I jumped into Jane the Virgin train quite recently and started to watch the show for the first time earlier this spring. Show is now on it´s fifth and final season and I recently returned to season 1 to enjoy the awesomeness of JTV. I must also admit I´ve read few spoilers but do not worry. I shall not reveal anything I´ve read. If there is one character who has rubbed me the wrong way in this show that is Jane´s passed away and recently resurrected husband Michael Cordero.
Before I get into any further in my essay I´d like to address that I think Brett Dier who plays Michael is a hilarious guy and a great actor. This fandom is pretty heated and I find it appaling how some fans make fun of the actors of the show simply because they don´t like the characters they are playing.
I have so many problems with Michael´s character but I think my biggest issue overall is the inconsistancy of writing. I feel like I know all the characters except Michael. I know who Rafael is and I know why he gets dark and depressive at times. I know why Jane is judgy. I know why Petra behaves like she does and I know why Rogelio is so addicted to fame but I do not know who is Michael Cordero. Is he a good or a bad guy or is he both?
Shady Cop Michael
In season 1 Michael is definitely a bad guy. When Jane got accidentally inseminated with Rafael´s sperm Michael´s first reaction was to tell her to get an abortion. This statement by itself made me hate him. Of course he is mad, but it is Jane´s decision to keep the child or not. He also told Jane to quit her job at Rafael´s hotel to which Jane said that she would not like to start all over again and afterwards it is disheartening to see that she actually starts writing job applications (but eventually she changes her mind and stays at the Marbella). Michael´s actions here are both selfish and manipulative.
Michael develops extreme hatred towards Jane´s baby daddy Rafael. When a murder takes place at the Marbella Michael tampers with the evidence. When Jane decides to give baby away to Rafael and Petra because she believes they are a good solid couple Michael does not tell Jane that Petra is actually cheating Rafael. This is because he wants Jane to give the baby away. When Rafael and Petra file for divorce Michael actually laughs at Rafael and makes fun of him and his failed marriage. When Jane breaks up with Michael and starts to date Rafael that is when all hell breaks loose. Michael stalks them. He becomes obsessed over Rafael. He wants to destroy him and prove that Rafael is the bad guy. He breaks into his appartement and covers up Petra. He even manipulates Xiomara by helping Alba just so that Xo would like him more than Rafael and he tries to make Jane believe that Rafael is Sin Rostro the dangerous drug lord and Jane believes him.
During pretty much the whole season Michael sabotages Jane and Raf´s relationship. Michael is convinced that Rafael is Sin Rostro. He hires his even shadier brother Billy to do dig all kinds of dirt from Rafael but Billy doesn´t find anything. There are times when Michael makes deals with Petra and at times he blackmails her. He continually abuses his power as a law enforcement officer. Things that Michael says are possessive over Jane. He is constantly trying to convice her that they should be together (and that Rafael is a terrible person). I see this relationship as toxic as Luisa has with Rose.
Yikes! Do not fight in front of the baby!
On season 2 Jane once again is wondering should she choose Rafael or Michael. Originally Michael´s character was supposed to die in the first season but writers and some of the fans liked his character (or should say they liked Brett Dier) so he ended up staying much longer. Jane married Michael in the end of the second season and his character was killed on the third season. Because of this I suppose the writers made an u-turn with his character. Second season Michael is problematic Even when he and Jane are together there are times when he gets jealous about Jane and Rafael. There is a scene where Michael gets fired, because Rafael made a claim about him and I can´t blaime Raf since Michael was horrible towards him.
Naturally Michael is angry but if you are bad cop you´ll get fired. Michael hits Rafael in front of his son and Mateo gets hurt in the process. I don´t know who I hate more here Michael or Jane because she forgave him. Not to mention on season 2 Michael was constantly trying to stop Rafael bonding with Mateo.
3rd Season Michael is the most boring person I´ve ever watched and Jane becomes boring with him. He is written to be a saint without any flaws, Pollyanna/Mary Sue/Gary Stu type of character and I hate to say this but sometimes I feel like writes made him to be some kind of white savior of the Villanueva family. Which by itself is very problematic.
Hollywood Loves Sexual Harrasment
First episode of the third season of JTV really made me loath Michael Cordero. Michael is in a coma and I guess at this point we are suppose to feel sorry about his character. In the backflashes we see now younger Jane having a crush to a guy named Sam. Apparentally Jane has had this crush for 17 months. Michael and Jane had shared a birthday kiss and when Michael contacts Jane she is not that interested anymore since Sam is finally asking her out. So she sends a message to Michael saying she is ill but really she is off to meet Sam.
