Hello Global community of Little Women fans.
Today´s comment shout out goes to @notafraidof-virginiawoolf who says the following:
Friedrich Bhaer is the only convincingly sexy man in literature I have decided.
That is some legitimate Fritz Bhaer appreciation. Friedrich, he is based on many men who Louisa May Alcott personally found attractive and one of them was Goethe.
From all the episodes I´ve done to this channel, the one about Louisa May Alcott´s love for Germany , it is probably the one I´v got most feedback. When people have contacted me and they´v wanted to discuss with me about Little Women, lot of people mention that particular episode or the articles I wrote about it and that it has helped them to understand Little Women and Friedrich´s and Jo´s relationship. It´s nice because I went through the same feelings when I was doing the research. Ever since I posted that episode and I mentioned the Goethe connections, I´v got people asking me if I could speak more about it and here we are.
Sources I have used to gather this information has mostly come from Meghan Armknecht´s excellent essay called "Jo marries Goethe, Professor Bhaer as the Goethean ideal in Louisa May Alcott´s Little Women" and Christine Doyle's amazing essay "Singing Mignon´s song, German culture and literature in Little Women". I have read lots of books and essays about Louisa May Alcott. Sometimes I feel that when the writer is talking about"Little Women" they are actually not speaking about the novel, but some of the movies. It can be very frustrating, and I think some of them don´t even realize they are doing that, but Christine Doyle, she has read the books and knows them very well. I can recommend her Louisa May Alcott studies.
I have also used Goethe as one of my sources. I read Sorrows of young Werther, who´s story is very similar to Laurie and his over-compelling emotional turbulent and Wilhelm Meister, book that has love stories that Louisa reprises in Little Women. These were Louisa´s favorite novels that she read multiple times during her life. She had the framework for the love stories build up years before she was asked to write Little Women. In her essay Megan Armknecht said that there has been not a lot research done between Little Women and Goethe´s novels. This is really unknown territory and it can completely change the way we think about Louisa May Alcott. Maybe after you have listened this episode you come to the same conclusion and start do your own research on this topic.
This episode is sponsored by Audible. From Audible you can find unlimited amount of books to read and you can get a free trial with the affiliate link, that you can find from the description.You can find books like Goethe´s Wilhelm Meister which I am going to open up a bit in this podcast and of course Little Women and it´s sequels, if you have not read it yet.
(Audible link https://amzn.to/3uFSyNf )
This is Small Umbrella In The Rain The Little Women Podcast - Jo Marries Goethe, Louisa May Alcott´s fascination to the German Poet.
Louisa May Alcott and the transnational family
Louisa May Alcott, great American writer was born in 1832. The same year great German writer and poet Goethe passed away.
Was that a sign?
Louisa became familiar with Goethe as a child. Thanks to her father Bronson, who had Goethe´s biography, in his small but selective library. By the end of her life, Louisa had managed to collect all American editions and some German editions of Goethe´s works and often send notes to her friends to let her know when new editions were available, so she could complete her Goethe collection.
This is what Alcott scholar Christine Doyle writes:
By the time Alcott wrote Jo´s Boys (which is the last Little Women book) in 1880s. She had spent a life time reading Goethe, and he was still clearly and consciously important to her. In 1876 and again in 1883, se had made attempts to collect as much of his work as possible. She wrote to her publisher Thomas Niles "Thanks for the Goethe book. I want everything that comes out about him" (Signing Mignon´s song, Doyle).
Louisa was actually born in to the first American town that was settled by German immigrants in 1683. This was Germantown in Pennsylvania. Louisa was born into a time when Americans started to consume German literature and there was somewhat a "German epidemic" in New England. This was also the time when American universities started to include German books into their collections and many of these educational reformers were transcendentalists, like the Alcott´s.
During those years German immigrants and German literature made a powerful impact on America. Quoting historian Russel Nye "Although Irish immigrants were the most numerous (Marches in Little Women, and Alcott´s in real life were descendants of Irish immigrants) Germans were close behind, numbering 1,3 million in 1860s, In addition to their Protestant heritage, which made the typical German immigrant far less suspect in America than the Irish Catholic, German immigrants were welcomed for their "socially sophisticated tradition" that included food, art and support for education.
The attitude towards immigrants varied depending on the location. Areas like New England where there was a long history of German immigration, people were naturally a lot more accepting, but this was not the case in many other places. In Little Women Jo points out the difficulties Friedrich has finding a job, because he is an outsider and speaks with broken English. We can assume that this is why the local universities do not wish to hire him, despite the fact that he was a teacher of philosophy in Germany. When Friedrich proposes Jo he says that he is going to move to the west and work as a teacher there and the two agree to wait and work for their shared future. This probably is a reference to Louisa´s love for philosopher Henry Thoreau, who to Louisa embodied the ideology of the west. West in the popular imagination refers into to the last frontier of American settlement.
