Friday, April 23, 2010

Character Connection: Jo March

This fascinating meme is hosted by The Introverted Reader and I'm very excited to participate in this! In this meme, you get to spotlight any literary character that you love.

Little Women is one of those books that I've read in every stage of my life since I was about 10 or 11. The reasons for liking it have seen some changes through the years, but there has been one constant : I have always loved its amazing heroine Josephine March. She was the first woman character about whom I remember saying 'Wow..I want to be like her'. 

Perhaps it's got to do with her love for books, passion for writing and theatre, or her fiery, wild ways, but Jo is, to me, the most interesting of all the March sisters. She's not the most beautiful girl around, she has a horrid temper, she has to be with Aunt March, which is quite a pain for even the most patient person and in times of turmoil, Jo takes charge. I remember crying when she came home having cut her hair - her 'only beauty', to get some money for her family. That is one of the most powerful scenes from a book, etched in my memory and I was filled with awe and admiration for Jo. I also loved the tender relationship that the wild 'tomboy' Jo shared with her quiet sister Beth.

It is of course, pointless to talk about Jo March without talking about Laurie. I know so many people were disappointed that Laurie and Jo didn't get married. In fact, many readers sent letters to Louisa May Alcott to have them married. But she persisted on them remaining 'just friends'. I'm actually okay with it, because in a way, I see it as a lovely thing that Alcott showed that a man and woman can remain friends. This is what Jo predicts for herself:
"An old maid, that's what I'm to be. A literary spinster, with a pen for a spouse, a family of stories for children, and twenty years hence a morsel of fame, perhaps....'" 
However, in the later books, Jo meets and marries Professor Friedrich Bhaer and becomes a famous writer. Jo is able to resist pressure of the society and does not get married very soon, but waits till she herself is sure that this is a right decision. She wants to go to college, she loves learning and I just could relate to her so much every time I reread the book. Little Women is a book that I heartily recommend for everyone and Jo March is a literary character who is hard to forget.

Winona Ryder plays Jo magnificently in the 1994 film version of Little Women and Christian Bale is a great Laurie. If you haven't watched the film yet, I strongly suggest that you do. It's one of those films you can watch together as a family and enjoy tremendously. 


vvb32 reads said...

great spotlight. although i wanted jo with laurie too, i can see how it really couldn't be. and i liked the jo character for her drive for writing.

The Book Mole said...

Nice post, Kals. I read Little Women a very long time ago, and don't remember it very well. I'm glad that Alcott let Laurie and Jo be friends too - the male-female friendship is a relationship sadly neglected in much of literature.

Sullivan McPig said...

I read the books a long time ago, but I remember really liking Jo and thinking Professor Friedrich Bhaer fitted her much better than Laurie.

Unknown said...

Lovely post. I haven't read this and I find it hard to believe that. Jo sounds like a great character and role model.

Priya Parmar said...

i love jo. she is wild and wrong and right and good and so much fun to read! have you read the lost summer of louisa may alcott? it looks brilliant!

Vaishnavi said...

I am so glad you wrote about Jo March! Little Women is my most favourite book of all time and Jo March molded me into the tomoboy I was and I confess I stil am! She will always be my favourite heroine! :) :)

Daria Hlazatova said...

great choice! she is a perfect character in my opinion!

Jen at Introverted Reader said...

Great post! I can tell that you really love Jo.

I have to confess that I never finished Little Women. I think I was a little too young when I read it, so I thought it was boring. The same thing happened with Anne of Green Gables. When I tried Anne again, I loved it, so I really should give Little Women another try. I did love Little Men though.

Whitney said...

We are so like minded, because I thought about choosing Jo March too! This is a wonderful profile of a great heroine. Fantastic choice.

Kals said...

Velvet - Thank you :)I admired Jo's passion for writing too!

The Book Mole - Absolutely. You make such an important point! I've always admired Alcott for making a woman and a man remain just friends, at the time in which she wrote them! And thanks :)

Sullivan McPig - I agree. I thought Prof.Bhaer seemed more her type too :)

Becky - Thank you so much :) Indeed, Jo is a great role-model and I think you'll enjoy the book when you get to reading it!

Priya - I've heard so much about The Lost Summer of Alcott too. Sadly, I haven't spotted it here in India yet. I'd love to read it though :)

Vaishnavi - I know! I grew up with Little Women and Jo always seemed to be the coolest of them all in my opinion :)

Daria - Thank you. I think she's an ideal character and perfect role-model too :)

Jen G - Thanks :) I urge you to get back to Little Women. It's definitely worth a re-read. does sound cliche and its tone seems moralistic, but at heart it is a beautiful tale of love and family that women especially will enjoy :)

Whitney - Like you said..the similarities are getting scary indeed :) Thank you!


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