Know what I think is awesome? That Alcott doesn't make her heroines great at everything they try. Even the activities they're passionate about don't come easily to them. And this whole chapter is a great example of that. Amy loves art, she wants desperately to make Art that Matters and is Important. And, well... she doesn't. She keeps trying, but she doesn't turn out to be magically imbued with innate artistic talent that, when she strikes upon the right medium, bursts forth in boundless glory and makes her famous and renowned and respected overnight.
And I find her trying and failing and still trying some more to be a whole lot more relate-able and inspiring, don't you?
Charcoal portraits came next, and the entire family hung in a row, looking as wild and crocky as if just evoked from a coalbin (p. 230).
Mrs. March knew that experience was an excellent teacher, and when it was possible she left her children to learn alone the lessons which she would gladly have made easier, if they had not objected to taking advice as much as they did salts and senna (p. 232).
Possible Discussion Questions:
Were you shocked when only one girl showed up for Amy's party?
Alcott opens the chapter by remarking, "It takes people a long time to learn the difference between talent and genius" (p. 229). How would you describe the difference?