16 January 2009

More than just "Fluffy Fiction"

I am really enjoying how Ms. Alcott uses her story to teach lessons. I don't know.. it's not like that is something I've never heard of or anything... I guess it's just that I keep being pleasantly surprised by how this is more than just the "fluffy fiction novel" I originally thought it would be.

In Chapter 13 we get a lesson on the importance of being industrious. She starts off with an unhappy and cranky Laurie lazing his afternoon away and ended with a new and very cheerful addition to the Busy Bee Society. I really like the idea of this society though; putting on hats and playing pretend on a certain level, but still getting much good accomplished. I may have to tuck this idea away for future reference :)

I think if I were to pick a Main Character, I'd pick Jo. All the girls are wonderful, and lovable, and I think, for the most part, Ms. Alcott gives them mostly equal time in the narration spotlight. However (at least for me) I feel like Jo is the one you hold your breath for when she goes to see if her story will be published. And while you're happy for Meg and her budding romance with Mr. Brooke and it gives the book marvelous intrigue, it's Jo's difficulty dealing with that change that tugs the heart strings.

Chapter 15 brings a cloud to the March family. Marmee gets a telegram saying that Mr. March is very ill. This causes great tumult in the household; all the pent up emotion and worry breaks forth momentarily, but then is once again stashed away and the little women spring into action. The love for their father, that is clearly present in previous chapters, is even more abundantly shown as each of the girls eagerly helps prepare things for Marmee's sudden trip. Marmee's love for her husband is clearly displayed as she is "not too proud to beg for father," and asks for assistance from several sources to get to his side. Jo sells her hair, a very generous and spontaneous gesture, which -though she cries a little bit later for the loss of her hair - she does not regret. I cried a little too.. hehe.

I thought it was kind of ironic that Ms. Alcott bases this other society of the girls on the "Pilgrim's Progress". I feel (while it may be soon to say this) that "Little Women" is kind of an updated version of "Pilgrim's Progress"; that woven throughout the story are lessons of self-improvement and even edification. It's pretty crafty. Kudos to Ms. Alcott.

1 comment:

Ritsumei said...

Great commentary! I sort of replied to some of it in my (very late) post. I definitely agree, this is more than just "fluffy fiction." Though even with that, it seems easier to read than the non-fiction that we were working on before. Not that we're really working any less, as it seems that this book causes us to think more about our own character, whereas the other books broadened our intellectual horizons. I would expect that this would be more work: character work always seems like the harder of the two types, but it's not. Probably because the story is so good and the teaching is so gentle.