When Jane and Sam are driving Michael pulls them over and he tells Sam that he made an illegal U-Turn. Only offence that poor Sam did was to sit in the same car with Jane.
I think we are being followed
well hello there...
Jane is a smart girl and she asks if Michael is a stalker and he says no he is not a stalker he just wanted to bring her some soup made with family recipe since he thought she was ill. Michael is angry and frustrated because she lied to her. If we count all the times that Michael lied to Jane is season 1 Jane´s one white lie doesn´t sound too bad.
Next day Jane goes to the police station to apologize (Catholic guilt?) The fact the she feels need to apologize is unsettling. If you tell to a guy that you are sick when you are not, that is pretty clear sign that you are not interested about them. But this takes us back to the biggest problem with Michael´s and Jane´s relationship. Michael is always right and Jane needs to do what he says.
In the back yard of the police station Jane is very honest with Michael and says that she wants to explore her relationship with Sam and Michael says that he is not interested in being in a love triangle to which Jane says that it is not a love triangle because she doesn´t even know Michael. Why Michael jumps straight into a love triangle when they don´t even know each others yet? Why Jane needs Michael´s permission to go out with his crush or why she even needs a validation from him?
Later Michael comes apologizing and when Jane tells him to walk away he says No..he is not going to walk away because he is a fighter and then he kisses her. This scene repetes very unsettling pattern that we see in season 1 and 2. These scenes are often framed as seductions. It is the dynamic of a predator and pray. There are several moments in this backflash scene where Jane directly and inderectly indicates that she is not interested from Michael´s advances. Michael ignores and disregards her each time. Some viewers probably object this and say that Jane secretly wants him and therefore it is okay for Michael to disregard her feelings. It all goes down to the assumption that when women say no they don´t really mean it or that it is just part of some courtship game where girl´s play hard to get and this implication justifies men to continue until they finally give in. Courtship game is an argument that is often used in rape-cases to defend the rapist.
That if we the viewers are meant to root for Jane and Michael or get creepy vibes from this episode remains unanswered. If we are suppose to believe that they are meant to be based on this scene, show completely fails to sell it.
Are we really suppose to feel sorry for this douch or feel sad that he died? This episode left a really bad taste to my mouth. On JTV forum I came across with some Michael fan who said that his jealousy through out the show was cute. Anyone who thinks like this has a pretty narrow ideas about love, romance and healthy relationships. What does it tells about our society that within recent years there has been so many ”teen romance” movies like Kisssing Booth where the leading character actually ends up with a guy who is extremely obsessive and manipulative over her or Sierra Burgess is a looser where Sierra who is a female version of season 1 Michael Cordero ends up with a guy who she has been stalking.
Who is Michael Cordero
I see two ways here. Either the writing on season 2 and 3 was just bad and season 5 Michael continues to be some sort of a boring saint or it had been planned since the beginning to make Michael a two-faced character. Jennie Urman the creator of the show has revealed that since Michael´s character died she had planned to bring him back at some point. Bringing someone back from the death is definitely a telenovela trope.
There has been lots of very interesting and entertaining theories going about Michael. One of the very popular ones is that Michael has been a bad guy since the beginnig or that he was working for Sin Rostro but fell in love with Jane on the way. Some people have also suggested that he is FBI or CSI agent who has been working undercover. Remembering that Michael was a terrible cop who was suspended few times I have really hard time to believe this. Jane the Virgin has always been good at addressing social issues like immigration, different views on sexuality, power structures in relationship, women´s relationship to their bodies, discrimination under Trump administration and even white-washing in Hollywood. Since JTV is very self-aware show I will be very dissappointed if Michael´s stalker-like, creepy behavior is not addressed or questioned. Not to mentioned there is a big group of people who seem to be completely blind to his behavior. Talk about group amnesia.
I think it would be an interesting twist to see Michael being evil or a villain or maybe a redeemed villain. When Michael´s character suddenly changes and even before that, he does not take any responsibilities from any of his actions and neither we get an explanation why behaves the way he does. If we compare his narrative to Rafael, Raf has done a fair share of mistakes. He has gone through hell in the show and he has grown as a person. I still find Rafael´s character more interesting to watch because he is not perfect and he feels more real. Since the writers of the show wanted to keep Michael alive longer at least they could have done way more with him and give him story arc with some growth in it.
