Reader's Ink discussion

11 views
Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott > Question 6: Joseph

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 384 comments Mod
Louisa declares—repeatedly—that it is not possible to have Joseph AND her freedom. Do you buy it? Why or why not?


message 2: by Carol (last edited Sep 20, 2011 08:39AM) (new)

Carol (cajonesdoa) | 640 comments Mod
On the night of the play (thanks again for sharing the link), while reading, I could feel the sexual tension building between them, and was not surprised at all when they made love. I did worry that she would become pregnant, and breathed a sigh of relief when she found out she wasn’t. Could she have both, I debated that a lot while reading, and to make the story what it needed to be or have happen, NO, you can’t have both. I think if the times were different, say in the 90's, 2000's, YES, she could have made it happen, and would have been successful. As I’ve stated before, I was very secure with my singleness, and was quite old before I married for the first time. We are all different, raised different, and have different value systems. Each of those things contribute to what we become and how we think of ourselves and our intimate relations. I found myself attracted to Joseph throughout the book. I often like the naughty, wild boys, and it’s probably because I know I can’t have them that have been attracted to them. Would have been the same here.

At the end of the book, when Louisa went to visit Joseph, I was really moved. To see how much they genuinely still loved each other. Their visit was so touching to me, and to know that he made a good life for himself, and did love Nora, and she him. I can’t help but believe that Nora knew there were still feelings for Louisa by Joseph, but they faded some over the years, and the joy of having their children was so important to him.

I believe it was Bronson who said: “Only an Alcott girl would believe the cure for sadness lies in reading a painstaking recitation of the joys of dying.” (not sure I have the last word right. Can’t read my writing.)

Before the circus, Louisa found out that the Suttons were in financial troubles too. Again, at the circus, could feel the sexual tension between them.
I really liked the book, and it kept me interested, and I looked forward to the next time I could read. I'm having a lot more problems with "March" than I did "Lost Summer."


message 3: by Meghan (new)

Meghan | 115 comments I am going to go out on a limb here and say she could have had both...she was her own worst enemy in this respect. The entire time I was reading the book I wanted to scream at her and shake her becuase I felt at times she was channeling Bronson in her moral high road, at the detriment to her happiness. Who knows if she had to been her own barrier she may have even become a successful writer before Little Women and saved herself years of rejection by having a spouse or partner to support her goals. I realize those were different times and gender roles and spousal roles were vastly different. However the author goes out of her way to portray Joespoh as a progressive forward thinking support of Louisa who was willing to do anything to help her pursue her dreams. In my opinions it was Louisa's stubborn twisted sense of "independance" or a solitary existance that ultimately was the downfall of their relationship. I see that in order for the story to play out the way it did she needed to reject Joseph. However, I feel strongly that Louisa was her own worst enemy in this regard-and thus very much her father's daughter.


message 4: by Julie (new)

Julie | 168 comments It was interesting that as much as they showed Louisa to be impulsive in her own desires, such as after the play, but when Joseph offered her everything she wanted via a train ticket (love, writing, getting out of Waldport), somehow she couldn't do it. Perhaps she was too familiar with a man having lofty ideals but inability to follow through?


message 5: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl | 134 comments I THINK THAT LOISA IS HER OWN WORST ENEMY. SHE'S MUCH MORE CONCERNED WITH APPEARANCES AND REPUTATION THAN JOSEPH, AND AS A WOMAN WRITER, HER FREEDOM WOULD HAVE BEEN COMPROMISED IF SHE WAS RESPONSIBLE FINANCIALLY FOR THE DEBTS OF 2 HOUSEHOLDS. MONEY IS THE KEY TO ANYONE'S FREEDOM, AND BEING CHAINED TO ADDITIONAL DEBT WAS FAR MORE REAL THAN LIVING ON LOVE. BELIEVE ME, LIVING ON LOVE GETS REALLY OLD FAST. AT LEAST SHE HAD THE CLARITY OF THOUGHT TO BE PRAGMATIC. AND ABSENCE DOES LEAD ONE TO ROMANTIC VISIONS OF THE OTHER. OF COURSE THE SPARK WAS STILL THERE AFTER ALL THOSE YEARS! DON'T YOU EVER ROMANTICIZE ABOUT YOUR FIRST BOYFRIEND AND WONDER WHAT HE'S DOING RIGHT NOW? (UNLESS, OF COURSE, YOU MARRIED HIM AND ARE STILL MARRIED TO HIM!)


message 6: by Meghan (new)

Meghan | 115 comments Cheryl that is funny you said that because everyone can romantisize first love's....I know I did...and after realizing the grass was not greener on the other side...married him...so yeah, I completley understand your point


message 7: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 384 comments Mod
I didn't really buy that Louisa had to choose until McNees pointed out that they'd have to support Joseph's sister as well as any kids they have (after all, no birth control). McNees does a good job of detailing the about of work that would have to be done on a daily basis--JUST WITH LINENS! There's no way they could have afforded help. Inevitably, they would have had kids (though McNees could have connected the dots here more overtly, especially with the super sublte pregnancy bullet dodging), and no young mother without a washing machine is gonna find time to write. Believe me. And of course, every year would bring a new kid. So actually, I buy it. I really do. But Joseph isn't the problem; the work of taking care of a 19th-century household with limited $$ and no birth control is!


message 8: by Lauren (new)

Lauren | 251 comments I'm with you Ashley - I kept thinking about all of the work that was involved in running a household in the nineteenth century. Even ignoring the financial constraints, without help, her life would revolve around cooking, laundry, and cleaning - to say nothing of the time involved in raising children (heck, even poor Meg in Little Women had help, wanted to be a mom, and she was overwhelmed!). As Cheryl said, living on love alone gets old fast - especially when that love results in dire financial circumstances from other family members and the sacrifice of one's ambitions.

In some ways, I almost wish McNees hadn't made money as much of an issue, because it would have sharpened the focus on Louisa's desire for independence and her need to write. As it was, in both situations, she was on financially perilous ground but one at least offered her the opportunity do what she wanted with her life. To instead give her the option of financial comfort in a life that would require her to put aside her dreams versus the ability to strike out on her own and write (with no guarantee of success) - I would have loved to read Louisa's conflict over that choice.


message 9: by Carol (new)

Carol (cajonesdoa) | 640 comments Mod
Have enjoyed all your comments, and I think we are all correct just from a little different view point. While reading, I thought about this relationship a lot, and pondered what would I have done if it were me. You all covered it really well, considering the era, the financial concerns, the family dynamics, etc. Thanks Ashley for this pick, and you all's input.


back to top