Nye sums up; They (German immigrants) were "adaptable, ambitious and strongly patriotic".
Just such an immigrant is Friedrich Bhaer, whose character allows Alcott to acknowledge many of the positive aspects of German culture that the new immigrants embodied. Though a renowned professor in Berlin, Bhaer endures anonymity and poverty in America to honor his promise to his sister, who had married an American and wanted her two German-American sons to be raised there (Doyle).
Goethe Louisa´s literal idol
Goethe is still today a huge figure in Germany and in German speaking countries, one must read at least some of his works to get into the university they want. Lots of research has been done between the similarities in Louisa´s novel "A long fatal love chase" and Goethe´s Faust but the connections between Goethe´s writings and Little Women is just beginning.
Friedrich and Jo are both mixed characters. Louisa wrote Jo to be an idealized version of herself, therefore Jo also has elements from women who Louisa admired. Louisa wrote Friedrich to be her own ideal man, so Friedrich has elements of men who Louisa loved and admired, and Goethe was one of these men.
Friedrich as a character has striking similarities with Goethe, that go beyond their German background. When Jo writes letter home, she describes Friedrich for the first time.
"Mrs Kirk told me he was from Berlin. Very learned and good but poor as a church mouse".
Goethe was not poor as a church mouse . He actually came from an aristocratic background but Friedrich shares Goethe´s intellectualism and the book gives hints that if Fritz would have remained in Germany he would have risen in to great fame, because of his intellectualism.
In his native city he had been a man much honored and esteemed for learning and integrity. Jo felt proud to know that he was an honored professor in Berlin, though only a poor language master in America and his homely, hard working life, was much beautified by the spice of romance which this discovery gave it.
Goethe´s native city was not Berlin. He was from Weimar, but the two cities are only hundred miles away from each other in the same region.
Quote from Megan Armknecht:
By the time when Alcott wrote Little Women, Berlin was gaining more and more importance and would become the capital of the new German empire in 1871.
Goethe´s and Friedrich´s similar traits
There are similarities between Goethe´s and Friedrich´s personalities. Both were family men and loved children. Their characteristics include kindness and largeness of heart.
When Jo sees Fritz for the first time, he is helping a young servant girl to carry a heavy hold of cole.
In her letter home, Jo remarks the incident.
"Wasn´t it good of him? I like such things for as father says, trifles show character.
Friedrich loves kids and is very good with them. After his sister Minna passed away, he adopted his nephews Franz and Emil, and raised them as his own. For Jo, that Friedrich has children, especially boys, is actually something very attractive. Throughout the novel the narrator (Louisa) mentions how much Jo loves boys and hanging out with boys and boyish energy.
Jo loves to observe how Fritz interacts with children. When she is staying at New York, she spies on him and little Tina, who is the daughter of the French maid at the boarding house.
Jo writes; "Tina has lost her heart to Mr Bhaer and follows him about the house, like a dog, whenever he is at home, which delights him, as he is very fond of children".
Goethe biographer Herder writes that Goethe was a great child all his life. Eager to learn and willing to give whatever he had to make others happy. One of the things that Jo finds attractive in Friedrich´s character is the way he is always ready to look after people and himself. Which is in contradiction to Laurie´s behavior since for the most part of the novel, Laurie doesn´t know how to be an adult or how to look after himself and he expects that once they marry, Jo shall be his caretaker, not an equal partner, which is what Amy later becomes.
In Little Women Louisa hints that Friedrich´s father might have abandoned his family. This explains why Friedrich loves his sons and his nephews, and wants to be an exceptionally good father. He kissed his sleeping sons head remembering a father who left and never returned.
Goethe had a complicated relationship with his father. He didn´t approve his sons artistic endeavors, and this is a topic Goethe often handles in his novels. Young men often act out against the bourgeois lives of their parents. It is part of their rebellion.
Marriage based on love
Both Goethe and Louisa lived during a time period when marriages were based on economic factors and not the matters of the heart. Both writers encourage their readers to reject the economical factors and only to marry for love. This was a very radical idea of the time.
One of the books that Louisa found from her father´s library was Goethe´s WIlhelm Meister´s apprenticeship. Like Little Women, Wilhelm Meister is a Bildung´s roman. It was world´s first coming of age novel. Little Women and perhaps it´s most famous story-line, Jo rejecting Laurie for Friedrich, can be traced to Wilhelm Meister. Wilhelm starts out as a naive, and idealistic young man who has a passionate affair with the actress Marianne. Wilhelm loves theater and he struggles to balance his passion for the arts and the expectations his family has for him taking on the family business. He runs out with the theater company only to see how the theater world slowly consumes his soul with it´s ruthlessness. Then he meets Natalia, a woman very different to Marianne who helps him to gain back his self-worth.