If anyone asks I´m on #TeamBo
Last episode (4 from season 5) gave me hope. In the end of the episode Rafael remembered things from their past and we are shown the scene where Michael hit Rafael in season 2. I was bit bummed that they brought Michael back but if the show is finally going to address Michael´s unhealthy obsession over Jane I´m all for it. I was very proud of Rafael in this episode. He said Jane exactly what she needed to hear. It was hard for him when he chose Michael and he is not going to re-live that again. This is my other big problem with Jane and Michael´s relationship. In season 1 Michael is constantly trying to manipulate Jane and many times she does exactly what he says. In season 2 and 3 when Jane ends up with Michael her character does not grow or evolve. It is compelete opposite to her relationship with Rafael were they lovers or friends because her character grows each time when she is with him.
Then the big question: is Michael undercover or a villain or is he a Pollyanna Michael?
In season one Michael´s brother Billy reminds Michael of his dark past in the engament party. Later in the season Michael pays Billy to dig dirt about Rafael. Since Michael´s character was changed in season 2 we never see Billy again after season 1.
When Michael talks to Jane the lingo is similar to the way Rose talks to Luisa everytime when she wants her back. In the first season when Michael is in the hospithal he tells Jane that he doesn´t love Rafael and they belong together or that they are soul mates. This is similar to Rose´s manipulative behavior. In the season 3 coma episode Michael´s actions are not too different to the way Rose is possessive over Luisa.
I think there´s gotta be some other reason why Rose kept Michael alive all these years. It could not been just to make Rafael suffer again. Most viewers at this point are annoyed with the love triangle.
Michael being this super boring guy/ perfect guy who doesn´t do any mistakes doesn´t really fit into the whole telenovela trope so I wish that there is a massive revelation made about him. It might make people flip but that is what this show does. I am tired of people ass-kissing this terrible character.
The pilot itself is pretty interesting. If you pay close attention Michael is the only one who doesn´t get a typed info. Every other character gets one, Jane, Rafael, Xo, Alba an even Roman Zazo get character descriptions.
In the end of the pilot after Jane has proposed Michael this is what the Latin Lover Narrator says:
in that moment, in the hands of the man she thought she knew so well Jane Gloriana Villanueva really believed that to be true
That if the pilot foreshadows season 5 is questionable but I felt that it was framed similarly to the end of the last e4 s5 where we are once again asked the question is Michael a good or a bad guy.
Ever since Billy pulled Michael to the side and told him ”everyone here thinks you are such a good guy” I´ve been waiting to hear Michael´s back story. In season 1 Michael explained Jane that he and his brother sold stolen car parts but he decided to be a better person and left that life. Yet, there are moments in each three season that tell the opposite.
On their first round Jane and Rafael were together about 6 months (autumn 2014-spring 2015) all this time Michael is trying to sabotage their relationship.
Michael´s character has not get an in depth back story like pretty much everyone else on JTV. We find out in the end of the season 2 that Michael´s parents broke up when he was in highschool and that lead him into illegal activities. This is all we know about him and that he has a brother named Billy who he doesn´t like.
I think Brett Dier said it best:
”Michael is either a cop or he is in love with Jane”
Based on everything I´ve mentioned I think it is pretty fair to say that Michael Cordero is a very bad cop and his love for Jane sounds more like an obsession.
"You got me suspended"
"and you followed Rafael when you were told not to"
For a brief moment I actually shipped these two. Didn´t Nadine died when she took a bullet over Michael. She would have deserved better.
There is lots of symbolism and foreshadowing in Jane the Virgin, like Jane wearing yellow when she makes big romantic gestures and flower petals and glowing hearts. One of my favorite symbols are names. Michael´s name actually fits to the two-faced guy theory.
Both Michael and Rafael have names of arch angels. Rafael is the arch angel of healing and Michael was the angel who lead the war against Satan. In this case satan or the devil could be Rose/ Sin Rostro. Case that was the biggest case of Michael´s career but is there more in Sin Rostro case. Is Michael a double agent? What if there is something more sinister in Michael´s past that is a devil that he is fighting against for? I was very exited when I heard that this season would have more season 1 feeling into it and I must say, season one was intense and even though I do not approve Michael´s methods it was more enjoyable to watch than Michael in any other season.
Michael´s last name Cordero means ”sheep” in Spanish and it can be related to expression ”lobo con piel de corder” ”sheep in wolves clothes”. When Michael´s character was created he was a suppose to be a villain and die early on and in that sense the name is appropriate but complete change in Michael´s character in later seasons has not managed shake off this creepy feeling I have about him.
If I think about the way JTV has handled more serious issues in it´s later seasons I do hope that Michael´s behavior is finally questioned. For example if we think about the professor Chavez trope in season 2 and the way it was touched again in season 4 the tone is compelete opposite. The story was re-written again to point out deeper problems. Will Jane the Virgin issues Michael´s controversial behavior? I don´t hold my breath but I have my fingers crossed maybe I can finally find out who the heck is Michael Cordero.
