Friday, April 17, 2015

Little Women Read-Along: Aunt March Settles the Question (Ch. 23)

And here we are, at the final chapter of Book I.  Which means we'll be taking a one-week break before beginning Book II -- time for the giveway, for people to catch up, for people to take a break, whatever.  


Is it just me, or does Jo need to quit trying to convince Meg to act like, well, Jo?  Jo is fearless and determined, and against Meg marrying John Brooke, and she wants Meg to be the same.  By the end of the chapter, she does seem to have grown up a bit about the whole thing, at least.

Isn't that last paragraph interesting?  Like Alcott is basically asking her readers to tell her whether or not she should write a sequel.  "If you buy my book, then I'll write you another."  Imagine if a modern-day writer put that at the end of their story!  What sort of reaction would they get?  Anyway, it amused me.


Favorite Lines:

He was grave and pale now, and looked decidedly more like the novel heroes whom she admired, but he neither slapped his forehead, nor tramped about the room as they did (p. 204).

"You've got me, anyhow.  I'm not good for much, I know, but I'll stand by you, Jo, all the days of my life.  Upon my word I will!" and Laurie meant what he said (p. 209).


Possible Discussion Questions:  A few chapters ago (in "Confidential"), Jo "planned to have [Meg] marry Teddy by-and-by and sit in the lap of luxury all her days" (p. 183).  Why do you think she's so against Meg marrying John Brooke, but perfectly happy with the idea of her marrying Laurie?

It says, "Aunt March possessed in perfection the art of rousing the spirit of opposition in the gentlest people, and enjoyed doing it" (p. 205).  Do you think maybe she almost meant to get Meg to make up her mind about Mr. Brooke by demanding Meg not marry him?

15 comments:

  1. That last quote reminds me of the bit in one of the Anne of Green Gables books (the second, I think) where Anne asks Marilla why she always wants to rush out and do the opposite of whatever Mrs. Lynde tells her to do...and Marilla admits that Mrs. Lynde has that effect on everybody, even Marilla.

    (I always get a kick out of Aunt March calling Mr. Brooke by a different name every time she mentions him in this scene.)

    I get the idea Jo felt if Meg married Laurie, she would be right next door and easily accessible, and Jo could fancy more easily that she was still part of the family—Jo seems to have gotten to regard the Laurences as family, though I don't see why she couldn't have included Mr. Brooke too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hee! I don't remember that moment, but yes, Mrs. Lynde has that effect, doesn't she?

      I actually circled the different things Aunt March called Mr. Brooke because they were so amusing.

      And you're probably right, Jo figures marrying Laurie would keep Meg in the family, as it were. But Mr. Brooke won't be living there after Laurie's done with school, I imagine, so it's not the same.

      Delete
  2. I'll admit…I think John and Meg are really, really sweet in the book;D I feel like in the movie (the '94 version, at least), they sort of switch the personalities of those two, but in the book they're just adorable!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're very sweet together, I agree. Especially in this chapter, where they're sort of shyly absorbed with each other.

      Delete
  3. Didn't Jo also make a comment earlier about Meg being able to sit in the lap of luxury if she married Laurie? I've always thought that was a bit of her reasoning about it (though she's definitely also picturing them falling in love, etc).

    And yay! I can't believe we already finished the first book! I'll need to get working on my Amy post soon and I'm also hoping to do a review for the 1949 film on my blog sometime before we finish. Sound good?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, she did say that. I suppose she was thinking of Meg's missing the finer things of life and wanting to give them to her that way.

      And yay! Send me the Amy post whenever you like, and I'll hold it for when we read a very Amy-centric chapter. And if you do a review of the 1949 on your own blog, I'll link to it from here.

      Delete
    2. Great! And yes, I'm still actually pulling together ideas and have to write up the post, but I'll be working on it as soon as I can.

      (Incidentally, this break between the books has hit the perfect, "busy" week for me -- so it's quite perfect. ;))

      Delete
    3. See? How did I end up using "perfect" twice in one sentence? I NEVER do that.... *sigh* I really need to get off the computer here and busy doing some house things. :)

      Delete
    4. Yeah, it's perfectly perfect timing for me too, as I was getting super behind on some things, and had a book come in on hold at the library that I've been waiting months for, so... a break was in order :-) Means we won't finish until into June, but who cares.

      And that was my morning, I'm afraid. "Oh, one more comment to reply to. I'll just answer one more email..." and then school didn't get started until almost 11. I'm ready for this school year to be done!

      Delete
  4. I think it is because Jo considers Laurie family, while not knowing Mr Brooke nearly as well. Also, as close as she and Laurie are, she knows she would always be a part of their lives in a way she probably wouldn't if Meg married anyone else. Then too, having arranged everyone's lives for them so nicely in her mind, she may have been a wee bit disgruntled when they didn't cooperate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That all makes a great deal of sense. Especially the last part -- I know I get really huffy when people make me change my plans or don't do what I tell/want them to.

      Delete
  5. I think Alcott talking to the reader was interesting, because it seems like an eternal trace of her thoughts. It has different effect from such in biographies and essays. I don't know whether this style will suit any modern-day writers or not. Time changes everything :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's an interesting point! I generally get a kick out of it whenever an author directly addresses their audience, because like you say, it's a direct communication of their thoughts to us, even more direct from their fiction.

      Delete
  6. ...And so ends one of my favourite books of all time! This much loved story ends beautifully, I think.
    I love how Meg flits about and doesn't make up her mind until Aunt March's visit causes her to examine her heart and realise that Mr Brooke actaully has a special place within...
    I have so enjoyed reading everyone's comments and the discussions have certainly allowed me to spend more time thinking about each chapter. I am so looking forward to the next part - I unfortunately don't have the book at the moment, but will have a look at the library soon!
    Thank you so much, Hamlette!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it an interesting bit of human nature that we often need someone to oppose us before we can really figure out what we want?

      Thank you for participating so faithfully in the first half of the read-along! I look forward to many more good discussions in the next several weeks.

      Delete

What do you think?

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)