Thursday, March 5, 2015

Little Women Read-Along: The Laurence Boy (Ch. 3)


Hurrah!  Laurie's here at last!  I'm very fond of Laurie, though I have to admit I'm not entirely sure why.  Hmm.  Maybe because when I was very young, my best friend was a boy, and we had lots of capital adventures together until I was 8 and he was 10 and he decided girls were icky.  Laurie never goes through that stage, so I suppose I like him especially much because he remains friends with the March girls.

One of the themes I've noticed in the book so far is what happens when you pretend to be someone or something you aren't.  In this chapter, Jo burns Meg's hair while trying to curl it for the holiday party, and Meg says, "Serves me right for trying to be fine."  A couple of paragraphs later, Alcott wryly observes, "dear me, let us be elegant or die" (p. 24).  Jo had earlier promised Meg, "I'll be as prim as I can and not get into any scrapes if I can help it" (p. 23) at the party, but when she meets Laurie, it's Jo being her usual self that overcomes his shyness, "for Jo's gentlemanly demeanor amused and set him at his ease, and Jo was her merry self again" (p. 27).

Favorite Lines:

Jo, who didn't care much for girls or girlish gossip, stood about, with her back carefully against the wall, and felt as much out of place as a colt in a flower garden (p. 25).

Possible Discussion Questions:

Have you noticed any other themes so far in these early chapters?

21 comments:

  1. Kind of wish I had a copy of this book now! I have not read it for nearly 30 years now, and this is making me remember how much I liked it!

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    1. Aww. I um... can fix that problem for you if you want. I was going to send you a box sometime next week anyway.

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  2. I loved that line "let us be elegant or die," as well:D

    Yay for Laurie's entrance!

    I suppose just the overall theme of the girls struggling to find contentment and joy even in the "hum-drums" of life--their successes and their failures. Makes for a very relatable book;)

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    1. Isn't it a fun line? I'm waiting for a good time to use it in conversation now.

      Joy and contentment in regular life -- huge theme here, I agree. And something we all can strive for!

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  3. One thing Laurie's brotherly behavior toward the March girls is always reminding me of is how blessed I am to have such a good friend in MY brother!

    Which brings me to the fact of how much I love ALL the '"sibling" interactions in this story! :)

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    1. Yes! Some of the best sibling portrayals I've seen. I'm very fascinated by siblings, and write about them a lot myself. I'm wondering if I loved this book and others like "The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew" as a kid because I was already fascinated by siblings, or if they helped form that focus for me. Hmm.

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  4. "Let us be elegant or die" is one of my favorite lines too. :)

    I'd forgotten that Jo's meeting Laurie at the party comes before she visits him at home, since both movie versions I've seen have the party afterwards. And I have to keep reminding myself how young these characters are—when I was a little girl, fifteen seemed completely grown up, but now it's hard to wrap my head around the notion that they're ten years younger than me.

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    1. It's just such a fun line!

      And yes, they're just teens. I'm much closer in age to Marmee than to any of the girls at this point, which is just mind-blowing.

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  5. You're making me want to read Little Women, something I haven't done since I was 15-years-old! Yeah, it's been a long time. I wonder where my copy is lurking. Hmm.

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    1. At least now I've seen Midnight in Paris so I know what your header is from!

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    2. I was in my teens the last time I read it too. Been too long!

      And yay! Now you know :-) Weren't the scenes in the 1920s fun? Not the best movie ever, over all, but all the stuff in the past makes me grin and grin.

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  6. ''Hooray for Laurie!''. My sentiments exactly - I thought this chapter describing the frivolities of the party perfectly woven together!! And yay! So glad the girls befriended Laurie - I've never had a close friend who was a boy, but I've always longed for one - or a brother! :)
    And I just love how the sisters were greeted by the younger girls when they got home and Jo had saved some treats for them! My heart was thoroughly warmed by the closeness of the March family and yes...isn't it interesting how they try to pretend - poor Jo tried to be elegant when speaking to Laurie, but it sadly failed when he said - ''Yes, right next door!''
    Aww! I'm just loving this book and the lovely read-along - it makes reading even more interesting:)

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    1. I'm so glad you're enjoying the read-along! I'm having great fun with it as well.

      The March sisters are a pretty realistic view of siblings, I think. They squabble and spat, they have moments of unselfishness and perfect harmony, they get annoyed, they forgive -- it's great!

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  7. Oh, this read along is so much fun! I'm really noticing the theme of contentment and lack of contentment. Really, lack of contentment is what fuels all of their problems and contentment is what fixes them. Lovely post!

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    1. I'm so happy so many people are enjoying this :-) You included!

      You're so right -- contentment is the key for them, isn't it. And so often in real life too.

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  8. Laurie makes me happy too. He's like an angel for the March. I think they truly found each other, true friendship, sharing comfort and trust.

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    1. Both Laurie and his grandfather do so many wonderful things for the Marches! Beginning with the carriage ride home for poor Meg and her twisted ankle. And the Marches help Laurie and his grandfather come to understand each other better, too. True friendship indeed.

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  9. I hadn't realized just how "young" Laurie is here! Seems I always forget.... Doesn't matter, though. He's just all around splendid -- the perfect brother-figure! :)

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    1. I had forgotten how young ALL of them are at the beginning! Probably because when I was really into Alcott, I was about Amy's age, so they all seemed "older" to me, and have stuck in my head that way.

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  10. I loved all the sibling interactions in this chapter. I don't have a sister myself, but I can imagine what fun it would be to dress up for a party together.

    And Laurie, I had almost forgotten how much I love him. I really like his and Jo's conversation - especially when she tries to be ladylike but forgets about it when she gets excited.

    As many have already said in comments I really notice the theme of being content with your situation in life.

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    1. And that lesson of being content is something Laurie has to learn as well! I like how he gets tied to that theme too.

      I don't have any sisters either, but I remember similar dressing-up-to-go-have-fun experiences in college with my roommates and friends -- they were such fun!

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What do you think?

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