Our story is definitely picking up speed and gathering momentum. There was so much advancement of the plot in these three chapters; so very dense chapters. And heavy on the character development: Meg, who seemed so lovely and darling, is shown to have a cranky side. Jo, who was sketched to be so clumsy and awkward in all things, gracefully befriended a lonely boy, and brings the whole family in on it. We get greater insight into Beth's character and even Amy is fleshed out.
Marmee, while demonstrating some frustration (p. 37), still remains a very admirable woman. I am intrigued by her parenting style. As we come into the story, we're much too far along in the narration to read what it was that Marmee did to establish such an solid and wonderful relationship with her girls, but we clearly see how she works to maintain it. In chapter 4 (p. 47), they all take turns telling stories, essentially sharing their day's events with each other. Marmee not only listens actively to what her children are saying, she uses their own stories as a teaching tool. Through her teaching, she not only re-emphasises her tenets of living an active Christian life, but also she clearly demonstrates to the girls that what they say is important enough for her to pay real attention to. This validates them and can only work to build them up more and more. (haha.. listen to me go on as if i know something about parenting) But I definitely see that as something I'd like to [eventually] achieve and emulate in my own life with my own eventual kids.
I really like the development of the connection between Beth and Mr. Laurence. I was touched by how tenderly he worked to get Beth to come play his piano. I must say, of all the characters so far, I relate to Beth the best and I thought the exchange of gifts between them, at the end of chapter six, was so very sweet.
I really am enjoying this book. It makes me wish my life was more like this story. Not so much that I wish I were more poor or necessarily more humble.. but it would be really wonderful to have my blessings so beautifully (and clearly) laid out so I could better appreciate them.
Other, Outside Stuff
Ritsumei mentioned, in the comments of my last post, her curiosity surrounding the "Pilgrim's Progress" book that is occasionally mentioned in Little Women. Originally, I assumed that the mysterious Christmas book (chapter 2, p. 14) was a Bible, but further comments in the book, and Rit's mentioning it again peaked my curiosity as well and so I Googled "Pilgrim's Progress".
According to Wikipedia, Pilgrim's Progress is an actual book written by John Bunyan published in 1678. It is a Christian allegory about a man who quests for the "Celestial City" (representing Heaven, or the life to come). I think this may be the little book the Little Women are reading and using as a motivator to be better people. The actual text is available online here.