2022 Reading Challenge discussion

Little Women
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ARCHIVE 2016 > Little Women: Chapter 14-25

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message 1: by Winter, Group Reads (new) - rated it 4 stars

Winter (winter9) | 4630 comments This is the discussion thread for The Shining Chapter 14-25

Imbunche | 156 comments Is anyone else bothered by how Jo acts when it comes to Meg and Brooke's relationship? She is 16, but she acts like a bratty seven year old. I love Jo when it comes to anything else, but this just bothers me.

Trix Wilkins (marchandlaurence) | 8 comments Yes, it's a strange thing how Jo behaves regarding Meg and John - it doesn't really make sense in the context of the story (there doesn't seem to be an obvious reason why Jo would object to any of her sisters marrying, given the loving relationship between her parents, and she hasn't had that pain of experiencing heartache herself). I read in a biography that perhaps this was Alcott's angst about her own parents' marriage coming out - about her mother being forced to work really hard to provide for the family (unjustly, it seemed to Louisa), because her father thought work was below him...

Mindy Jones (mindyrecycles) I didn't object to Jo's jealousy, although I admit 16 was old for such an extreme reaction. My brother cried piteously when he found out I was engaged, but he was 10 years old! I think notions of what was mature at what ages and what wasn't was very different from what we know now. The March girls seem incredibly immature to me in some ways and perfectly mature in others.

Cassandra | 5832 comments I interpreted Jo's reaction to Meg and John's relationship to be less about her fear that John wouldn't be a good match (unlike Aunt March) and more a fear of change. Jo loves her sisters fiercely and complains several times that she doesn't want any of them to get married so they can carry on together as they always have.

Do you think part of it could be Jo's own fear of being courted and married off?

What do you think about Jo's relationship with Laurie?

Imbunche | 156 comments Yes, I never felt that Jo does not like John in particular, but rather does not like the idea of a romantic relationship for her sister. But this kind of behaviour seemed really out of place at her age.

As for Jo and Lourie that was the only relationship that actually made sense to me in the book, and I was really dissappointed about what happened.

Trix Wilkins (marchandlaurence) | 8 comments Cassandra, I like your question, "Do you think part of it could be Jo's own fear of being courted and married off?"

Yes - I think Jo is perfectly aware that real life marriages are not like romances in the novels she's reading, and even says that she likes them but only in books. I think she knows that there are things that happen in real life that books don't go into, because they are not enjoyable to read about, and that's what's frightening for her - particularly if she were to marry a poor man.

I don't think Jo objected to John marrying Meg because of his character - but because she knows with poverty comes hardship. Women didn't have the conveniences we have today - all the washing, cooking, cleaning, sewing, growing food, etc, not to mention pregnancy and caring for children, took a lot more manual labor and time (especially when women were expected to carry the brunt of most if not all the household work). Later on she reveals to her mother exactly who she had pictured Meg marrying so that her sister "could sit in the lap of luxury all her days" and that she's unhappy about that plan being spoiled.

Jo and Laurie - I thoroughly enjoyed reading about their friendship in this section. The book started off with the fun of a new friendship - all the running and skating together, going to the theatre, performing plays, etc. This section went into the tension a bit more in terms of conflict and disagreements, living through some difficult times of stress and uncertainty, and how they handled them. I like how Laurie cheered Jo on when he finds out about her attempts to get published, how Jo 'managed' the reconciliation between Laurie and his grandfather after Laurie's prank on Meg, that they both wanted to reconcile after spending a day miffed with each other, Laurie's comforting Jo while they were waiting for Mrs March to return for Beth, and Jo's encouraging Laurie to continue in his generosity in the same way as his looking out for a poorer student at school. The relationship increases in depth and appreciation between the two for each other's character and talents, as well as understanding of and working around (or even working with) each other's weaknesses.

By the end of Chapter 23 it seems that the two have established the foundations for a lasting relationship, especially with this exchange:
"I'm not good for much, I know; but I'll stand by you Jo, all the days of my life; upon my word I will!"
"I know you will, and I'm ever so much obliged; you are always a great comfort to me, Teddy."

Zoë Neo | 214 comments I definitely think fear of change was a factor in Jo's reaction. They are such a close family and they have their routines and Meg getting married would change that.

I agree that 16 does seem a bit old for such an extreme reaction but when I read it she seems younger than 16 in the way she acts, so the reaction didn't completely surprise me.

message 9: by Becky (new) - added it

Becky | 131 comments I agree that I think Jo was just afraid of losing her older sister. I am so happy that Meg married John though. I think they are a good match and I loved when Meg told off her Aunt. I thought that part was really great.

I'm excited to see what happens to Jo now that Meg isn't around to help keep her in check. Also, the way Laurie was talking about how Jo would be next has me very curious.

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