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Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott > Question 1: Society and Love

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message 1: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 384 comments Mod
Consider this quote: “If only society were not so narrow in its notions of love and companionship! . . . Surely it pleased God to see love grow thick and verdant in the light of equality and friendship. And yet it could not be” (p. 210). How does Louisa need society to change in order to be with Joseph? How does “society” affect the viability of their relationship?


message 2: by Carol (new)

Carol (cajonesdoa) | 640 comments Mod
Wierd....when I started responding to the questions, I didn't have a question #1 show up in my list, so that I why I'm delayed in responding. I feel I answered this question fairly well in a later post. I feel that the times were a lot more conducive to "spinsterhood" than they are today. How many of us have that spinster aunt that we've talked about. I had two of them. They were two professional women who were successful in business and made good money, and were secure with themselves. One of them dated and was serious with a man, but they eventually broke up. She was a school teacher, and was very successful in the stock market. The other one lived with her parents her whole life and she was the chief telephone operator at United States Steel for 40 years, and kept the family home when her parents died. She didn't have men in her life, but she worked her whole career and was VERY good at it.


message 3: by Julie (new)

Julie | 168 comments I think the concept of "society" frequently plays into relationships and the choices we make. Sometimes society is a little more strict, with laws prohibiting certain people from marrying each other. Other times, which is more in Louisa's case, it is more a fear of hushed gossip and (dis)approving looks. I read a really interesting book that discussed the history of marriage, which has taken on many forms outside of what we typically see today. Some of the most interesting marriages were "ghost marriages," where women in China would marry a deceased man in order to get his wealth, start businesses, and not be relegated to the duties of home. In Louisa's time, marriage was somewhat about societal standing, which did not appear to be of much interest to her. (The ghost marriage, on the other hand, probably would have been of huge interest to her!) The idea that she could "have it all," a husband, a career, children (or not), was not one that was commonly accepted yet. Society had choices for women: wife/mother/homemaker or spinster. Who knows, if she had been born 50 or so years later, her story may have ended much differently.


message 4: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl | 134 comments JULIE, I AGREE. AND CERTAINLY HER FATHER WAS ENOUGH OF A SOCIETAL REBEL TO INSURE THAT ALL OF THE ALCOTT GIRLS WOULD HAVE DIFFICULTY FINDING A SUITABLE HUSBAND, AT LEAST BY SOCIETY'S STANDARDS. WHAT IF THE GRANDCHILDREN WERE WIERD TOO??


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