Saturday, April 11, 2015

Little Women Read-Along: Confidential (Ch. 20)

Marmee's home!  And busy as can be, dealing with the fallout of her absence and Beth's illness.  

I actually disagree with Marmee's thought that Amy's having a quiet place to think nice thoughts and pray will be more useful than a ring to remind her to not be selfish.  I myself find that a physical reminder of a trait or habit is extremely useful -- I've used various rings and bracelets over the years to remind myself to be peaceful, patient, and courageous.  They've helped me a lot.

But anyway, poor Jo, all distraught at the idea of her home getting broken up.  I have to smile at how melodramatic she gets, but I completely sympathize with her sorrow over the prospect of having their lives change.  I hate change myself, very much.

Favorite Lines:

"...she'll go and fall in love, and there's an end of peace and fun, and cozy times together.  I see it all!  They'll go lovering around the house, and we shall have to dodge" (p. 182).

"I know, by experience, how much genuine happiness can be had in a plain little house, where the daily bread is earned, and some privations give sweetness to the few pleasures (p. 182).

Possible Discussion Questions:

Alcott doesn't describe Marmee's reunion with her daughters, but "leave[s] it to the imagination of [her] readers" (p. 178).  Do you think that's a wise choice, or is it lazy writing?

How do you think change-hating Jo dealt with their father going off to war?


  1. Another lovely review! I think that Marmee's reunion is better kept private. I think that sometimes writers can "over-write", giving their characters no time away from the readers. I don't know if that makes sense. Maybe it was lazy writing, but I think that writing something as intimate and emotion-filled as that reunion could never be captured in words. And, if attempted, would fall short of what that event would actually be like.

    1. Jane Austen does this a lot too, especially with her novel's endings. And while it frustrates me, because I want to see and hear these characters I love, I do feel like sometimes, less is more.

  2. Yes, I agree...less is often more and I liked the fact that the reunion wasn't described...
    Don't you just love how Aunt March actually sniffed and didn't scold when Laurie told his story?!
    I can't believe we are nearing the end of this delightful read-along! I have so enjoyed all the extra interesting bits discussed here!

    1. Well... heh heh... we're almost done with the first half. I'm planning to continue on with book two, since most editions include both. But I know some people are planning to quit after the first half, which is why I'm doing a giveaway at the end of it, and then another at the end of both.

      And yes, yay for Aunt March! I really quite like her.

  3. Okay, here I am. ;) I have been keeping up, though alas, I rather fell off from commenting of late. ;p

    But the reunion! I think it might be a leetle teensie bit of lazy writing, but I think it might also just get to be too much if she'd included a play-by-play -- happy scenes can actually drag, too. It does seem to be an Alcott trait, though, as she also skips detailing the scene with Tom and Polly at the end of Old Fashioned Girl and THAT is one scene I would really love to see! (Hopeless romantic that I am..... :))

    And yes, yes, yes.....I do love Aunt March in here, too. That whole picture when Laurie sleeping on the sofa while she lets down the blinds and watches him? "Benignity" there is the perfect word choice!

    1. Not a problem! These chapters are short enough that it's easy to catch up in an afternoon. Lots of participants have been doing that.

      Perhaps it's kind of a stylistic thing that was popular in the 1800s? Austen also skips detailing certain scenes. I do get a bit annoyed, just because I want to know what is said by everyone, but I think that's just me. In fact, in my own writing, I need to learn that a couple sentences summing up a non-essential scene can be a good thing, hee. I tend to want to write down everything everyone says at all times, and that's not particularly great either.


What do you think?

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