There is a sale today on my Society6 store.
Start: Wednesday, 4/17/19 at 12:00AM PT
End: Wednesday, 4/17/19 at 11:59PM PT
Details: 30% off acrylic boxes, can coolers, acrylic trays, coffee mugs, travel mugs, coasters, serving trays, cutting boards, fanny packs, backpacks, duffle bags, tote bags and carry-all pouches. 20% off art prints, framed prints, posters, canvas prints, metal prints, wall tapestries, wall hangings, wall murals and wood wall art.
Here are some examples of Kitchen home decor I have on sale. Click any of the images to get into the product page
Fairy of Roses - Mug.
You can´t never go wrong with flower fairies.
Soft Hearts - Cat Serving Tray. These two are bff´s.
Here are Starry Sky Rasberry Milkshake - Coasters. They looks so sweet..like candy.
There is also 30 % from all bags. Here is Forest blanket backpack. Looks pretty nice! Painting was inspired by Finnish folklore (you probably guessed).
There is 25% off sale on everything today in my society6 shop
Start: Sunday, 4/14/19 at at 12:00AM PT
End: Monday, 4/15/19 at 11:59PM PT
Click any of the images to get into the product page.
Here are some examples of wall art I´ve got on sale.
like "Cat in the sauna" wood wall art. Believe it or not all cats I´ve had have liked to spent their time in the sauna. I´d like to say that it is a Finnish cat - thing but since all cats like warm places I´m starting to think it might be universal.
"Home of the ancient ones". One of my photo prints. This pic was actually taken near the border of Lapland.
"Eye of the tiger" wall hanger. You can find this image in several different colors. What can I say.. I love those tigers.
Ravens have been both feared and respected birds in many several cultures. In ancient Finland ravens were powerful animals connected to witchcraft and often shamans had ravens as their pets. It was important for the shaman or the wise man or the woman to know all the birth myths because it was believed that when you knew the magical origins of all things then you had the ability to control them. Here is the birth poem of the raven:
I know the raven´s origin, from what the black bird was obtained, how the raven was bred: the scroundelly raven, Lempo´s bird, the most disgusting bird of air was born on a charcoal hill, was reared on a coal heath, was gathered from burning brands, was bred from charcoal sticks, of potsherds its head was made, it´s breastbone from Lempo´s spinning wheel, it´s tail from Lempo´s sail, it´s shanks from crooked sticks, it´s belly from a wretch sack, it´s guts from Lempo´s needle-case, from an air-ring it´s rump, from a worn-out kettle it´s crop, it´s neck from Hiisi´s weaving-stool, it´s beak from sorcerer´s arrow-tip, it´s tongue from Äijö´s axe, it´s eyes from a mussel pearl.
Raven being born on a charcoal hill refers to it´s black color and different parts of raven being made of potshred and a kettle directly link it to witchcraft. Lempo is an old Finnish deity that we don´t have much information left. It was sometimes believed to be the darker aspect of Tapio the forest god (or possibly a completely separate being). If Tapio ruled the day time forest and offering shelter for animals and food and material for humans. Lempo would bring nightmares and rule the shadows in the woods. Lempo was possibly connected to death and the underworld. Hiisi is another controversial character in Finnish mythology. Hiisi could have been a troll or a giant like creature but in the earliest mythical layers hiisi was a sacred place, a grove in nature where people went to worship old pagan gods. Äijö is another name for Ukko, the god of thunder and rain. Raven was connected to some of the most powerful Finnish gods and goddesses and it had a reputation of being one of the most magical and mysterious birds.
Korppikivi The Raven Stone
When raven hatched eggs, one of the eggs was heavier than others and it was a magical stone. It gave shaman the ability to speak the language of ravens, understand the mysteries and ancient wisdom of the ancestors and the underworld. Stone could turn shaman invisible and it could fulfill all their wishes.
Raven´s stomach being made from a wretched sack refers ravens not being picky eaters. In Finnish mythology ravens were popular spirit guides for the shamans and many times when a shaman traveled into the underworld they would take the form of a bird. In Finnish mythology there were three layers of the world; Ylinen, the upper world where all the highest of the spirits lived, Keskinen, the middle world. Place for all humans, animals, plants and all elemental deities. Then there was Alinen the underworld. Ancestors lived in the underworld and in the original world view, underworld was not like the Christian version of Hell. It was a place where the spirits of the ancestors waited for the re-carnation. These levels were not concrete places. They represented the different aspects of rebirth in nature. Raven was believed to be a creature of the underworld, Alinen. Ravens and black animals in general were often connected to the underworld and people feared them same way as they feared and respected their ancestors.