For her 18th birthday Emerson gave Louisa a copy of Goethe´s Wilhelm Meister´s apprenticeship. This copy now in Houghton library at Harvard, is well-worn and marked with Alcott´s marginal comments, showing the care and attention with which she read Goethe´s novel” (Armknecht). In Little Women when Jo is staying in New York, Friedrich gives her a copy of Shakespeare´s novels as a Christmas gift and encourages her to study character. Louisa praised Emerson calling him as "her Goethe". Goethe was a literal inspiration for her and Emerson offered support and encouraged her to read and study character. Friedrich embodies them both and it makes sense that Louisa would give Jo a partner who not only supports Jo´s creative journey but is an essential part of it.
Louisa called both Goethe and Waldo Emerson as "god of my idolatry" Goethe became a a way for Louisa and Emerson to deepen their friendship through intellectual conversation, enriching both of their lives".
Many of the annotations in Louisa´s copy of Wilhelm Meister are associated with romance. For example, she underlined the heading of chapter nine of volume one, marking the passage where Wilhelm feels as though he is infused with "new life" as he falls deeply in love with his first love Mariane. Furthermore in volume three, chapter four, Louisa annotatted a scene where Wilhelm and Natalia talk in the garden about love. She penned in the word "beautiful" after their private conversation.
This sounds very similar to what happens between Amy and Laurie when they are in the garden at Vevey and Jo and Friedrich under the umbrella.
Quote from Christine Doyle´s Mignon´s song.
"The cultural level suggested by Friedrich´s profession and more specifically by his knowledge of Goethe also helps to validate the connection between him and Jo. Alcott had penned a quote from Margaret Fuller´s Woman in the 19th Century regarding Wilhelm Meister´s females connections, the note in Alcott´s handwriting on the back of flyleaf reads, "M Fuller says, As Meister grows in life and advances in wisdom, he becomes acquainted with women of more character moving from Mariana to Natalia, who expresses the Minerva side of things, Mignong the electrical lyrical cnnature. In this light it is possible to read Jo March´s transference of affection from Laurie to Friedrich as a form of "rising" due to her own growth and advancement in terms of character. Laurie is always a "boy" to Jo, but Friedrich is a man. Laurie possess charm and culture, Friedrich as we see, is cultured but also steady and well-grounded. He speaks both to her down-to-earth practicality and down-to-earth imagination. When he and Jo together reprise Mignon´s song after Friedrich´s surprise arrival at the March home later in the novel, it is a clear statement of the fitness of their union, a union of America with some of the best European culture, and for Friedrich, fulfillment of the American dream, he is much more than a "funny match" for Jo".
Wilhelm Meister, Jo moving from Laurie to Fritz, Laurie moving from Jo to Amy
Louisa read Wilhelm Meister´s apprenticeship first time as a child and it was a novel that she always went back to. The way Laurie is chasing Jo is very similar to what happens in another famous novel by Goethe "sorrows of young Werther". Louisa´s affection to Eliza Follen´s biography on her husband Charles and the love story between an American woman and a German immigrant is also reprise in Little Women in Jo´s and Friedrich´s characters. Another book that Louisa read in her early youth.This knowledge can change the course of Louisa May Alcott research, especially what it comes to Louisa´s own perceptions on Good Wives. Alcott scholar Daniel Shealy writes in his essay "Wedding Marches" "in the remaining correspondence between Louisa and her publisher Thomas Niles there are no indications that Niles would have had any say on the character relationships, the marriage decisions were all Alcott´s". Louisa had build the basis for the love stories in Little Women decades before she was asked by Niles to write a book for girls. Good Wives (Little Women part 2) was never an afterthought but an exploration between immature love versus mature love. Yes, some of that we can see in Louisa´s own love life in her relationships between young Ladislas Wisniewski (Laurie) and Henry David Thoreau (Friedrich), which is probably the reason why, Louisa later in life tried to detach herself and her own love life from the love life of her literal counterpart, because it became all too personal.
Geraldine Brooks declares: Another reason Alcott crafted the direction of Jo’s life in this way was because she seemed to want to marry but never did. It seems likely, however, that she did have at least two different love interests in her life. Perhaps Alcott decided to give Jo what she herself always wanted: marriage and a family.
After doing this research for few years now, I´ve come to the same conclusion. When I read Louisa´s letters from her later life, where she says she is happy for her sisters when she sees them flourishing in their marriages, she envies them and feels lonely and she believed that in her next life she would get the things she wanted but never could have, a safe and loving relationship and children of her own.
