The Louisa Challenge: February Prompts

“Sorry you could find nothing better to read. I write that rubbish because it sells, and ordinary people like it.”  ~~ Louisa May Alcott

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Louisa May Alcott was a woman of her time yet manages to remain a contemporary woman of our time. She knew the difference between reality and dreams, and she did what she needed to do to keep her family fed, clothed, and sheltered. In that respect, she isn’t much different from any of us.

Alcott’s best known book, Little Women, still inspires dollhouse dolls, paper dolls, and her childhood home, Orchard House, was celebrated by Department 56 in their Literary Classic Series of porcelain replicas. Given my love of all things Alcott, I’m not quite sure why I don’t own this…

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In 1868, she put aside writing her beloved mysteries and thrillers to write Little Women, which is loosely based on her own family life with her three sisters. After having read Little Women, the Louisa Challenge asks you to respond to one or more of these prompts — or make up your own. There are no rules in this literary challenge!

P.S. There are spoilers here…

  1. Which is your favorite character in Little Women? Why?
  2. Do you find it surprising that once Laurie is rejected by Jo, he falls in love with Amy? Do you feel his characterization is complete and he is acting within the “norm” of the personality Alcott has created for him, or does Alcott simply dispose of him once our heroine rejects him?
  3.  Some critics argue that the characters are masochistic. Meg is the perfect little wife, Amy is the social gold digger, and Beth is the eternally loving and patient woman. Do you believe these characterizations are masochistic? If so, do you think Alcott could have characterized them any other way while maintaining the realism of the society she lived in? And if this is true, what of Jo’s character?
  4.  The last two chapters find Jo setting aside her budding literary career to run a school with her husband. Why do you think Alcott made her strongest feminine figure sacrifice her own life plans for her husband’s?
  5. Do you believe this is a feminine or a feminist piece of work?
  6. Who would you cast in the next movie adaptation?

Join us on Sunday, February 13, as we celebrate Little Women in the Louisa Challenge. I look forward to hearing what you have to say!

Prompts via Lit Lovers

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