Magic songs of the Finns by Elias Lönnrot
Check out my myths and legends product lines from Zazzle
As a fan of Little Women (all four books) I wanted to adress something that really bothers me in the whole Fritz/Laurie debate. If you´ve read my previous LW posts you´ll know that for me the only happy ends for Jo are either with Friedrich or the single Jo. Those are my ships and I don´t care who other people ship. Even though Friedrich is my favorite character that doesn´t mean that I hate Laurie. Quite the contrary I think Laurie´s character arch is one of the most interesting ones in the books (many film adaptations sadly ignore it). I don´t like the debate because it is not only about people fighting over who they think Jo should end up with. It´s about people consciusly choosing to hate certain characters because these characters or even their favorite characters don´t behave like they want in the books
There some very vile individuals who share false information online about Louisa May Alcott and all the sequals. There are people who make fun of Jo because she doesn´t want to marry Laurie and there are people in #teamlaurie who make fun of Friedrich because he is older and poor and they ignore all those wonderful qualities that make Jo fall in love with him or they hate Amy for marrying Laurie. Not to mention certain feminists who make fun of Meg because she is a domesticated godddess. My inner feminist thinks that is pretty harsh since that was the traditional role of the women in 19th century and yes, both Jo and Amy are better rolemodels for modern day girls. That does not mean that it is okay for women to make fun of other women. Whole premise of feminism is about woman´s right to make their own choises and Meg is quite content with her life. Some people also make fun of Jo because she is not as aggressive as an adult as she was as a teen...I call that growing up (do these people remember their own teen-age years?) Even if Jo is not as aggressive as an adult, she remains as her sassy unapologetic self throughout the book series (I just read the part from Little Men where she justifies Nat the importance of pillow fights). It is not only vile people in #TeamLaurie. There are also people in #TeamBhaer who only point out all the faults that Laurie has.
THIS IS ALL SO STUPID!
I couldn´t hate any characters in Little Women or Louisa May Alcott for writing one of my favorite books. Many people tend to forget that Little Women is a coming of age book not a love story. It was targeted for young girls in the late 19th century offering advices on good marriage and moralities. The debate itself completely minimizes author´s messages:
There are different types of marriages and roles of men an women can be more fluid.
Women can remain independent while being in a loving relationship when they are with a right partner.
Women can have a fullfilling career and a family.
We should not make fun of spinsters or those who choose to be alone or ladies who take more traditional roles.
Most importantly money and looks should not matter in the affairs of the heart. Marmee gives this advice to her daughters. She would rather see them happily married with poor men than unhappily with a rich ones.
Debate completely ignores the fact that both Jo and Amy are stepping stones in the process of Laurie turning from a boy into a man and that both Laurie and Friedrich represent Jo´s growth as and individual. It completely ignores Amy´s character arch growing from a vain child into a mature caring woman and the change of dynamics in Amy´s and Jo´s relationship. After Beth´s death sisters actually become closer (which I always thought was very realistic and beautiful). Book centers around Jo and her sisters maturing but it is also a story about Laurie and Friedrich.
Laurie who lost his parents on a young age and has been living in different boarding schools in Europe moves to Concord to live with his distant grandfather. He is an outsider and that is one of the reasons he has no problems becoming best friends with four girls. Because his grandfather can be very distant Laurie does became fixated with the March family. There are times when he is just wonderful and supportive like during the time of Beth´s illness but he can be very immature at times. Jo never has any romantic feelings towards Laurie in the books and she is totally frightened and angry when Laurie develops a crush on her. They are both alphas with high tempers who work great as friends but anything else than that they bring out the worst in each others. Laurie becomes rather obsessed with Jo and his behavior is very intrusive. It is also rather unhealthy and it is his way of avoiding growing up and taking responsibilites. He might be closer to her age but Jo was always the mature one. She has rejected all his romantic efforts but he jus continues. When Laurie proposes it is all about him. He doesn´t consider Jo´s feelings at all.
Jo had a tendency to mother Laurie. Whenever Laurie had difficulties with his grandfather Jo was usually the mediator between them. She was always reminding him not to speak slang and to behave well especially when Laurie was in college. Even when she knows that she can never love him the way he would like to, she is afraid of the confrontation and hurting his feeling and Laurie needs to hear that in order to move on with his life. Amy is not afraid of confrontations. She meets Lazy-Laurie drifting in Europe being all whiny and pitiful but she wont have him either if he doesn´t get his act together and he does. The emotional roller-coaster with both Jo and Amy is what makes him to grow and become a man. I especially like Laurie in the following sequels where he is a loving husband and a father. Good Wives/Little Women II is one of my favorite books, mostly because of the romantic fluffiness but I like it when two people grow to love each others and they don´t even notice it at first.
