Thursday, May 28, 2020

Week Seven Questions

Chapter 39 

Laurie has become quite lazy and his one-week trip to France has turned into a one month stay! Amy asks Laurie to go to Valrosa with her so that she can practice her drawing. While there, the roses remind Laurie of Jo and she figures out Jo has rejected his marriage proposal. Amy lectures Laurie about his behavior and shows him the changes from her own perspective using her sketches. They return to the hotel and Amy worries she has offended him until she receives a note the next morning. Laurie has decided to follow her advice and is returning to his grandfather in London.   

Chapter 40 

Beth’s health continues to weaken, and her family sets up a room just for her. The room contains her piano and sketches from Amy. The March family often visit and do their work while in Beth’s room. One night, Beth discovers a poem Jo has written about her. Beth finds comfort in Jo’s words and is reassured that her life had worth. As Beth nears death, she asks Jo to take care of their parents and Jo agrees to try. Beth passes quietly on a spring morning while sleeping. As her family grieves, they find comfort in knowing Beth’s health can no longer fail her and she is at peace. 

Chapter 41 

After Amy’s lecture, Laurie makes changes in his life. He tries working on a requiem and an opera using Jo as his muse, but he fails. He composes another piece about a golden-haired girl before pursuing a different type of work. Laurie realizes his romantic love for Jo is fading into brotherly love. He writes one last letter to Jo, who responds by encouraging him to write to Amy. He begins corresponding with Amy. Meanwhile, Amy turns down a proposal from Fred Vaughn because she wishes to marry for love instead of money. Amy also learns about Beth’s weak health too late because the letter was lost in the mail. Her family encourages her to stay in France and Laurie prepares to go comfort her. Aunt Carrol has figured out Amy is in love with Laurie and invites him to stay with them. While rowing a boat on the lake, Laurie proposes to Amy and she agrees. 

Chapter 42 

Jo struggles with the loss of Beth and turns to her father for advice. She realizes she cannot replace Beth and finds comfort from speaking with her father and completing Beth’s daily chores. Marmee suggests Jo resume her writing and Meg encourages her to open her heart. Jo takes Marmee’s advice and writes a short story that is well received. Her father explained that her most recent writing was successful because it contained truth and was not written with thoughts of fame or money. During this time, the March family receives a letter from Amy announcing her engagement to Laurie. Jo appears calm at the news but supports their love and wishes for one of her own. She finds a note tucked in one of her books from Professor Bhaer asking her to wait for him and she begins to think of him while she continues to develop her writing. 

Chapter 43 

Laurie surprises Jo on her birthday announcing his elopement with Amy. He admits Jo was right about their relationship and is happy with Amy as his wife. Laurie asks Jo to let things return to before and she warns they must give up their frolicking. The March family celebrates Laurie and Amy’s return and Mr. Laurence joins the celebrations. Jo finds herself alone with feelings of abandonment until Professor Bhaer appears at her door. Jo invites him in, and he is welcomed by the March family. Jo notices Professor Bhaer is dressed nicely and he asks to visit again while he is in town on business. Jo happily agrees. 

Chapter 44 

Laurie and Amy must unpack and resume life at home. Jo asks Laurie and Amy about their future. Laurie announces he will go into business rather than live a life of leisure. Amy wishes to become a good wife before navigating the social aspects of the wealthy. Later that day, Laurie notices professor Bhaer visiting the March house and enters a playful debate with Amy. He suggests Jo should marry someone younger and wealthier while Amy insists on marrying for love. Their discussion soon turns to how they can help Jo and professor Bhaer, should they marry. In the end, they decide to help many people who are capable, like Professor Bhaer, but are struggling in silence to support themselves. 

Chapter 45 

Meg’s children, Daisy and Demi, are the focus of this chapter. Daisy is a loving child who brings smiles to the March family. Demi is a curious troublemaker who enjoys asking Mr. March questions. Jo, or Aunt Dodo, is their favorite aunt and they enjoy playing with her. The children noticed Jo does not play with them as much when Professor Bhaer visits. Demi asks if big boys like big girls like little boys like little girls. This question surprises Professor Bhaer who agrees that they do. His response makes Jo so happy that Demi gets bread and jam from Jo. Demi is confused about why he received the treat and is not old enough to understand the adult’s relationships. 

Chapter 46 

Professor Bhaer has not visited Jo in three days and she decides to run errands in town. Jo hopes to cross paths with Professor Bhaer while she walks in town. It begins to rain, and she realizes she forgot her umbrella. Luckily, she bumps into Professor Bhaer who covers her with his umbrella. While they walk, Professor Bhaer speaks about the job he obtained teaching college in the West. Jo cries and admits she will miss him, and this encourages him. He proposes on the spot and Jo accepts. They decide to marry after he returns from a year of work. Jo promises to wait and welcome him home. 

