong, argumentative. Jo realized they would be incompatible.

I didn't like this when I first read it, but I was much younger then. After spending 13 years in a more "platonic" relationship, and am now in one based on passion as well as intellect, I can see now that I missed out on a lot.

Jo's decision makes sense. It's too bad that Alcott never found anyone with whom to share her life.

I really wanted them to marry but can see why they didn't. I don't think Laurie should've married Amy - it always seemed like 'second best' to me.

But you now how Jo is! LOL

The real problem is that Louisa May Alcott made it seem like true love. The flirting, their considerations for eachother, the way the families grew fond of one another.

The author never wanted Jo to marry at all. The professor only appeared in Book2, as per the request of her fans.

When I read the scene where Jo turns Laurie down... I was 100% heartbroken. They were in love. I think he expected her to want the same things he did and she just didn't. But what was even more heartbreaking...

When he reads the letter from Jo, who finally realizes how much she has to reach out and hold onto those she loves because they could be gone any time, and rushes to Amy because he doesn't even get to the end... that just killed me. And Jo's reaction when he comes back... and he's already married to Amy. It was hard to read, because not only did it make me cry, it broke Jo's heart to lose him when she finally was ready to take the steps to be with him and to also be happy for him and her sister.

But... in the end she found a place where she was content. At first I was iffy on the professor, but by the end I realized he complemented Jo in a way that Laurie never could have. And that feels pretty good to me.

all very good points! this sounds like something I'd say in English Lit class.

deleted member Dec 06, 2011 10:46PM   0 votes
I wish they could be together but I could not be... Plus Joe has the Russian guy...

I was SO said when they didn't end up together...

Reasons why they should get together:
1. its suggested throughout the book
2. Its sweet
3. They'd be great

Reasons why they SHOULDN'T get together:

1.they'd kill each other,
2.they're much too alike.
3. No patience
4. too much temper in both
5. both of them are irrational and need someone to help make calm, wise decisions.

*sniff sniff* poor Laurie. X'(

In my opinion, Jo rejected laurie because of the good rule of opersites attract. Jo and laurie were perfect for eachother, but for one reason they were more like equals than lovers. But when Jo met prof. Baer (or how ever you spell it!) they were like magnets. Each of them had something new to bring to the table that was their relationship.

Ugghhh Jo and Laurie, just reading the title of this thread made me sad. They were supposed to be together, I know she meets her author in the end but Laurie wasn't meant for Amy. Not sure if you have seen the movie, but I think the casting in the movie is what really solidified my depression over Laurie and Amy ending up together, Kirsten Dunst played the spoiled baby perfectly.

I am 100% Team Jo and Laurie. Dont' understand at all the arguments that Jo and Laurie are too much alike and have strong wills and tempers and thus a relationship between them wouldn't work. That's marmee's advice to Jo back in the 1800s and it was meant to turn Jo into a proper little woman...and I thought it was hogwash. Lets face it, many successful modern marriages (and in reality some marriages 200 years ago) are often between strong willed individuals who are passionate and have strong personalities.

Bhaer was a father like figure who Alcott created in order to make Jo settle down and turn her into a proper wife. Didn't like that at all.

I would have preferred Jo to remain an umarried, successful author rather than marry Prof Bhaer and loser herself in conforming to society's rules and requireemnts. Funny enough, this is what Alcott would have preferred as well. But alas, she had to satisfy her publishers and write what she dismissively referred to as "moral pap" for little girls...ah well...

When you're friends with someone and love them as a brother, you wouldn't want to change your friendship. I think that's why Jo turned down Laurie. Laurie was heartbroken and thus realized that he couldn't be happy unless he was with one of the sisters- they did know him best.

back to top

all discussions on this book | post a new topic

Books mentioned in this topic

Little Women (other topics)