I love this part where Laurie goes to see Amy after Beth´s death
"She did not hear him cross the courtyard beyond, nor see him pause in the archaway...He stood a minute, looked ath her with new eyes, seeing what no-one had ever seen before - the thender side of Amy´s character. Everything about her mutely suggested love and sorrow - the blotted letters in her lap (his letters), the black ribbon that tied up her hair, and she wore it as her only ornament.
"O Laurie, Laurie, I knew you´d come to me"
It is a shame that so many film versions ignore Amy´s and Laurie´s story. It is beautifully written in the books. I hope that the up-coming film do them justice.
Elizabeth Taylor is my favorite Amy
From the four sisters Amy and Jo were the most similar both having a temper and Jo did envy Amy since it was so effortless for her to get everything she wanted. Burning Jo´s book wasn´t right and Amy did regret it all of her life. She also did look up to Jo and admired her determination, even though Amy´s ambitions were in other things. At the age of 16 Amy already had a better control over her temper than Jo and because of that she was the one who got to go to Europe. I personally love the adult Amy in the books. Jo is definitely a feminist hero but we should give more credit for Amy as well. Amy never copes well with being poor (very much like her creator Louisa May Alcott) and unlike Jo, she cares a great deal about her appearance. This is why from a very young age she knows that she will marry a rich man but Amy grows to realize that marrying for love is much better. I love the part where she scolds Laurie. It does not come from a bad place. She cares about him deeply and even more when he turns out to be worthy of her trust.
I found it very interesting in the books when Amy comes to the conclusion that she is never going to be a professional artist. I felt really bad for her and she was way too hard on herself comparing herself to the great masters. She did continue with her art as a hobby and always enjoyed it. It is hard for me to say if that was a good or a bad thing. She could have reached higher and become very successful but maybe letting go of that dream made it easier for her to create without pressure. As a full-time artist myself Amy´s struggles finding the balance feels very relatable.
I don´t know anyone who has read Little Women and hasn´t identified themselves with Jo at some level. Jo is filled with contradictions. Shy and impulsive. She doesn´t want to be with Laurie, she wants to be Laurie and have all those liberties that were granted for men but not for women of the time. Jo March does things her own way. Jo always had a bit of a Peter Pan complex. She did not want to grow up and things to change yet at the same time she was always very mature herself. She started to take responsibilities of an adult very early on by selling her writings. Jo never writes because of fame or fortune. She writes to suppor her family. Adult Jo worked as a governess in New York. Occupation that was often frowned upon during the time. Once Jo heard two young men making fun of her being a governess:
”I felt angry at first, and then I didn´t care, for a governess is as good as a clerk, and I´ve got sense, I I haven´t style, which is more than some people have, judging from the remarks of the elegant beings who clattered away, smoking like bad chimneys. I hate ordinary people”.
Tomboy Jo is also very good at taking care of others. This can be seen especially with her interractions with Beth. I´ve never liked the idea of Jo and Laurie together. Girls don´t´usually fall for guys who they mother and I don´t think it should be Jo´s job to ”fix” Laurie. Friedrich challenges Jo in a whole different level because his personality is total opposite to her. She is impulsive and introverted and he is more calm and extroverted and they compliment each others. When she and Fritz turn Plumfield into a school for boys Jo can nurture them as much as she likes but I think one of the key ingredients to Jo´s and Friedrich´s loving relationship is that Friedrich doesn´t need Jo to mother him.
Friedrich is already a mature man when we meet him for the first time but he as well grows as a person. When he spends time with Jo in New York he doesn´t really want to accept the fact that he is indeed in love with her because falling in love brings out insecurities about their differences. It is a classical case of the opposite attract- troupe in the beginning but they soon find out that they do have many things in common. Eventually Friedrich decides to travel to Concord to see if Jo has feelings for her. Which was a brave thing to do. There is an interesting aspect in Friedrich. I think he felt bit resentment towards his sister. Friedrich had to move to America when his sister Minna became ill and he promised on her death-bed to her to look after his nephews and by doing this he had to change careers from a well-respected philosophy teacher from Berlin to a language tutor in a foreign land. Life happens and Fritz never complains and he loves his nephews. He often misses his homeland but Fritz is one of those people who don´t dwell in the past. When we meet Friedrich in New York he has gotten there through complicated circumstances trying to make most of it but it wasn´t the life he had hoped for himself. In the chapter ”under the umbrella” in Good Wives/LW II both him and Jo reclaim the control of their lives when they agree to build their future together and make it what they want it to be.
