Little Women/ Jo Sees Being Emotional as Weakness
I recently re-read the chapter “valley of the shadow”, where the narrator says that Jo believed that crying was a weakness. There are also times when Jo calls both Laurie and Nat “womanly” because they are so emotional. There are so many who complain that Jo grew and “conformed” but I think it is so important that when she grows, loses Beth, and falls in love with the professor she begins to see that having emotions is not weakness.
I don’t know if the movies caused those misconceptions but the topic of seeing emotions as a weakness has been a long debate for a long time now and Little Women is not exclusive to this. But it is already an issue on its own how people think Jo has conformed, and to them, conforming means doing the exact opposite of what she dreamed of. They’re definitely movie watchers or anyone who isn’t aware Little Men and Jo’s Boys exist, because she does get what she always wanted as a little girl growing up.
You’d think those people actually hate Jo because with those beliefs they WANT her to remain immature, keep the bits of internalized misogyny she had, and somewhat of a rude person.
Exactly, there is a paradox. Louisa May Alcott has all these quotes in her journals, how she wanted to start a school with Thoreau and then in her later life she writes how lonely she was, even as a millionaire, so people who complain about Jo conforming, don’t seem to know either Jo or Alcott.
Jo grows admiring “manly men”, she wants to be a soldier in the war. Laurie is awesome, simply for his gender. Then she grows to be a woman, and she starts to see the negative affects of that internalized misogyny in her own life. How Laurie wants things she can’t give. She blocks all her emotions inside her. So even when Beth is dying she tries to prevent herself from crying, even before Beth, who is her confidante. In “Under the umbrella” she is deathly afraid that people make fun of her for falling in love, even though everyone in the family are 100% shipping them, Laurie included.
It’s like the part in “all alone” Jo says to Marmee she wants to know what romantic love feels like, “her heart is so elastic”
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