Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Little Women Read-Along: Tender Troubles (Ch. 32)

I do feel sorry for Laurie, don't you?  He's so set on Jo, and so fond of her, and probably kind of in love with her too.  And she discourages him any chance she gets because she's unable to think of him as anything more than a friend.  No wonder Laurie's prone to the occasion "Byron fits of gloom" (p. 290).

But I feel sorry for Jo too, because after all, you can't make yourself fall in love with someone.  You can, of course, gradually fall in love with someone you thought you didn't love, but it's not quite the same thing.  You know Jo wants to make Laurie happy, but she can't pretend to love him, and she knows they wouldn't be happy together anyway.

Favorite Lines:

"I never force my children's confidence, and I seldom have to wait for long" (p. 288).

...she preferred imaginary heroes to real ones... (p. 290).

"I'm glad you can't flirt, Jo.  It's really refreshing to see a sensible, straight-forward girl, who can be jolly and kind without making a fool of herself" (p. 293).

But young as she was, Jo had learned that hearts, like flowers, cannot be rudely handled, but must open naturally (p. 295).

Possible Discussion Questions:

Laurie says that "pretty, modest girls are never talked about, except respectfully, among gentlemen" (p. 293).  This has been my experience today, too.  Has it been yours as well? 

Do you think Beth suspects that Jo thinks Beth loves Laurie?


  1. Yes, I feel sorry for both of them. But, overall, I do agree that I think Jo made the right decision. There are times in the books where I ALMOST ship the two of them, but…I think, in a way, they're basically TOO similar to get married. I mean, in my experience, when two people of the opposite gender who are very similar are put into a situation where they see a lot of each other, they can tend to clash. But I do think Jo and Laurie are absolutely one of the best "best friends" duos in fiction:D

    1. Oh, I definitely think she made the right decision. I mean, in college, I tried being roommates with my best friend and it just didn't work out in the end. Too alike and too different, both. Marriage adds even another level of demands to a relationship, and it's so different from friendship -- I think Laurie feels like if they're best friends they could be married too, it's just another step closer together, whereas Jo sees it so differently,

  2. I entirely love Jo and Professor Bhaer ending up together, but I do agree with Olivia about Jo and Laurie being one of the best "best friends" duos in fiction. :)

    And yes, I agree about what Laurie says regarding men and pretty, modest girls. That's been my experience, too. (Well, of course, not in scenes with only gentlemen present -- I can't vouch for that ;P -- but they do seem to naturally respect and speak well of them.)

    1. And I love that Jo and Teddy continue to be friends even after she rejects his proposal -- I'm so happy they can remain friends.

      It's been my experience too, and from what Cowboy has related of things said by guys in college about girls we knew, yeah, it's still that way.

  3. Oh, I loved, loved what Laurie said about modest girls being respected! I think it is quite refreshing for guys these days to come across modest girls, so ladies! May we be encouraged!
    Aww! I have to agree that Laurie and Jo were the best 'Best Friend' duos in fiction:)

    1. Kelly-Anne, I think you're right about the "refreshing" aspect of coming across a girl who respects herself -- and those around her -- enough to dress and behave modestly.

  4. I remember being really mad at Jo at first when I found out she didn't end up with Laurie, but after this chapter I understand her completely, it must have been really hard on her to see him so sad when she knew she couldn't fall in love with him.

    But let's not forget Beth, I think the parts where you see how sad she is is particularly heartbreaking when you know the reason for it.

    1. Rose, I think the first time I read this, I was too young to care who married whom, so I've kind of always taken for granted how everyone pairs up. I wonder how different an experience it would have been for me to read it the first time a little older?

      And yes, poor Beth. She Knows. And she feels she can't tell anyone yet. Poor Beth.


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