Little Women

Yesterday I went to see Greta Gerwig's refreshing take on Little Women.

Louisa May Alcott

The critically acclaimed original 1868 young adult novel about Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March was written by Louisa May Alcott. The story was loosely based on the experiences of Alcott with her three sisters.


Louisa May Alcott was an abolitionist and feminist from a transcendentalist background influenced by Henry David Thoreau (Civil Disobedience), Ralph Waldo Emerson (the Essay "Nature"), Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter), Margaret Fuller (Woman in the Nineteenth Century), and Julia Ward Howe (The Battle Hymn of the Republic). She worked as a teacher, seamstress, governess, domestic helper, and writer. Writing was a creative and emotional outlet for her.


The Four Sisters


1. Meg March

Emma Watson played Meg March beautifully as a girl who fitted into the mould of her society and met the expectations on women during her time.


2. Jo March

The main character Josephine/Jo March is a strong willed and hot tempered girl. Portrayed by Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) in this adaptation, the young woman loves reading and writing.


3. Beth March

Beth is a kind, shy, and musical girl and her life taught Jo to live hers with more care for others.


4. Amy March

Amy is an artistic young lady who worked hard to develop her talent and finds success.


Some of the themes touch on by the work were:

  • Family and marriage,

  • Poverty and work,

  • Morality and society,

  • Independence and women's rights

One of the quotes that was particularly effective was:

"Women, they have minds, and they have souls, as well as just hearts. And they’ve got ambition, and they’ve got talent, as well as just beauty. I’m so sick of people saying that love is just all a woman is fit for. I’m so sick of it!" - Jo March

The above showed how the Jo was frustrated at the society she lives in. Another funny dialogue was:

Jo March: I intend to make my own way in the world. Aunt March: No one makes their way, least of all a woman. You’ll need to marry well. Jo March: But you’re not married, Aunt March. Aunt March: Well, that’s because I’m rich.

The quote with the most impact was, however, by Meg. As I'm not sure I want to paddle my own canoe.

"Just because my dreams are different than yours, it doesn't mean they're unimportant." - Meg March

Overall, I thought the original author was well ahead of her time in writing an inspiring feminist young adult novel - reclaiming the term 'spinster'. Greta Gerwig's adaptation modernised Louisa May Alcott's work and was at times highly entertaining. Check out the official trailer on YouTube:

If you've seen it, please leave a comment on what you thought of this adaptation!

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© 2020 by Jeanie Tseng.

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