[DWJ] Re: The Last Battle (was witches in fiction, and exploiting)

HSchinske at aol.com HSchinske at aol.com
Wed Jun 21 18:24:14 EDT 2006

In a message dated 6/21/2006 3:02:22 P.M. Pacific Standard Time,  
dwj-request at suberic.net writes:

It seems  so horribly contrived next to everything else about the book.   If
Alcott could live a life of fulfilled singlehood, why couldn't Jo?   And
doesn't that sort of undermine Alcott's successes as a novelist?   Bah

Melissa Proffitt

I thought I'd posted about this before, but it must have been on Girlsown:  
here's a description of my take on the matter, originally posted on Victoria  
(sorry to be boring and recycle stuff):
I've always been extremely attached to Professor Bhaer, and thought  that
Laurie and Jo would have fought cats'n'dogs. I've seen this issue  debated on
several lists over the years (Child_Lit and Girlsown among them),  and there
are always some Bhaer fans. Some of us are big Amy fans, too -- in  my own
case, influenced heavily by May being my favorite Alcott. I'm fairly  sure
that there has always been a minority (at least) in favor of Jo's  not
marrying Laurie.

Exactly what Alcott meant by a "funny match" is  endlessly debatable. To us
moderns, certainly, and perhaps to many of her  contemporaries, the humor of
the scenes in which Jo gets to know Friedrich  Bhaer makes them all the more
believable, yet not any less romantic.

I  think Alcott was not so much creating an ideal marriage for  herself
(essentially impossible, given her independence) as for her mother --  a man
with enlightened ideas about education and the brotherhood of man  (witness
the "merry little quadroon" at the end of _Little Women_, sadly  absent from
_Little Men_), but capable of being responsible and making a  comfortable
living, and eccentric only to the point of being loveable.
Jo does return to writing for publication in _Jo's Boys_, and obtains  
considerable success, enough to be troubled with autograph hunters and the like  
(including the lady who wants permission to collect a grasshopper from her  
Helen Schinske

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