Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women

4th November 2008

Today afternoon I saw the movie ‘Little Women’(1994) for the nth time. Although I dislike movie adaptions of books because it falls in direct conflict with ‘moving images’ that the book painted in my head, this one in particular is a pleasant exception. Winona rules!

The first book I ever read and completely fell in love with was Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.
Book were being passed along the bench in my 7th grade classroom as a part of mandatory library book reading and a torn old book found its way to me. I reluctantly shoved it in my bag. We weren’t going to be quizzed on it, so the book laid there on my study table for weeks. The title was a major turn off. I thought it was on well… ‘Little’ people…you know on the lines of Gulliver’s Travels. I never read that and I sure as hell wasn’t keen on reading this either.

But I somehow ended up opening the book and I couldn’t keep it down. I read it non-stop from start to end at one stretch. It was the most beautiful piece of literature I had ever read…also the only piece of literature. I always felt like the 5th sister, a part of the family when I read ‘Little Women’ and watched the movie and the mini-series of Hallmark years ago. The books are roughly based of Louisa’s life.

Josephine March, lovingly called Jo, is the protagonist and the lady I would have been if I was born in the 1800’s. The tomboy Jo dares to dream big, to be a writer in a time when ‘working women’ was still unheard off. She, unlike her sisters, is very unladylike and quote unquote ‘hopelessly flawed’. Therein lays her beauty which she is unaware of. Perfection is monotonous. I believe a person’s true beauty lies in his/her flaws. That’s what sets us apart and makes one intriguing.

She falls in love with a German professor Fritz Bhaer who she holds in high regard. She used to be a fiction/fantasy writer until he urged her to write from the depths of her heart and soul. At first she was hurt but after the untimely death of Beth, she wrote…wrote of all things dear to her. She wrote of her family and her life and mailed it to Bhaer. And he got her book published! He succeeds in inspiring her and making her a better writer. He walks away like a true man when he mistakes her for marrying her once best friend and neighbor Laurie(also called Teddy) and stands by her when she decides to open a school.

Margaret or Meg, the oldest of the sisters, was never much ambitious. She married Laurie’s tutor and lived a humble life. She was the ideal wife, daughter and mother.

Elizabeth or Beth was third inline after Meg and Jo. She was the gentle lamb of the house. She contracted scarlet fever while babysitting a poor family. She was nursed to health by her mother and sister but the illness left her very weak. Her death came as a rude shock and left a void in my heart. Although her part is less she still managed to make a place in the hearts of the readers.

Amy is the youngest, the most beautiful and the most pampered of the girls. For some random reason I never liked her!

I’ve been looking all over the place of all the four books of the series but in vain. So if anyone knows of a store where I can pick up the series, please let me know. That way I can cross it off my list!

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