My apologies. I´m a total Jo what it comes to Friedrich. I can´t shut up.
There we have it. What it comes to Jo I´m on #TeamBhaer all the way and what it comes to Laurie I´m most definitely #TeamLaurieWithAmy. Both couples bring out the best of each others and I also freaking love John and Meg who are shamelessly neglected by the (at times extremely shallow) Little Women fandom.
Check out my other Little Women articles:
Little Women: Equal Marriage Lost In Translation
Friedrich Bhaer (Why my inner Jo loves him) Tender Masculinity in Little Women
All of you Alcott fans who happen to be native English speakers do not take it for granted that you can read the author´s words the way she intented them to be read. I recently had an interesting discussion with a fellow Finnish book blogger about Little Women and the special place it has in our hearts (he is one of the two men who I personally know that have read Little Women) but also the frustration that badly translated sentence can cause for the reader not to mention the abridged versions or the ones where the translator has taken artistic liberties. In worst cases bad translation can completely turn the meaning of the scene upside down. This is something that happened to me when I first time read the Little Women II.
I am a Finn and in Finland we take national pride how equality has such an important value in our culture and in the society. This is one of the many reasons why I have always been very found of Jo´s dear professor. Friedrich Bhaer is just as tupsy-turvy as Jo but most importantly Jo and Fritz share similar ideas of equality and it´s importance in a relationship. We can not expect nothing overly graphic from Alcott. When Jo and Friedrich spent more time together in New York, she becomes fixated on him both physically and intellectually in away she never did with Laurie or anyone else. Friedrich also becomes more found of Jo each passing day. They are both very stubborn in totally different ways and it is difficult for them to express how they truly feel. Most of the time that Jo spends in New York is told from Jo´s point of view and the focus of narration is on Jo´s developing romantic feelings towards ”her professor”. When Friedrich arrives to Concord tables are turned and now it is Friedrich who is, rather openly, fixated on her.
I was 17 when I read Little Women II (also known as Good Wives) for the first time and there was something in the proposal under the umbrella that always bothered me and now after a decade later I found out that it was a translation error. In this beautiful scene Friedrich tells Jo that he is traveling to the west to provide education for his nephews Franz and Emil and Jo is heartbroken because he is leaving and they finally reveal their true feelings for one another. They both agree to work hard to build their life and future together. As a symbol of this Jo takes some of the parcels he is carrying. In the Finnish translation that I´ve read Friedrich gives Jo the title of ”professorin rouva” which literally means ”professor´s wife”. I found this very strange. There is all this talk about them being equal to one another and then this. I´ve come to known Friedrich as a man who mends his own socks, has re-build his life in a foreign country and as someone who has managed to raise two young boys by himself. He is not possessive over women, especially not over Jo who he has utmost respect (and heart full of love). Basically Friedrich is like Jo, someone who doesn´t think that marriage should be a goal of one´s life but an union between two people based on love and trust. Neither they represent the traditional role of men and women of the time and their marriage is going to be unique because of that.
I recently read Little Women I and II for the first time in English and in the English version Friedrich gives Jo a German title of Professorin. I happen to speak German and I know that Professorin doesn´t mean professor´s wife. It is not even close to it. It means a female professor. By giving this title Friedrich makes Jo equal to him and Jo is delighted because as a woman (and coming from a poor family) she has not been allowed to continue to higher education. Little Women II takes place in 1870-1880´s and during that time women were allowed to participate on university lectures and exams but they were not allowed to matriculate or graduate until 1920´s. Friedrich´s attraction to Jo is as well both physical and intelligent. He knows she is very well-read, has a sharp mind, her interests hardly fit within the domestic phere and she can achieve many great things if she wants to and he is more than willing to support that. I nearly missed all of that because of a translation error which completely changed the meaning of his words.
Apparentally the Finnish translation I used to read was done way back in 1921 and it definitely looks like I should get myself an updated version. Even if you are married to your soulmate relationships always require compromises. Little Women II does excellent job showing different types of marriages between equals. Jo wants Friedrich who doesn´t want to change her, has good work-morals and challenges her intellectually. Laurie wants someone who he can admire and who admires him and someone who fits into his world and Amy is perfect for that. Meg and John are the most traditional couple. He is the provider and she takes care of the home and children and that is their agreement.
