January 7

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How “Little Women” Is Alive for More Than 100 Years

By Odyssa

January 7, 2021


Turn over new leaves.

With all this time in our hands, I finally have the chance and enough boredom to sit down and watch movies without feeling like I’m wasting time.

Last weekend, I saw 2 versions of Louisa May Alcott’s novel, Little Women. It was first published in 1868.

Here’s the trailer of the 1994 version starring Winona Ryder, Trini Alvarado, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes, Susan Sarandon, and Christian Bale.

According to Wikipedia, the film opened on 1,503 screens in the US and Canada on December 21, 1994. It grossed $5.3 million and ranked #6 at the box office on its opening weekend and eventually earned $50.1 million. Against its budget of $18 million, the film was a success.

The latest movie, directed by Greta Gerwig, was released in North America in December 2019.

The cast included Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet and Meryl Streep.

At the 77th Golden Globe Awards, it received two nominations, including Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama for the actress who played Jo, Soairse Ronan. It was chosen by both the American Film Institute and Time magazine as one of the top ten films of 2019. The film earned $206 million worldwide.

Both versions of the movie were wonderful. And in both movies, Josephine March aka Jo was the star.

The story is anchored in her life, her personality, her dreams. She is determined, strong-willed, honest, fun loving and stubborn.

In the 1800s, women in America were made for housework. They were expected to stay at home, take care of the children, wash the clothes, cook, while the husband/father is away toiling, or fighting for the country. As a woman enters adulthood, her primary goal is to marry someone wealthy.

Jo had a different mindset.

She was creative and enjoyed writing stories since she was young. She was boyish, had no qualms about saying what’s on her mind, even if it’s the opposite of what society thought.

For one, she didn’t believe that all women should be married. That a woman can live by herself, work for her own money, and never have to settle for a marriage based on wealth.

She stood up for education, reading, expression, and ambition.

find it poor logic to say that because women are good, women should vote. Men do not vote because they are good; they vote because they are male, and women should vote, not because we are angels and men are animals, but because we are human beings and citizens of this country. -Josephine March

Later on, she found love. It came at the right time. She was ready for it and even wanted to chase it. She was certain that this was it. 

Her sisters had interesting, relatable personalities as well.

There was the youngest named Amy. She knew when she was still a child she wanted to be the best painter in the world. She’s the type who will grab every opportunity for a better life for herself and her family. She’s also a hopeless romantic and believes in genuine love.

Meg, the eldest of the sisters, was mature, caring and generous to her sisters. She also married for love. She ended up marrying Mr. Brooke, despite him being poor. She wasn’t playing the martyr. She just knew what was important to her — finding love, and that’s what she chose.

Beth is the quiet one. She played the piano and loved being with her family. She stayed at home all her life for 2 reasons — she became sickly and she simply wanted to be there. She had no wishes to go away and pursue a life outside of Massachusetts. She was content.

Who do you identify with? Who are you most different from?

It’s no wonder this story continues to play a big part in literature and film, even after more than a hundred years. The themes of love, death, and family are present.

I cried buckets of tears in both movies. It made me long for a sister and Jo’s courage to defy the odds.

Here's a quote from Jo March about starting over:

‘Keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end.’

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Odyssa

About the author

Odyssa writes, practices Ashtanga Yoga and works remotely. She enjoys walking their dogs Peanut and Jackie, biking, and picking colorful fruits and vegetables at the market. She loves reading non-fiction, watching K-Drama, and thinks that making time for daily practice or ritual is the best gift to oneself.

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