ENGB35 Feb 6, 2013
“‟Jo, dear, we all have our temptations, some far greater than ours, and it often takes us
all our lives to conquer them. You think your temper is the worst in the world, but mine
used to be just like it‟
„Yours, Mother? Why, you are never angry!‟ and for the moment Jo forgot remorse in
„I‟ve been trying to cure it for forty years, and have only succeeded in controlling it. I am
angry nearly every day of my life, Jo, but I have learned not to show it; and I still hope to
learn not to feel it, though it may take me another forty years to do so.‟”
Anger is a constant, never leaving thing.
Advising to internalize, to never show your emotions.
o There is no questioning of WHY she‟s angry, just dealing with it.
Pokes at the idea of domesticity
o Women are angry, they are not always accepting of domesticity
„Angry every day‟ – this woman who is supposed to be so loving and sweet all
these days is apparently angry every single day. What does she think of her
Mr. March wants his daughters to be little women. However, he also forces Mrs.
March to behave as well.
o Mrs. March is passing on her husband‟s control.
“[T]o be independent and earn the praise of those she loved were the dearest wishes of
her heart, and this seemed to be the first step toward that happy end.”
“I want to do something splendid… something heroic, or wonderful that won‟t be
forgotten after I‟m dead… I think I shall write books, and get rich and famous.”
Writing is supposed to a domestic, independent thing. It was a way for her to
learn a living without going out into the world.
Garret vs. Hearth
Jo writes her books way up in the garret as far away from the „domestic‟ hearth.
Writing is then „anti-domestic‟
Jo punishes herself for writing – by writing, it has a power to make Beth ill. This
makes the writing be something terrible and frightening. And sort of evil. ENGB35 Feb 6, 2013
Alcott is not letting Jo become what she herself becomes. In Little Wives, Jo has to write
moral tales not the exciting stories she wanted. However, Alcott does write things like
Here‟s the Puritan framework again: best of the sisters = most likely to get to go
to heaven = die early
“Then it was that Jo, living in the darkened room, with that suffering little sister always
before her eyes and that pathetic voice sounding in her ears, learned to see the beauty
and the sweetness of Beth‟s nature, to feel how deep and tender a place she filled in all
hearts, and to acknowledge the worth of Beth‟s unselfish ambition to live for others, and
make home happy by the exercise of those simple virtues which all may possess and
which all should love and value more