Sunday, June 7, 2015

Little Women Read-Along: Under the Umbrella (Ch. 46)

Okay, that's it -- THIS is my favorite chapter!  It's delicious from beginning to end.

From Jo imagining there's no reason for her to not take evening walks just because she runs into Professor Bhaer astonishingly often to her wandering around the counting houses and banks, it's funny and sweet and believable.

Honestly, this is one of the best proposals ever, with both of them muddy, the rain, the ruined bonnet and limp hatbrim... it's one of the most ceaselessly unromantic proposal situations ever, and I love it.  Especially since "[p]assers-by probably thought them a pair of harmless lunatics" (p. 424), which I find adorable.

From the 1978 version

Favorite Lines:

...she felt that, though it was too late to save her heart, she might her bonnet (p. 420).

"Thank Gott, we Germans believe in sentiment, and keep ourselves young mit it" (p. 425).

Jo never, never would learn to be proper, for when he said that as they stood upon the steps, she just put both hands into his, whispering tenderly, "Not empty now," and stooping down, kissed her Friedrich under the umbrella (p. 430).

Possible Discussion Questions:

Why do you think Jo tore up the poem Professor Bhaer had taken his hope from?


  1. Yes! I was so excited when this chapter came! It's my favorite, too! Sooo romantic..<3
    Professor Bhear is one of my favorite characters. Partly because in the 1978 adaptation William Shatner plays I can't help imagining him as William Shatner no matter how hard I try....hehe....(HUGE Trekkie talking xD)

    ~Lydia~ <3

    1. Lydia, I LOVE Shatner as Professor Bhaer! I'm a longtime Trekkie, and when I was a kid, I used to dream of one day being able to see the 1978 adaptation (back before DVDs and the internet, heh). I was so excited to finally see it a couple years ago (more on my excitement here if you want to read more), and I was so pleased with his portrayal after twenty years of wondering how he did in the role :-D

  2. The proposal is one of the most unforgettable moments in this book. I love it so much.

    1. Bzee, I agree! Who can forget the proposal under the umbrella?

  3. It's a beautiful, beautiful proposal. One of the best things about it is the way Alcott makes it clear that--even though most people might regard Jo and Professor Bhaer as "old" or "plain" or "uninteresting"--to each other, they are the most special people in the world. And THAT is what really counts.

    I really don't know why she tears up the poem, except that it seems the sort of thing Jo WOULD do, somehow . . . But I can't explain WHY it fits with her character. Unless it's her old dislike of sentimentality showing itself again?

    1. Jessica, I agree! Neither I nor my husband are anything more than acceptably attractive, objectively speaking, and we were both considered "weird" as kids, but we find each other very special and interesting indeed, and THAT is what counts. So I completely love Jo and her Professor for that reason, among others.

      Jo WOULD do that, wouldn't she? You're right, it fits her.

  4. Oh! This was a beautiful, romantic such an unromantic way... I loved it, and truly drew closer to these two wonderful charcters through Alcott's writing.
    I was quite surprised that Jo tire up that lovely poem/ was sweet and special! I just read your review on the 1978 movie adaption, and now I am so desperate to see it!
    Sniffing here...this is the second last chapter:(

    1. Kelly-Anne, I hope you like the 1978 movie version! I'll reply to your comments on it soon :-)

      I like unromantic romance, don't you?

      And yeah, one more chapter. All of a sudden, it's almost done!


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