10 January 2009


These chapters seems a little lighter than the previous three. Ms. Alcott is a gifted writer; she takes us from severe sadness and then brings us right up with some light-hearted humor in a very smooth way. (Though, I did feel like Chapter 11 was sort of the finale in that series of lessons on virtues from the last few chapters.)

In Chapter 11 the girls learn, up close and personal, the importance of hard work and being industrious. At first read I thought that the example was a little extreme. How dirty could their house get with just one day of not cleaning?? I was surprised at how any of the March girls would not know how to cook?? But then, on second read, I thought about how they have Hannah around. A whole person around solely to cook and clean would drastically change what skills the girls would have learned. Plus, I thought about how things were when I was living at The Parents' house and there were bunches of people running around doing their own thing. If none of us ever cleaned up after ourselves it would get impressively cluttered and dirty REALLY quickly. Even here, where there's only two of us, we are constantly getting things out and playing with them. It wouldn't take too long for it to get gross here either. So, upon second though, I have revised my opinions. Though, while it sounds nice in theory, I still wonder how effective it would be if translated into real life these days... I don't know. I thought it was great fun to read though!

Chapter 12 introduced a little romance into the March girls' lives. There was all sorts of stuff going on between Meg and Mr. Brooks. Ritsumei commented on the conflict that seemed present in the American-English interactions of this chapter. I think there was probably some national pride ruffling feathers, but also, I wonder how much of it was mild manifistations of romance (of sorts). I think perhaps Fred thought Jo was cute and hasseled her for attention. Jo, being Jo and competative to boot, reacted by getting all bristly. As for Miss Kate and Meg, I don't know that the conflict there wasn't largely due to two girls with their eye on the same gentleman :)

1 comment:

Ritsumei said...

You're probably right about there being more romantic tension than national tension. I'd noticed the romantic interest, but not thought to apply it to the national tensions.

I wonder if the effectiveness of the lesson was in part from the backstory: the girls were accustomed to a nice, clean place. A clean place, in addition to being easier to deal with in a number of practical ways, also invites the Spirit much more nicely than a dirty place. And you see some of the warmth of the family's good spirit leaving in the girls' interactions that week. Plus, it wasn't just a single day of cleaning, it was a whole lot less cleaning for the whole week, and then a day of none at all there at the end. The girls had been taught to be industrious and would have also felt the pricks of their consciences for leaving things as they were.