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
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.