Monday, June 1, 2015

Little Women Read-Along: All Alone (Ch. 42)

In which Jo grieves over Beth, begins to see herself more clearly, and tries writing "nice" stories instead of the sensational stuff she used to sell.  And, to her surprise, she finds a market for her nice stories too, much like Alcott found that her nice novel outsold all her more exciting stories.  

And just when Jo's finding some balance again, she gets the news that Laurie and Amy are engaged.  Happily, she's confirmed in her insistence that she doesn't love Laurie as anything but a friend and pseudo-brother, so she can rejoice in their news.  And it helps her realize that she misses Professor Bhaer and hope he might come visit her. 

Favorite Lines:

Now, if she had been the heroine of a moral storybook, she ought at this period of her life to have become quite saintly, renounced the world, and gone about doing good in a mortified bonnet, with tracts in her pocket (p. 388).

Meg describes Jo as "a chestnut burr, prickly outside, but silky-soft within, and a sweet kernel, if one can only get at it" (p. 388).  

Possible Discussion Questions:

If Laurie hadn't decided to marry Amy, do you think Jo would have realized she was fond of Professor Bhaer?


  1. I think she probably would have.
    She DIDN'T love Laurie, not that way, and she would not have, whether he got married to Amy or not. :)

    ~Lydia~ <3

    1. That's true--she really was not in love with Laurie, ever. I'm glad Alcott didn't try to make them get together, because it would have been a disaster.

  2. I think Jo would have definitely have still realized her feelings for Professor Bhaer, no matter what Laurie would have done.
    While reading this book again after many times, for some reason, this chapter really stood out. It might be because of the challenges in my life right now, but I somehow really understood what Jo was feeling. When reading this chapter, I saw a new side a Jo I've never seen before, and I found that she became more real. I think that one quote from Meg sums up Jo perfectly.

    1. Ekaterina, it's definitely one of the deepest chapters in the book, I feel. Not fun and cute, but deep and heartfelt. Very moving.

  3. Mmmmm . . . yeah, I think she would have realized it eventually, but it might have taken her a bit longer.

    I also think, though, that Laurie and Amy's engagement wasn't the only thing that prompted Jo to recognize her love for Professor Bhaer--Beth's passing also played a part in it. (Because it made her realize how lonely she was and how much she needed somebody to love.) And Beth's dying would have happened anyway, whether or not Laurie married Amy. So yeah, I think Jo and Professor Bhaer would have wound up together in any case.

    1. Jessica, I like to think that Jo and the Professor would have gotten together anyway -- I think his going to the west would have prompted her to realize she had more than friendship feelings for him.

    2. Which means, yes, I agree it might have taken longer, but would have happened anyway :-)


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