I have just finished reading Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and decided to share some thoughts about it. I think it is about not only about femininity but also about how a person should strive to achieve his/her goals. According to the book, all that a person need is happiness, and it manifests itself in a variety of ways.
Amy, the youngest girl of the four sisters, wants to marry for money because all that she cares about is fashion, luxury, music, arts, and other fancy attributes typical of upper class. Over the years, she grows up and takes her words back. She marries Laurie, the best friend of Jo, and lives happily. At the time of reading the part where Amy is very vain, I was thinking to myself that most modern girls (I’m just speculating) are very similar to Amy. Here is an excerpt from Little Women (published by Oxford in 1998):
Money, position, fashionable accomplishments, and elegant manners, were most desirable things in her eyes, and she liked to associate with those who possessed them; often mistaking the false for the true, and admiring what was not admirable (p.248)
We are consumerists, and in the age of consumerism, young girls are extremely affected by the media, including television and magazines. Fashionable clothes, (Zara, Gap, Forever 21, and what not) are the indicators of your stylishness. The latest trend is all that you need. Take it. Consume it. Expensive night clubs, the newest mobile phones, holidays abroad, etc. And all of this should be uploaded to Instagram or Facebook. Oh, and also Twitter. In the 21-st century, the young Amy would be happy to try out many popular things. At some point, I was feeling very similar to Amy. I guess you, if you are a woman, want to look attractive, stylish, and appealing to the people around you. But that’s not enough.
Jo, the major character of the book, is an example of how a young woman should not limit herself to the household, children, and the husband, just as Meg, the eldest sister, does. In the present days, we can find a lot of girls that get pregnant, then marry, and cease their development. They forget about education, ignore the fact that there are many things that could be achieved if they want that. In the case of Meg, she does not seem to be a dull woman. She knows how to take care of the house, how to sew, cook, etc. There are not many girls in the 21st century girls who cannot sew, knit, and prepare something more sophisticated than noodles or pancakes. However, now consumerists do not need to sew, knit or make food. We have shopping malls full of proceeded food, cozy knitware, and basically all that we need.
Jo, one of the little women, is a girl who may like to try out bungee jumping, paint war, and many other crazy occupations, and then would sit down to read about quantum physics, economics, medicine, and what not. She is a little rebel, who seeks to become a person but not a regular patient girl. In my opinion, more girls should be as energetic, rational, and sympathetic as Jo, and I am not going to talk about first wave feminism or second-wave feminism because there are many reliable references that can provide accurate information about women’s position in society.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is also a guidebook for young wives, who want to please they husband. Mrs March, the mother of the girls, knows her girls very well. She wish them happy life, and her speech shows that she is very wise. She lets Jo enjoy her happiness until she find that there is “something sweeter” (p. 318). What I like about this little woman is that she is very open-minded. Her girls are allowed to explore their life and make their own decisions. She is happy when their children are happy, and it does not matter what they do.
This book has raised my awareness about myself. What do I want, how I want to achieve it, and what the greatest time for taking particular action is. It is about dreaming, acting, and achieving. If you are not a family type, reading this book may help you to remember that you have a family and people that care about you and wish you all the best.
For more about the film based on the book, check the IMDb website.