Chapter 47 

Aunt March has passed unexpectedly and leaves Jo her house. Jo surprises her family by deciding to turn the house into a boarding school for both rich and poor boys to attend. Professor Bhaer and Jo marry and open their school. Soon, the school, barn, and gardens of Aunt March’s estate are full. The family all gather in the orchard of Jo’s school to celebrate Marmee’s sixtieth birthday. Each of the remaining March sisters reflect on their lives and the happiness they have found. Marmee is glad her girls have found joy in serving others and could not wish for more. This completes the final chapter of Little Women

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Week Six Questions

Our final post next week will be on chapters 39 to 47. 

Chapter 31: Amy writes letters from the many places she visits in Europe describing the events of her trip. During her journey she reunites with Frank and Fred Vaughn, whom she had previously met at a picnic with her family and Laurie. Amy and her cousin, Flo, spend time traveling with the boys. Fred even joins Amy in France and Switzerland. Amy soon dedicates large portions of her letters towards to her family about Fred, as she believes he is in love with her. She admits she would accept a proposal from Fred because of his wealth, although she does not love him as much as the idea of a comfortable lifestyle. Before Amy finds out, Fred must return to England to take care of his sick brother. She asks her family to send her advice on how to handle the situation.  

Chapter 32: Marmee is concerned about Beth and thinks she seems unhappy. Jo believes Beth is struggling with adjusting to adulthood. She points out Beth is treated differently due to being shy and sickly; however, she is eighteen years old. Jo begins to watch Beth to find out what is troubling her. Jo sees Beth watching Laurie out of a window and concludes she is in love. Jo decides that Laurie will only be able to fall in love with Beth if she is out of the picture. She asks Marmee for permission to go away for a bit and confesses her suspicions about Laurie’s feelings. Marmee agrees to let Jo travel but does not believe Beth is in love with Laurie. When Jo tells Laurie about her decision to go to New York, he warns her that his eye is on her and he will bring her back home.  

Chapter 33: Jo sends letters during her time as a governess in New York. She writes about the children, boarding house, and a German professor named Frederick Bhaer. The professor is older and makes a living teaching children German. Jo writes to Beth about the professor’s inability to properly mend his clothing and begins to secretly help him until she is caught. He demands she accept German lessons for the favor and soon learns Jo is horrible with German grammar. He then decides to teach her with fairy tales which she takes to quickly. They exchange Christmas presents and attend a New Year’s masquerade. Jo expresses her enjoyment of her time in New York and believes she is growing as an individual. 

Chapter 34: Jo resumes writing sensationalist stories while in New York. Her stories earn high paying checks, but she is not proud of her writing. Jo is so ashamed of her stories that she does not tell her family about the publications. Jo’s friendship with professor Bhaer continues to develop as she tries to discover how a man, who is neither rich nor handsome, could be such a likeable person. She also continues to grow her friendship with Miss. Norton and has the opportunity to meet many literary personalities. During this time, the professor discovers that Jo has been writing sensationalist stories and she becomes so ashamed that she quits writing the stories. In June, she returns home to attend Laurie’s graduation.  

Chapter 35: Laurie is graduating from college with honors and all the March family except for Amy are attending. Upon his return, he proposes to Jo. Jo, begging him to stop, is forced to say no because she loves him as a friend and a brother. Jo explains her reasoning as to why she cannot love him romantically and she confesses to leaving for New York in hopes he would grow to love someone else. Laurie cannot agree with Jo and goes to the river to vent his feelings. Jo tells Laurie’s grandfather what has happened and he offers to take Laurie on a trip to Europe. Before Laurie leaves, he asks Jo one last time and sadly leaves with the same answer.  

Chapter 36: Beth has grown weaker during the time Jo spent in New York. She appears to be thinner and pale. Jo offers to take her to the seashore with the money she saved from her stories. During their time at the seashore, Jo cares for Beth and notices she is not improving. Beth tells Jo that she will die soon and her sadness had been caused by this knowledge. Not an unrequited love. Beth asks Jo to tell their parents, as she cannot bear to do so. When they return home, their parents can see Beth has not improved and Jo does not need to say a word.  

