Thursday, March 19, 2015

Little Women Read-Along: The P.C. and P.O. (Ch. 10)


This is a whimsical and fun chapter, isn't it?  Kind of a refreshing change after all the earnestness and serious contemplations of the last few chapters.  I don't know about you, but I've always wanted to write up a humorous newspaper like theirs.  I wrote a very serious family newspaper when I was like ten, and kept it up for several years, but it was me on my own and not nearly as fun as if I had had literary-minded siblings.  And yes, I totally got the idea for that from this book :-)

My copy says that Alcott and her sisters really held a Pickwick Club and wrote up funny newspapers exactly like this.  I love that, don't you?

Favorite Lines:

"Hear!  Hear!" cried Jo, clashing the lid of the warming pan like a cymbal (p. 96).

Possible Discussion Questions:

Do you think the girls ever let Marmee read their paper?

Did you ever take up an activity inspired by a book you read?

16 comments:

  1. Oh my, so many of my childhood activities were inspired by wonderful books I'd read. The many, many plays put on in the backyard were inspired in part by the Melendys by Elizabeth Enright. That's just one example I can think of off the top of my head. Oh, and I, too, wrote newspapers inspired by the Marches.

    I do wonder if the girls shared their papers with Marmee. I know that, when I wrote up my little papers for awhile, I proudly shared them with anybody who would stand still for 5 minutes, so I suppose that the March sisters did.

    This is one of my favorite chapters, too!

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    1. My son is madly in love with the Melendy books. Until last week, Spiderweb for Two was his favorite book. (It's been supplanted by an abridgment of Ivanhoe.) They really are wonderful!

      CGrace, I made my family read my newspapers too (in fact, I distributed copies), and later made them read my stories (including any visiting relatives), and so I too think they probably shared them with Marmee, maybe after their meetings.

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  2. Now, I entirely love this chapter! There's something so fresh and lovely about it -- and it's so very fun. I particularly love when Jo pulls Laurie (Samuel Weller, that is) out of the closet. Also, the story of the English earl....I end up grinning every time. :)

    And yes, when I was somewhere around 12-13 I actually ran a literary newsletter for a little while. It got to be a lot of work (and the circulation never wildly expanded ;)), so it dwindled in about a year. But I was quite serious about it and I'm pretty positive it was inspired by LW.

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    1. Heidi, it's got the same feel as the chapter about the play, don't you think?

      That's so fun that you did a newspaper too!

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  3. Regarding your 2nd question, like Hazel Motes in Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood, I have become a Christian malgre lui (in spite of myself).

    Regarding Little Women, do you think the novels succeeds beyond a children's book, which was Alcott's original commission? I'm not certain that it makes the grade to adult novel. But I could be wrong. And if I am, I suspect someone will correct me. Hmmmm.

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    1. I do think the novel succeeds beyond being a children's book, though certainly I take great pleasure in reading Young Adult books and Junior Fiction, so perhaps I'm not the best judge. I want a good story well told with characters I like, and this certainly fulfills those. Also, reading it now in my 30s for the first time in more than half my lifetime, I am finding it both deeper and faster-to-read than I had remembered -- the former because I'm a more perspicacious reader than I was as a teen, and the latter likely because I'm also a faster reader than I was then.

      Compared to adult novels of its day, such as The Mill on the Floss and Great Expectations? Certainly not in the same realm. But compared to adult and children's fiction of today, it certainly rises above the majority of them, in my opinion.

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  4. This is a fun chapter... it inspired a few of my younger sisters to start a family paper which lasted for a few issues before they moved on to something else. Also, after reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, my brother & I whiled away the hours of a family trip by making a game of observing people around us and trying to deduce facts about them. The less we had to go on, the more improbable and ludicrous our deductions became... obviously neither of us was destined for a career as a consulting detective... but it was good fun.

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    1. Lynn M, I did the same thing after first reading Sherlock Holmes stories! I used to look at all the license plates around us when my parents were at a gas station and try to remember as many as I could, or notice every detail of a room somewhere and then try to recall them later. Discovered I was woefully bad at that, definitely not destined to be a consulting detective :-)

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  5. ...Does this chapter make you feel all warm and cosy inside, too...? On reading this chapter again (it was always one of my least favourites...perhaps it is the print in my book that is extra small and really hard to read...?) I was captured by the closeness of the sisters and of the fun they invented for themselves! Instead of being miserable and dull, they ensured their minds were being put to good use throughout the week thinking of bits to add to their paper and then meeting once a week!
    While my sisters and I have never done a family paper, it has been talked and thought about.... Unfortunately I have always been a little preoccupied with other hobbies, and my sisters are in fact much younger than me, excluding my fifteen year old sister who is a regular Jo!
    I thought it very brave of the girls to admit Laurie - just shows what kind, compassionate hearts they posessed...
    Ooh! Can't wait for more - this read-along is simply wonderful - thank you for hosting, Hamlette!

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    1. Absolutely, Kelly-Anne! I completely agree. Just a friendly, homey chapter.

      And yes, it was brave of them to allow Laurie to join them -- it's hard to share nonsense, and adding someone to a group always changes it in various ways.

      Thanks for participating, Kelly-Anne! I'm glad you're enjoying this :-)

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  6. This chapter has always been one of my favorites. I think my favorite line in the newspaper is "N.W. must not fret because his dress has not nine tucks."

    There's a chapter a lot like this in E. Nesbit's The Story of the Treasure Seekers where the children in the story write their own newspaper, and it's just as funny if not funnier!

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    1. You know, Elisabeth, I don't think I've read that particular E. Nesbit story. I loved The Railway Children as a kid, and I remember reading Five Children and It, but I don't think I read any of the Bastable books. Not that I recall, anyway. I'll have to see if I can find that one at the library! Thanks for the recommendation.

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  7. I had a family newspaper with some of my nieces when I was a teenager, but I don't believe that was inspired by the Marches. I didn't get to know the Marches until ater my teens (the thing with being Dutch and getting to know famous English children's classics when you're an adult)

    I definitely was inspired by books I read though, I read a lot of horse stories when I was a young teen and tried out many things I read in there with my own pony!

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    1. You had your own pony. Wow. I would have loooooooved to have my own horse or pony when I was a kid. I read every horse book I could find.

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    2. Yep, a Shetlander called Giandra. I had her for 18 years in total! After a few years she got company from another Shetlander for my younger sister. We had so much fun with these sweet animals!

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    3. Wow! That sounds delightful :-)

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