Sunday, March 15, 2015

Little Women Read-Along: Jo Meets Apollyon (Ch. 8)


Ouch.  This is a painful chapter for me.  A really good one, but painful.  First, I feel Jo's horror over losing her book so keenly, because I have lost writing before, thanks to computer glitches or whatever, and oh, that's awful.  And second, I have a temper, just like Jo.  I have spent my life trying to control it, like she does, and I'm afraid I'm not nearly as good as Marmee at keeping a lid on my anger.  So I get convicted by this chapter, reminded that I need to pray for help more often and work harder at not losing my temper.

Actually, that whole part at the end, where Jo is astonished to learn Marmee also has a temper -- that scene played out in my house last week.  My son Sam is seven and also has a pretty fierce temper, and as I was putting him to bed after a particularly difficult day, his request for what to pray about was learning to control his temper.  So we prayed about that, and I prayed about help with my temper too.  Afterward, he said, "Mommy, do you have a bad temper?"  And I explained that yes, I've been working to control it all my life, just like him.  And then this afternoon I was reading this chapter and going, "Whoa!  It's exactly me and Sam!"  

Favorite Lines:

It seemed a small loss to others, but to Jo it was a dreadful calamity, and she felt it never could be made up to her.  Beth mourned as for a departed kitten, and Meg refused to defend her pet (p. 68).

The knowledge that her mother had a fault like hers, and tried to mend it, made her own easier to bear and strengthened her resolution to cure it (p. 72).

Possible Discussion Questions:

Marmee said it was easier for her to control her temper for her daughters' sakes than for her own.  Do you find it easier to overcome a fault if it helps someone other than yourself?

18 comments:

  1. I KNOW. I FEEL SO BAD FOR JO. Argh!!! HER MANUSCRIPT. The pooor girl. As you said, I relate to her temper too - this chapter is so real for me.

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    1. Of course, part of the loss is her fault because she'd just copied it out and destroyed the original -- if she'd kept the original, she wouldn't have lost everything. A warning for us to keep old drafts too, just in case!

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    2. Yes, I like to keep all my drafts, even if they are 'in the way' sometimes.

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  2. Ooooh...''Ouch'' indeed! There was quite a bit of preaching in this chapter, but I truly appreciated how wisely and gently Alcott told the story of Jo and her 'bosom enemy'! It gives me great hope to know others also struggle to keep a hot temper under control! Usually I have to battle impatience, which is not easy to cure either...:). I find it easier to face my faults knowing that I have a Father in Heaven who is watching me - I don't want to disapoint Him, and that drives me on! Also, like Mrs March, I have little girls watching me, only they're my younger sisters...
    I felt Jo's pain keenly in this chapter, even though I personally haven't experienced losing a manuscript, but oh! It must have been SO dreadful!

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    1. Impatience is another issue for me. Especially when someone little wants to "help" me, and I know that will make it take twice as long. But "helping" lets them learn, so I try and try and try to be patient, sometimes more successfully than other times.

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  3. What Amy does to Jo in this chapter is incredibly vicious and cruel. She knows full well how hard Jo has worked on the book and that it's a present for their father. I think Jo's anger with Amy is quite righteous... at first. What Amy did to Jo was absolutely awful but Jo needed to forgive Amy and be the bigger person only she couldn't get there. In the end it took Amy almost dying for Jo to let go of her anger. It's quite a brutal lesson!

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    1. Yes, it's definitely a hard, hard chapter, isn't it, Hannah? I would have been angry too, and I think the point is that Jo lets her anger go on too long -- she needed to let her anger die down and forgive Amy instead of feeding the fires, so to speak.

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  4. Although I am not now rereading LW, I am doing so vicariously by enjoying your postings and the comments. Keep up the great work.

    As for my own reading, I am about to launch into works by LMA's contemporaries: Hawthorne, Melville, Thoreau, and Emerson. That should keep me busy for years.

    And since the Concordians are the topic of discussion, what you are favorite works by those folks? Do you think a read-along challenge at Beyond Eastrod would be of interest to anyone?

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    1. I'm glad you're enjoying the posts, R.T.! I've done that before -- read the blog posts of a read-along that I didn't have time to join "for real" to experience a little of the book, anyway.

      I myself like Hawthorne okay, haven't read enough Melville to know if I like him or not, find Thoreau mind-boggling and odd, and like Emerson pretty well. I do really want to read "Moby-Dick" because I never have, and was thinking maybe later this year, so that would definitely be a read-along choice I would be interested in. Or maybe looking at some of Emerson's poetry in-depth next month, since April is National Poetry Month?

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    2. Hamlette, if you are thinking of reading Moby-Dick, you might want to consider my posting today at Beyond Eastrod (i.e., a read-along opportunity lurks within the posting):
      http://beyondeastrod.blogspot.com/2015/03/top-ten-tuesday-top-ten-books-on-my.html

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  5. Oh! I am so enjoying your posts! I need to catch up and write some of my own thoughts out. I sooooo empathize with Jo in this chapter. I can have a very strong temper and I know that feeling of just completely losing it. However, if I were Marmee, I would have been harder on Amy. Before she nearly drowned, I mean. Because, obviously, burning people's manuscripts displays terrible self control and a pretty wicked temper of her own. And, were I Marmee, I would have been all over that. Now, obviously, after Amy's drowning incident, I wouldn't have scolded, but beforehand? There would have been some serious talks just like the one Jo got.

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    1. CGrace, I agree! Marmee barely scolded Amy, and I think some kind of reprimand would be called for, at the very least. Burning someone's book to get back at them for not taking you to a play is WAY worse, in my opinion, than not speaking to someone for a couple days because they destroyed something you'd worked hard on.

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    2. Oh! And maybe that serves to show us that Marmee isn't perfect either, huh?

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  6. I. Do. Not. Like. This. Chapter. :S That is....this time around I started seeing how truly beautiful it is at the end -- and the bit on the ice has always been gripping and tingly (particularly when Laurie goes whizzing by her ;)) -- but still, ouch! Not a favorite. I've never been able to understand how Amy could actually do it!!!!! I mean, when I was growing up such a thing would have been unthinkable. Yes, my siblings and I had arguments: there were some extreme Lego altercations, etc, but even in our hottest moments we never would have dreamed of actually smashing or destroying the object. (And I'm not trying to be goody-two-shoes or anything. ;)) It's just that such a contemplation seemed TOO awful. I mean, what would have happened???

    And (I do know this isn't the moral of the chapter :)), but never ever EVER discard your back-ups!!!

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    1. Heidi, I have to admit that, in the heat of an angry altercation between me and my brother, I have smashed Lego creations. But not behind his back! Right when we were fighting. I think that's what bothers me the most about Amy's actions here -- she's sneaky.

      And yes, save all backups. And previous drafts, because what if you change something and then realize it should not have changed? I've learned that one the hard way.

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  7. This was a hard chapter to read. Poor Jo, I really feel for her (and I agree Amy got off to easily), and sadly, I think I would have reacted pretty much the same way. Forgiving something like that would take some time, but it's still true what Marmee says that it is best to le go of your anger immeditely.

    It was such a moving conversation between Jo and Marmee, I don't think I have ever appreciated it as much as this time.

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    1. Yes, Rose, this is such a hard chapter! And although I'm not a grudge-holder, I think it would have taken me a couple days to cool off too, were I in Jo's shoes.

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