Check out my previous Little Women article as well:
Quest of Friedrich Bhaer (and why my inner Jo loves him)
Thoughts on TeamLaurie and TeamBhaer
You can also find me on instagram @fairychamberart
As always I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you read abridged or strangely translated version of Little Women or it´s sequels or any other books? What do you think about the equality aspect of Jo´s and Fritz relationship? (I´d say #relationshipgoals)
I finally managed to finish my Sparrow Hawk painting and I must say I am rather pleased the way it turned out. If someone is not familiar with Sparrow Hawk his real name is Ged and he is the hero in Ursula K. Leguin´s Earth sea books (not to mention one of my longest time literal crushes). Ged has the ability to shapeshift himself into a Sparrow Hawk. He is also the archmage of the Earth Sea. A mage, a wizard, a warlock...man is magic! In the books he is described to have "hawk-like" - features so that is what I tried to capture. Watercolors and mixed media.
Stickers, t-shirts, posters and other cool things based on this illustration can be found from my Redbubble store.
An older video of mine I did couple years ago. This is all about words. My favorite Finnish, English and German words. Enjoy )O(
In the agricultural society all holidays were connected to the land. Spring was the time sowing, ploughing and other farm works. To this list I have collected Finnish spring holidays which majority (if not all) have pagan origins.
Maaliskuu - March
Derived from the word maa meaning earth. Soil and dirt was revealing itself when the snow was melting.
Kevätpäiväntasaus / Matopäivä – Spring Equinox, day of the snakes 20-21.3
Nature wakes up. Day of Akka the earth goddess. It was believed that snakes and worms woke up from the hibernations and gathered into the fields to dance. Shaking of the earth woke Akka from her sleep.
Mato-Pentti – Worm Pentti 21.3
Snakes rise to enjoy the sunlight
Marjan päivä – the day of Marja 25.3
Day of the Virgin Mary. Mother of life.
Virposunnuntai – Virpo Sunday (week before Easter)
Virpominen is a Finnish easter custom. Bundle of willow twigs are used for casting spells for good luck for friends, neighbours and family members. Custom is still practiced today by children in Western Finland each Easter.
Easter Week (you can read more about Finnish Easter celebration customs here).
Kiirastorstai – Maundy Thursday
People cast spells to keep away kiira´s, evil spirits that were sent by vicious people.
Lanka-Lauantai (string saturday) – Holy Saturday
Powerful day for witches. Spells performed in cross-roads at midnight were extremely powerful.
Huhtikuu - April
Derived from the word huhta which is an old word for a broomstick or a bundle. Other old names of the month were sulamakuu (melting month) suvikuu (summer month) and kiimakuu (the heath month). Nature is filled with life and birds are mating. First butterflies appear.
Suviyöt ja Suvipäivä – Summer nights and summer day 12-14.4
Beginnig of summer. Cattle was released to the fields.
Jyrin päivä – day of Jyri 23.4
Cattle was let to wonder in the forest and were protected with spells. Sacrfices were given for the forest elves and the protector spirits of the cattle.
Markun päivä – day of Markku 25.4
Farming began in southern Finland. Time to divinate the summer weather.
Toukokuu - May
Derived from an old Finnish word Touko meaning growth. Planting begins.
Hela, Vappu, Valpuri – May Day 1.5
May day festival. Included music, dancing and drinking mead. Little girls attached bells into their feet. Pagan name of the holiday was Hela. Time for witches to charge their powers. Bonfires were lit to keep evil spirits away.
During the time of Catholism celebration was turned into St. Valpurg´s day. In the beginning of the 19th century name was changed again into Vappu, the international worker´s day. In modern day Finland vappu is mainly the holiday of students.
Ristin päivä – Day of the cross 3.5
Last day to let cattle outside. Day of the fishermen. In Savonia start of sow.
Horses were let to graze in the forest and were protected with spells. Hay starts to grow.
Time of dancing and flirting.
Erkin päivä – Day of Erkki 18.5
Beginning of summer.
Urpon päivä – day of Urpo 25.5
Weather starts to get warm. New vihtas (bundles) were made for saunas. End of ploughing.
Pikkukesä – Little Summer (end of May)
Nature is blossoming
images: unsplash & pixabay
Check out my Goddess Collection from Zazzle )O(
I am illustrating Hansel and Gretel. One of my favorite fairytales from my childhood. Here are some Gretel character design development. I love designing outfits and think what are the things that the character is interested so it is also a process of not only deciding what the character looks like but who they are and what is their personality.
Artist and Illustrator. Mythology and Folklore enthusiastic. Keen traveler. Comes from Finland. Likes cats, tea, and such.
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