Monday, April 6, 2015

Little Women Read-Along: Dark Days (Ch. 18)

Did you have a nice Easter?  We certainly did!  Full of rejoicing about Jesus' triumph over sin, death, and Satan, and also full of friends, family, and yummy food :-9  Don't worry if you're a bit behind here because you were busy with holiday fun -- I am not a lit professor and I will not scold you or dock your grade.

Oh my goodness, these poor girls!  Beth at death's door, and no parents to guide or comfort them.  I'm so pleased with Laurie for sending for Marmee even though Hannah said not to -- after all, he was under no obligation to obey her like Meg and Jo were.  Though as it turns out, Beth gets through the worst of it before Marmee returns.  But still, good for Laurie.

And when Jo learns of his actions, she hugs him, clings to him, and then Laurie... kisses her!  On the cheek, I would assume, but Jo seems rather disconcerted, blaming the wine for making her "fly at" her Teddy.  Foreshadowing of conflict to come, methinks.

Favorite Lines:

How dark the days seemed now, how sad and lonely the house, and how heavy were the hearts of the sisters as they worked and waited, while the shadow of death hovered over the once happy home (p. 164).

A breath of fresh air seemed to blow through the house, and something better than sinshine brightened the quiet rooms (p. 168).

Possible Discussion Questions:

Jo says Beth is her conscience.  What do you think she meant by that?


  1. *Big sniff*... Poor dears - Meg, Jo and Amy...and of course, Beth...
    A sad and happy chapter - what a relief that Beth pulls through!
    Interesting that Beth is regarded to Jo as 'her conscience'. Beth lives quietly and probably sets a good example for her rough and tumble big sister...
    Or perhaps Jo turns to her for some advice?
    Three cheers for Laurie - how good he was to send for Marmee! Imagine the girls didn't have him or his grandfather around while facing this trial!

    1. Oh, Kelly-Anne, I don't even want to imagine them going through this without Laurie and Mr. Laurence! How dreadful that would have been.

      Perhaps Jo thinks, "What would Beth do?" or "What would Beth think of this?" in some situations, and that's why she calls her her conscience?

  2. I've always thought the first foreshadowing of conflict was back in "Secrets" when Laurie teases that he'd like to see somebody try to win Jo's heart. It makes me wonder, now, whether Alcott knew where she was going to go with the relationships in the story when she was writing the first volume, or worked it out as she went along?

    1. Ooh, yes, good catch! I agree that was a foreshadowing too.

      I wonder if anyone knows if Alcott was a pantser or a planner? She wrote this book incredibly fast, so I kind of think she'd need to have a plan, or just be That Good.

  3. I can't remember if it was in this chapter or the last one, but I must admit that that little bit with Laurie and Jo, when she's crying and he's awkwardly trying to comfort her, ALMOST makes me a Jo/Laurie shipper;-P

  4. I'm enjoying your read along posts on Little Women. I'm curious if you have read Geraldine Brooks novel "March" which is her idea of what was going on with the March father during the Civil War. I thought it was pretty good. I would be curious what you thought of it.

    1. Thanks, Dale! I'm glad you're enjoying them. I have not read "March" yet, but it's on my To-Read List. Hearing that you like it makes me more eager to read it :-)


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