there's nothing small about 'Little Women'
The thing I love the most about Little women is that it depicts domestic life as no less intense than a battlefield - caring for an ailing family member, selling your hair for money to support your mother, refusing marriage proposals are all depictions of heroism in the domestic realm. Despite the fear of crushing poverty threatening her family Louisa made Jo’s character to formidably pour her stories out and bring them to the publisher’s deck because she knew that life will never allow a woman, entrenched deeply into domestic life and other demanding roles of womanhood, to write in leisure. But the beauty of the story is that even after all weights of the world she writes anyway and that makes all the difference. In my opinion this story is the most realistic view of womanhood across time and geography. We shall never be free from being a daughter, sister, wife and mother, but we have to write anyway.
Thank you Freya for this beautiful piece reminding me why I loved this story so much. I watched the animated series for the first time when I was only 11 along with my mumma. Such happy times. Now that I have become a woman I really understand what is at stake when you are a woman with a family who just wants to be free and sell stories for money. There cannot be a story I can relate to better than this one. 💜
The 8-week summer camp for girls (run by three "spinsters") that saved me as a kid, and that we couldn't really afford after my parents disastrous 1970s divorce that left my mother broke, had an autographed full set of the Little Women books. I remember showing the camp director, in case they should be put someplace safe, and she said "They're safe with you, and I'm pretty sure you're the only one reading them." At any rate, my feminism as the oldest sister of brothers, oldest girl cousin of boys, was absolutely formed by Jo March, and her fake marriage so she could run her academy, and the long-arc story of how she navigated being smart, and not "feminine" and loving, and useful. Count me among the many women for whom she's a touchstone. And thank you for the intel on Abigail.
That hand-tracing is precious! Loved this edition, Freya! Thanks!
Thanks really interesting essay - I knew nothing about Little Women until recently. I watched the Gerwig film a couple of weeks ago (after seeing Barbie, and I'd seen Little Bird when it came out as well, and thought that as excellent) and really enjoyed it.
I really enjoyed this one, thank you Freya.
Story idea for you: Ultimate Fight Club card - Abigail vs. Phyliss Schlafly🤼♀️
“a life of the hearth—of a hearth to leave and return to, back and forth—is anything but limited” SUCH a great read. Fierce, burning, powerful. Thank you!