Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Little Women Read-Along: Heartache (Ch. 35)

This is definitely NOT my favorite chapter.  I just want to shake Laurie and tell him to quit being such a dolt.  Can't he take "no" for an answer and leave it at that?  I do feel sorry for him, with his unrequited love and broken heart and all that, but honestly, he needs to stop being so persistent.  Grr.

I'm very proud of Jo for not giving in and making Laurie temporarily happy.  She must be cruel to be kind, and that's all there is to it. 

Favorite Lines:

Laurie bore himself as young gentlemen usually do in such cases.  He was moody, irritable, and pensive by turns, lost his appetite, neglected his dress and devoted much time to playing tempestuously on his piano, avoided JO, but consoled himself by staring at her from his window, with a tragic face that haunted her dreams by night and oppressed her with a heavy sense of guilt by day (p. 330).

Possible Discussion Questions:

Is it me, or does this chapter go on and on and on?  Do you think there's a reason Alcott has Jo refuse Laurie over and over and over?

11 comments:

  1. One person whom I thought comes off very well in this chapter is old Mr. Laurence. I thought he was wonderful in the scene where he convinces Laurie to go abroad.

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    1. I agree, Elisabeth! He takes prompt action and knows exactly what to say and do.

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  2. I have finally caught up! Hooray!

    I agree that Laurie was rather dramatic, but it did play off well with how Alcott has crafted his character. His declaration does tend to go on and on but I think it draws the reader into his tragedy. With only one fit of histrionics you can just say, "get over it", but when it's drawn out you finally see that he really does feel this attachment deeply and you feel sort of sorry for him while at the same time being irritated by his behaviour.

    On one hand, I wish Jo and Laurie could have become a couple because they get along so well together as friends, but I do agree with Mrs. March that their marriage would probably be a disaster because of their temperaments. I can't quite see Jo & Herr Bhaer yet, but it's obvious what's coming. :-)

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    1. I think you're onto something there, Cleopatra -- that Laurie's insistence is meant to show us (and Jo) how sincere he is.

      So glad you've caught up!

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  3. The chapter does seem a bit drawn out. I suppose Alcott may have been going for realism: frequently messy, uncomfortable personal situations which you wish could just be over and done with seem to drag on interminably... death by a hundred small cuts rather than one quick blow.

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    1. I really like your analogy!

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    2. I do too, Lynn! You're right, uncomfortable situations tend to feel long and drawn out whether they are or not.

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  4. I must admit that I actually quite enjoyed this heartbreaking chapter in which Laurie declares his true love for Jo... Oh, I felt as if my heart was breaking when Jo refused him, but she was brave and wise, and for us who know the story already, he does come to see that she was in fact right... I have caught up to this chapter, so will work my way backwards with commenting now!

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    1. Kelly-Anne -- hooray for catching up! And it does have a lot of emotion in it, so I can see how it might be enjoyable :-)

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  5. I found that whole conversation so heartbreaking. Poor Laurie for getting His heart broken, and poor Jo for having to hurt her friend.
    I guess it drags A little on because it involve a lot of feelings who are not easy to put away when you have started talking about them.

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    1. Rose, that's very true -- feelings do go on and on. People don't just snap out of being in love. It's a long and painful process :-(

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What do you think?

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