Chapter 37: Laurie meets with Amy in France on Christmas. Amy is unaware of what has happened between Laurie and Jo, but notes he seems depressed. While Amy believe Laurie is being distant and depressed, Laurie notices that Amy has become a beautiful young woman. He attends a hotel ball with Amy that evening. She tries to look very pretty and puts on a nice dress with fresh flowers as accessories. Amy gives off the illusion of being upper-class during the ball and Laurie asks how she does it. Amy credits foreign life for polishing her and being able to make the most of the luxuries she has. By the end of the night, Laurie has a new admiration for an old friend.  

Chapter 38: Meg is struggling to balance the role of mother and wife, causing John to feel neglected. He begins spending more time at his friends than with Meg. She goes to Marmee for advice and is reminded to not forget her husband while loving her children. Marmee also suggests having Hannah visit to help more and let John take on more responsibility with Demi. Meg decides to try this advice and plans a special evening with John. She puts the children to bed early, dresses up, cooks dinner, and surprises John. Demi decides to refuse to go to bed and John reprimands his son. Meg’s experiment, from the advice of Marmee, works and happiness is achieved at Dovecote.

Week Five Questions

Chapter 25: The First Wedding 

It is Meg’s wedding day! Flowers are blooming and Meg looks beautiful in the dress she made. The remaining March sisters are wearing their best gray dresses with roses in their hair. The wedding is small and simple. Mr. March officiates, and Meg dedicates her first kiss after marriage to Marmee. Meg does not serve the alcohol that was gifted to them and explains she put the alcohol aside for medicinal use. She asks Laurie to abstain from drinking, and he promises to do so. After the celebration, Meg leaves for Dovecote.  

Chapter 26: Artistic Attempts 

Amy enjoys spending her time working on her art. She attends expensive classes that Aunt March has paid for. One day, Amy asks Marmee if she can invite her friends from class over for lunch and an afternoon of drawing. She promises to pay for the event herself. Amy spends more time and money than expected on the lunch that only one person shows up to attend. Amy feels embarrassed and disappointed by the turn of events. After dinner with her family, Amy is left satisfied and feeling that she has learned from the experience.  

Chapter 27: Literary Lessons 

Jo decides to attend a lecture on pyramids with her neighbor Mrs. Crocker. While waiting on the lecture, she sees a newspaper containing a sensationalist story. Jo learned the woman who wrote the story makes a living from her writings and the newspaper is offering $100 dollars for the best sensationalist story. Jo decides to write a sensationalist story and submits it to the newspaper. She wins the prize! Jo uses her earnings to send Marmee and Beth to the seashore in hopes of improving Beth’s health. Jo continues to write and even finishes her novel. She uses her earnings to support herself and her family.  

Chapter 28: Domestic Experiences 

Meg goes through the trials of learning to be a housewife. During this time, she has her ups and downs with cooking. Meg attempts to make jam on the same day John brings home a friend. She fails at the jam and has her first argument with John. Meg remembers advice Marmee gave her and soon makes up with her husband. Her next trial appears when she is out shopping with her friend, Sallie Gardiner. Meg frivolously spends money on a silk dress and tells John that she is tired of being poor. She realizes she has hurt him and should love him more because of his poverty and good character. Meg sells her dress and purchases a new coat for her husband. The following summer, Meg gives birth to twins whom she calls Demi and Daisy.  

Chapter 29: Calls 

Amy takes charge and brings Jo on a series of house calls. She tries to instruct Jo on how to be “ladylike” and Jo responds by channeling her acting experience. On the first call Jo is icily quiet while on the second visit she shares an embarrassing story about Amy. By the third visit, Amy has given up on Jo and lets her do as she pleases only to find her surrounded by young boys telling stories outside. The girls’ last stop is Aunt March’s house where Aunt Carrol is visiting. They discuss an upcoming fair and Amy volunteers to help as a favor. Jo, on the other hand, declares favors are oppressive. Aunt Carrol and Aunt March exchange glances about Jo’s statement of independence. The chapter concludes with the aunts discussing an unknown event, which Alcott indicates is for Amy due to her good behavior.  

Chapter 30: Consequences 

Amy is volunteering at the art table for the Chester family’s upcoming fair. May Chester is envious of Amy and causes Mrs. Chester to switch Amy from the art table to the flower table. Amy is angry but resolves to be kind even if the Chesters are mean to her. Amy offers the art she prepared to May and spends her day at the flower table. To her surprise, Laurie and his college friends arrive that evening and buy all her flowers. Amy chooses to act kindly towards May and sends the boys over to buy the vases May created. She returns home to vases of flowers and a reward for her behavior. Aunt Carrol has invited Amy to join her on a trip to Europe. Jo is disappointed and learns that her behavior cost her the trip. Amy plans to study art while in Rome and Laurie agrees to come comfort her if anything bad were to happen.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Week Four Questions

Week Four (5/7/20) 

We are at our halfway point! For week five, please read chapters 22 to 30. We will be moving into Part 2 of the novel. 

