Sunday, March 22, 2015

Little Women Read-Along: Experiments (Ch. 11)

Is it me, or was this a really long chapter?  Maybe it just felt that way because it's not as fun as the last one, but it took me several days to get through it, whereas usually I read through these in a matter of minutes.  Huh.

Basically, this is a whole chapter devoted to refuting the old saying, "There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and not doing it."  (The internet says Mary Wilson Little coined that phrase, but I couldn't find anything else about her other than some other things she said and a book she had published in 1904.)  I get a kick out of Marmee especially -- Alcott says she "had a good deal of humor" (p. 100), and you can really see it here, can't you?  Squirreling away tasty food for herself so she doesn't have to have the bitter tea and scorched omelet.

But poor Beth, losing her pet bird by neglecting it :-(


Favorite Lines:  

Laure took Amy to drive, which was a deed of charity, for the sour cream seemed to have had a bad effect upon her temper (p. 104).

"Work is wholesome, and there is plenty for everyone" (p. 105).

Possible Discussion Questions:  

Where do you think Marmee went on her "day off?"  

10 comments:

  1. I actually like this chapter because I can relate to it. I HAVE to do something productive in a day or I go to bed feeling like a failure. Marmee's sense of humor is awesome! However, she got kinda preachy again at the end. Basically LMA restated everything the chapter already told...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Ashley, I am exactly that way. Especially when I have a tiny baby to deal with. My husband would get home from work, and I'd be like, "I've done nothing. My great accomplishment today is Not Killing Anyone. No one died of starvation or neglect." I learned with my first kid that if I could make myself a goal of One Task each day, then I would be so much happier at the end of the day if I'd completed it. Even if it was just, "Today I will fold a load of laundry."

      And yeah, she did get preachy again. Oh well.

      Delete
  2. I understand what you mean…it was a good reminder, but it wasn't nearly as fun as many of the other chapters.

    Oh, and I wanted to tell you: I WILL get that guest post to you. I'm (sort of) almost done with it, so it will be coming soon, I promise:D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay for guest posts, Arwen! I'm looking forward to it :-) Do you have my email address? I think I sent it to you, but now I've plumb forgotten.

      Delete
  3. This one was always a favorite of mine simply because of the hilarious dinner-party disaster. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That does get funny, Elisabeth! It makes me think of the time when Anne Shirley almost served drowned-mouse pudding sauce to company. And made cake with liniment instead of vanilla. Makes me feel a bit better about my own culinary mishaps :-)

      Delete
  4. A very good (although quite long!) Chapter and again, plenty to ponder on!
    Work is indeed a great blessing and I think that is what Alcott was trying to bring across in 'Experiments'...
    My favourite quote is this one:
    ''Have regualr hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success...''. So true!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kelly-Anne, I did really like that section too. It's a good point to be made, if not a fun one. And that, of course, is the point -- only fun things aren't actually all that fun eventually.

      Delete
  5. I've always rather liked this chapter, except for Beth's poor bird!! I still can't quite believe Alcott actually chose to have it die. It seems to get sadder each time I read it. *sigh*

    But answering your thought question -- I've always thought Marmee went off on charitable errands all day. It seems like her. But she might have gone calling, too, I suppose. I don't have the book in front of me, but near the end it makes kind of an interesting statement about her day not seeming to have gone much better than theirs, doesn't it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it's a bit shocking that the bird dies -- but it really brings home the lesson, and also makes Beth less perfect, which I think is important.

      I thought perhaps Marmee went shopping and calling -- and yes, she did say her day didn't go well either, so I figured she did things she didn't normally get to do. Like me going to the thrift store without my kids, hee.

      Delete

What do you think?

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)