Thursday, April 2, 2015

Little Women Read-Along: Letters (Ch. 16)

Quick before we dig into this chapter, I just wanted to ask if anyone else is interested in writing a guest post for the first half of this book.  Heidi is working on a post about Amy, but we might hold off on posting it until the second half.  But no one has spoken for Jo or Meg or Marmee or Laurie, and they all warrant their own character sketches, I think.  Also, I plan to write a new review of the 1978 TV mini-series version, but if you'd like to contribute a review of another version (1933, 1949, or 1994), that would be awesome too!

Also, I've decided to do two giveaways in conjunction with this read-along, one after Book One, and one after Book Two.  If we stick to the current schedule of one chapter every-other-day, that means the first giveaway will kick off around April 16.  Just so you know!

(My mom had this adaptation when she was a girl,
and it's the first one I can remember reading.)
Now, back to the book.  This chapter opens on a very subdued note, with everyone trying to be brave about Marmee leaving to nurse Father.  And Marmee gives them some excellent advice:  "Don't grieve and fret when I am gone, or think that you can be idle and comfort yourself by being idle and trying to forget.  Go on with your work as usual, for work is a blessed solace" (p. 149-50).  Oh, wise Marmee!

But things don't stay worrisome and melancholy for long.  The girls get word that their father is getting well, and we end the chapter with several delightful letters, not just from the girls, but from Hannah, Laurie, and Mr. Laurence too!  I really enjoyed those letters, and I think they must have been fun for Alcott to write each one from the different characters' perspectives, personalities, etc.

Favorite Lines:

"I think anxiety is very interesting," observed Amy, eating sugar pensively (p. 151).

I'm Jo, and I never shall be anything else (p. 153).

Possible Discussion Questions:

What do you think of the dialect Hannah's letter is written in?  What does it tell you about Hannah that we might not otherwise know from the story?

15 comments:

  1. Hannah's dialect kinda annoyed me. You don't write in dialect, you just speak it!!!! She must be a verrrryyy good speller to spell her own words incorrectly but correctly.... Anyway, I attribute that error to LMA. I love Hannah! She's like Beth but louder, I guess. She seems like she could be somebody Mrs. March helped out once and later took in as a servant?

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    1. I agree that writing a letter in a dialect isn't very realistic. And Hannah is very cool -- so staunch and helpful.

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  2. Those letters are SO good. I think I enjoyed them the most of everything in the whole book!

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    1. They're definitely great for gaining insight into the characters!

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  3. Obviously being used to hammer home the fact- if we didn't already get it- that Hannah isn't well educated. But I agree with Ashley... you'd have to be pretty good to sound out your own mispronunciations and then spell them correctly. I enjoyed the letter section, though: a nice peek into each person's character.

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    1. Did she sound kind of... stereotypically African-American? Like Mammy and Prissy from Gone with the Wind in a way? That's what struck me the most -- if I read that letter out loud, I sound jes like I's talkin' 'bout red petticoats or don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies.

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  4. Aww! I loved this chapter! I enjoyed getting a closer look at each person's charcter through their different letters...from ladylike Meg all the way down to Hannah who obviously wasn't very well educated, but such a dear!
    Wise words from Marmee!

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    1. Yeah, Kelly-Anne, this was definitely one of the best chapters so far.

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  5. Ooh, I would love to make a character sketch of Meg if that has any interest?

    I love reading the letters, it gives such a nice glimpse of the different personalities. My favourite letter was always Laurie's, I was deeply fascinated by how he managed to make it into a military report.

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    1. Awesomesauce, Rose! I'll put you down for a forthcoming character sketch of Meg.

      And yes, I think my favorite letter is Laurie's, because it's so playful.

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    2. Great! I'll start working on it immediately

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  6. If no one else speaks for a review of the '94 version, I can do it, but since I've already guest-posted I totally understand if someone else would like that 'un ;)

    Hahaha, I loved the quote you selected at the end!! XD

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    1. Double guest posts are completely allowed! And people have had plenty of time to volunteer, so I'd say, go for it! I'll put you on the list.

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  7. Off-topic, but I love how you 'decorate' these posts with all the LW covers. I haven't seen 'my' version yet though!

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    1. Well, if I don't use it by the end, please share it!

      And yes, I've been totally enjoying finding different covers online. There are so so so so many!

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What do you think?

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)