Saturday, March 7, 2015
Little Women Read-Along: Burdens (Ch. 4)
A bit of a grim title for this one, huh? And not at all subtle about what a big theme of the book is, either! Burdens, and how we bear them, is obviously a major focus of this book.
Speaking of lack of subtlety... Alcott is not afraid to impart lessons to her audience in obvious ways, is she? Like Jo, I enjoy stories that have a morals, "if they are real and not too preachy" (p. 40). What do you think of Alcott's lessons and morals in this book? Do you find them too preachy? That's our Discussion Question for the day.
In the introduction to my copy, there's a mention of the fact that while Alcott does dispense a lot of advice and wisdom, that was pretty usual for children's books in her day. What set Little Women apart from its counterparts was the fact that these girls are not perfect, but struggle to become better people. A lot more realistic (and, to my mind, inspiring) than an already-perfect person like, say, Little Lord Fauntleroy.
Meanwhile, the girls have all gone off to do their daily duties. I feel sorriest for Meg, having to deal with a house full of spoiled brats all day. Amy has to go to school with people who look down on her, which is not pleasant either. I think I'd like to have Jo or Beth's places best -- either read someone to sleep and then curl up in their library, or just stay home and be useful. I think Jo and Aunt March are actually a lot alike, don't you? Both obstinate and peppery and fond of adventure stories.
The whole "works righteousness" thing gets emphasized again here too. First Beth tells herself, "I know I'll get my music some time, if I'm good" (p. 37), and at the end of the chapter, the girls discuss their blessings and "try to deserve them, lest they should be taken away entirely, instead of increased" (p. 40).
"I like good strong words that mean something" (p. 33).