5. Little Women.

‘In spite of the curly crop, I don’t see the ‘son Jo’ whom I left a year ago,’ said Mr. March. ‘I see a young lady who pins her collar straight, laces her boots neatly, and neither talks slang, nor lies on the rug as she used to do. Her face is rather thin and pale just now, with watching and anxiety, but I like to look at it, for it has grown gentler, and her voice is lower; she doesn’t bounce, but moves quietly, and takes care of a certain little person in a motherly way which delights me. I rather miss my wild girl, but if I get a strong, helpful, tender-hearted woman in her place, I shall feel quite satisfied. I don’t know whether the shearing sobered our black sheep, but I do know that in all Washington I couldn’t find anything beautiful enough to be bought with the five-and-twenty dollars which my good girl sent me.’ (ch. 22)

Little Women has Suzanne and Chris tackling new territory: a novel, a children’s book, and something written within the last two hundred years. They discuss this tale of four sisters (Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy), the possibilities it offers young women (but eventually takes from them), its complex exploration of gender, and its fascination with death.

Show Notes.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (also on Project Gutenberg).

Avidly, on the Los Angeles Review of Books, had a great cluster of articles about each of the sisters.

How Little Women Got Big” at the New Yorker, which draws upon a recent book about Little Women, Anne Boyd Rioux’s Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters.

Next episode: The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein.

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