Monday, March 15, 2010

Book 26: Memories.

I am flying through Little Women. To be honest, I forgot how wonderfully simple and beautiful it is. It is not a book that requires you to think long and hard, or that challenges your perceptions and feelings about issues. It simply is, and I really like that. I don't have to work to enjoy it and I think my brain is enjoying the break.

Like I said, Little Women was a staple of my childhood. I read my little abridged version more times than I can count. But I probably only read the full version once, so a lot has been forgotten. For example, all of the conversation about The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyon was completely forgotten. When I reached the first reference, I was almost confused.

I'm not sure what I think about all of the preachiness that comes into play as the March sisters pretend to be pilgrims. Like I always do, I'm trying to read the novel "in context." By that I mean that I am attempting to place myself into the mind and body of a girl who would have been reading this when it first came out. I think it is probably safe to say that there was more concern about raising proper young women back then in the right way. Today we don't have as many books like this-books that really focus on the values and roles that young women should have, as well as their duties to family, husband, and home. On one hand, reading those values and lessons is refreshing, but on the other, almost unrealistic in terms of the way women live today.

Anyway, it is interesting to read and think about how my life as a woman in today's world would scare the characters of Alcott's novel. I love tradition and morality, but in general, it is lacking in this day and age.

I also love the simplicity of Alcott's language. I said earlier that I don't have to work to understand the novel and appreciate it. Sometimes I love and need t be challenged by my reading, but this works just as it is. The morals and story are clear to the reader and you don't have to dig deep to find symbolism and meaning. It is right there on the surface. I could never solely read books like this-I would die of boredom eventually-but it is a refreshing change from some of the things I have been reading.

I only have a small portion left to go, so it is off to finish.


  1. I love reading period pieces just for that reason. To be able to place myself at that time and place. Sometimes it just seems that life was so much easier back then, but in reality, women probably were frustrated with having to make sure they did the right thing and be submissive. Their lifestyles were so different than ours today. Having grown up in the woman's revolutionary era where a lot of things changed in the 60's and 70's, I look at today and almost wish we went back to some of the ways back then before the changes were made in my lifetime. Maybe life wouldn't seem so hectic and feel that we have to accomplish so much. I don't think the women realized how much we were taking on. I also wonder what those women would think if they lived in today's world.
    Love, Mom

  2. I watched Little Women yesterday (Winona Ryder version) and never tire of that adaption. I haven't read this story in ages....I should make time one of these days!

  3. Love Little Women, although haven't read it since I was about fifteen. Glad you're enjoying the re-read :)

    You're right about how the lives of women have changed over time, and the focus isn't on being good daughters, home-makers and wives. Yet, in today's day and age, I think this book is a lot more charming and thought-provoking.

    PS : I love Jo!

  4. It is interesting how much social mores and customs have changed. To be honest, I would fail miserably at the morals and constrictions the March sisters lived under.

  5. I read Little Women recently and reviewed it

    A lot of what stood out for me was how it made me think about the role of women in society then and now, the similarities and the differences.