Chapter 14Laurie finds Jo acting oddly in town and learns that she has submitted stories to a newspaper for publication. Laurie tells Jo that John Brooke has Meg’s missing glove, and Jo gets upset about the idea of Meg getting married. Jo acts very oddly around her family until she knows that her stories will be published. Her family is excited when they learn the good news and hear “The Rival Painters,” as Jo reads it from the newspaper. Laurie promises to get the next stories paid for, making Jo’s dream of further providing for her family come true.  

Chapter 15The Marches get a telegraph that Mr. March is ill in Washington, D. C. Marmee prepares to leave to care for her husband, writing a letter to Aunt March requesting financial help. John Brooke offers to escort Marmee, as he has business to attend to on behalf of Mr. Laurence. Jo, seeking a way to give her mother more money for the journey, sells her hair. Her family is grateful for her sacrifice and Jo says she likes her short hair; however, late that night Meg finds her crying over her lost hair. 

Chapter 16The girls strongly feel their mother’s absence. Hannah makes coffee to cheer them up and Beth makes sure to wave to Meg and Jo as they leave the house, just like Marmee always did. They relate how things are going through a letter to their mother.  

Chapter 17A week after Marmee leaves, the girls begin to wane in their good intentions and drop their responsibilities. Beth asks her sisters for help with the Hummels, because the baby is sick and she does not know what to do. As each sister gives an excuse or just forgets about the need, Beth continues to help and gets scarlet fever, because that is what the baby had. As Meg and Jo have already had scarlet fever but Amy has not, they send Amy to Aunt March and begin caring for Beth with Hannah’s help. Amy only goes to Aunt March’s when Laurie promises to visit her every day. Meg, Laurie, and Jo discuss letting Marmee know Beth is ill, but they do not yet do it.  

Chapter 18: Beth is seriously ill and Marmee still does not know. At first, Hannah tells the girls they should not worry Marmee while she is away. The sisters receive word that their father’s condition is worsening as Beth’s health continues to decline. The doctor visits Beth twice daily and soon tells the family that Marmee must be sent for. Jo breaks down and cries in front of Laurie, fearing the worst. Laurie comforts her and reveals that he sent a telegram the day before. Marmee will be arriving that night. During the night, a change comes over Beth marking a turning point in her health. The doctor announces her fever has broken and Marmee returns home. 

Chapter 19: Amy stays with Aunt March during Beth’s illness. She is kept on a strict schedule of cleaning and studying. She is struggling with this new schedule and worries about her ill family members. Amy turns to Aunt March’s maid, Esther, for consolation. Esther plays with Amy and explains to her how she finds solace in prayer. Although Amy is Protestant and Esther is Catholic, Amy decides to use the prayer room Esther made for her but not the rosary. During this time, Amy also makes a will and has Esther and Laurie sign as witnesses. 

Chapter 20: Marmee watches over Beth and her return is a relief for the March sisters. Laurie delivers the news of Marmee’s return and Beth’s improvement to Amy. Aunt March has noticed Amy’s good behavior and rewards her with a turquoise ring. Marmee approves of Amy’s quiet place for prayer and reflection but is hesitant about letting Amy wear such an expensive ring until she is older. Amy insists she wants to wear the ring only to remind herself to not be selfish and Marmee consents. Back at home, Jo reveals to Marmee she knows the gentleman who has Meg’s lost glove is Mr. Brooke. Marmee tells Jo that Mr. Brooke has professed an interest in Meg. Jo is saddened by this revelation. 

Chapter 21: Marmee has asked Jo not to reveal Mr. Brookes feelings to anyone, including Meg. Jo agrees, however, Laurie already knows and decides to play a prank. Laurie sends a fake love letter from Mr. Brooke to Meg. Meg responds to the letter and soon finds out Mr. Brooke knows nothing of a love letter. She accuses Jo of playing the prank and Jo proclaims her innocence. Jo recognizes the handwriting on the letter as Lauries.  Marmee discusses the matter with Laurie in private and he apologizes. Meg forgives Laurie, but Jo struggles to do so. Later, Jo wants Laurie to know she is not angry with him and goes to the Laurence house where she finds an upset Laurie. Laurie’s grandfather noticed his mood and they argued. Jo wants to help and speaks with Mr. Laurence. Afterwards, Mr. Laurence writes a note of apology to Laurie.