Monday, May 4, 2015

Little Women Read-Along: Domestic Experience (Ch. 28)

(I know I don't usually post about chapters two days in a row, but I had such an overwhelming weekend that I missed doing posts for a bit, so I'm trying to catch up a little.)

What a sobering chapter this is!  My goodness, Meg gets herself into some rather sad troubles, doesn't she?  It made me think back to my first year as a married woman, and some of the downright absurd disagreements we had as we slowly figured out how this whole marriage thing was going to work.

Also, boom!  Out of the blue, they have babies!  Twins!  Isn't that last page or two kind of odd?  Alcott alludes to Meg getting a new experience, "the deepest and tenderest of a woman's life" (p. 255), which I kind of thought meant pregnancy, but the whole 9 months gets dispatched with a comic scene in which they surprise Laurie with the fact that she's had twins.  Was that whole section just kind of oddly put together, or is it just me?  Oh, isn't giving birth jolly, let's let Laurie name the babies, and tra-la-la, we'll all clown around a while.  Hmm.

Favorite Lines:  

They were very happy, even after they discovered that they couldn't live on love alone (p. 245).

She put it away, but it haunted her, not delightfully as a new dress should, but dreadfully like the ghost of a folly that was not easily laid (p. 253).

Possible Discussion Questions:

Alcott says that "Meg didn't like to be pitied and made to feel poor" (p. 252).  How is being made to feel poor (or ugly, or boring, or untalented, or any other undesirable thing) worse than the simple fact of being it?


  1. I find this a very sobering chapter, too. All we young girls are reading these (wonderful) novels, and sometimes I know that I at least get unrealistic expectations for marriage. This chapter was challenging, but also encouraging in that they made it through;)

    Hmm, good discussion question…well, I suppose it has something to do with the fact that if others make us feel something that we may or may not already be, it drives it home even more? I suppose it makes us feel that either that person can't see beyond the issue to "the real us," or our pride is just hurt by the fact that someone else feels "called upon" to "rub it in."

    1. I think part of the problem is that so many books end with the marriage. They're all about the falling in love and getting to know each other, but they end before or with the wedding, and give no one any idea of what married life is like.

      Good interpretation on the discussion question!

  2. I really love the little glimpses into Meg's married life we get here.
    So many books/movies just ends with a wedding, but I think it really good (especially in a book directed at young women) that we are shown the life afterwards, and that it is a situation that requires adjustments from both parties.

    It's true the whole "Meg suddenly has twins" seems a bit rushed, maybe pregnancy wasn't something you talked much about back then - but that's just a guess.

    On the discussion question I will say there is a huge difference between being poor and being made to feel poor.
    You can be poor in the eyes of other but not feel so yourself, until others point it out. I think the worst part about that is that you suddenly think that is all people think when they see you. I hope that makes sense - it did in my head, but I tend to ramble a bit on such subjects.

    1. Rose, yes! So many books and movies end with the wedding, and I find that ridiculous because that's the beginning of a whole new adventure! So I love that this goes on farther.

      Pregnancy definitely wasn't something you discussed openly, and maybe Alcott herself was uncomfortable with the topic? It almost feels that way to me.

      I once told my husband that as long as we had a container of sour cream in the fridge just to use whenever I wanted some with a quesadilla or something, not specifically for a recipe, I would not feel poor. Even though we struggled with money for several years, as long as there was sour cream in the fridge, I felt very comfortably off. Isn't that odd?

  3. Sweet Meg! I do love her so much! I thought this chapter unusually long, but also beautiful, for it illustrated the first year of married life for the Brookes... And what a lot of mistakes were made by both parties!
    She certainly bit off more than she could chew, for I know from personal experience that making jelly is not as simple as it sounds, and if you haven't got an experienced person to assist could become quite tragic! :)

    I have noticed in several other books that pregnancy was never mentioned which is quite interesting but also very strange! Suddenly a child arrives with no mention of a pregnancy whatsoever!
    And it is even stranger that Laurie named the twins - I am sure Meg must have wanted the delight of naming her children...I know I would:)

    Interesting question... I think pride has a lot to do with it and for Meg, being poor was always a sore point for her...

    I think she tried her best to not appear as badly off as she was (although she certainly was rich in other respects), and pretended... This was obviously not healthy and made being pitied even worse for it really did 'drive the truth home'!
    Not sure if this was the correct answer, but just some thoughts...
    Yay! I am loving catching up with everyone else and enjoying reading about my favourite characters again!
    Have a great week!

    1. I first attempted making jam last year, after being married for 12 years and having many, many cooking adventures. It's quite a task! Mine ended considerably more happily than Meg's, but it was only fridge jam, no boiling of cans and such required.

      Pregnancy was not a "nice" topic for many years, I assume because one has to have sex to become pregnant, so talking about pregnancy would remind people of sex, and no one wanted to talk about sex, so... yeah. How different our modern world is!

      I don't usually have a "correct" answer in mind for my discussion questions -- they're things I'm still pondering myself or think others might enjoy discussing. So yup, I think you're right that being pitied for being poor just made her think more about it.


What do you think?

Comments on old posts are always welcome!

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)