Sentimental Language of Louisa May Alcott
Greta Gerwig has been very vocal how much she hates Friedrich´s character. I don´t know what her problem is but there is one thing that annoys me to no end. In every one of her interviews Gerwig has argued that Friedrich forces Jo to use the word "thou". I can´t even fathom how absurd this is.
When you study German one of the first things that you learn is that there are two ways to address a person. There is "Du" which is what you use with someone you are very close and then there is "Sie" that you use when you are discussing with someone who is not very close to you. In the 19th century when German literature was translated into English "Du" became "thou". When Friedrich and Jo call each other "Thou" it means that they want to be close to one another.
In the book it says that Jo thought that "thou" was a "lovely syllable". It sounds that Gerwig is just making excuses to spread hate speech about a fictional character and it doesn´t have any base on reality.
This is what Christine Doyle writes:
When Jo terms Friedrich´s request to use "thou" in addressing him "sentimental" (while privately thinking it is lovely), he says, "Sentimental? yes, thank Gott, we Germans believe in sentiment, and keep ourselves young mit it. Your English "you" sounds so cold. Friedrich in fact, retains his German accent throughout the March novels, occasionally dropping German words and phrases such as "Mein Sohn" and "Vaterland" into his speech despite his much imrpoved command of English (for example in Little Women Friedrich says "haf" but then Little Men and Jo´s boys he says "have"). Like Friedrich´s defense of religion, his sentimental language is significant in both cultural and literary context. Alcott seems here to be standing up for emotion in the face of staid New England culture".
Sorrows of young Werther, novel that first skyrocketed Goethe into great fame has been often used as an example of the over-sentimentality of the German Sturm und Drang movement. Louisa was heavily affected by the Sturm und Drang and in her youth she consumed and wrote these "Stress and thunder" tales. Despite of being more of a realistic novel, Little Women is written in sentimental language and this applies to all of Louisa´s novels, children´s books and the adult books. Friedrich is sentimental, but so is Louisa May Alcott.
Louisa´s real life crush, and possible lover Henry David Thoreau also always used "thou" in his love poems when addressing his loved one.
Jo describes Friedrich to look like a regular German. He has brown hair and a bushy beard. Kind blue eyes, big hands and big feet and he has kind tone is his voice "that does one´s ears good after our sharp or slipshod American gabble".
This description is similar to Friedrich Schiller´s first impression on Goethe:
"His appearance greatly lessened the idea I had conceived from hearsay of his imposing and handsome person. He is of middle height, and looks and walks stiff. His countenance is not open, but he has beaming eyes. The expression of his countenance is serious, at the same time that it is benevolent and kind. He has brown hair, and appears older than I should say he really is. His voice exceedingly pleasing, and his conversation flowing, lively and amusing. It is a pleasure to listen to him, and when he is in a happy mood, which he was on this occasion, he is fond of talking and takes and interests in what he says".
Friedrich´s looks and his somewhat stoic personality can also be traced back to Henry David Thoreau, but like Goethe, Henry as well opened up in a company, especially when the conversation was lively and interesting.
There I might with thee my beloved go
"First thing Jo hears from Bhaer is him singing "Kennst du das land" (do you know the land) to himself, the opening line of Mignon´s love song from Goethe´s Wilhelm Meister. Here again is literary intertextuality of Wilhlem Meister in Little Women. By having Bhaer sing Mignon´s song to himself. Alcott not only draws a direct connection between Bhaer and Goethe but also an emotional connection between herself and Goethe".
Louisa points out that both Jo and Friedrich are familiar with Wilhelm Meister. In the chapter surprises Friedrich comes to court Jo, and Jo asks him to perform Mignon´s song with her.
"Now we must finish with Mignon´s song, for Mr Bhaer sings that"
"You will sing with me, we´ll go excellenty well together?" he asked.
A pleasing fiction, by the way, for Jo had no more idea of music than a grasshopper, but she would have consented, if t he had proposed to sing a whole opera, and warbled away, blissfully regardless of time and tune. It didn´t much matter, for Mr Bhaer sang like a true German, heartily and well, and Jo soon subsided into a sublued hum, that she might listen to the mellow voice that seemed to sing for her alone.
"Know´s thou the land where the citron blooms"
Used to be the Professor´s favorite line, for "das land" meant Germany to him; but now he seemed to dwell, with peculiar warmth and melody, upon the words; -
"There, oh there might I with thee, Oh my beloved go"
and one listener was so thrilled by the tender invitation, that she longed to say she did know the land, and would joyfully depart thither, whenever he liked.
How did Jo knew that was his favorite line? they must have had deep one-to-one discussions about Goethe.
Here is a quote from Little Women fan Christina:
Maybe she noticed how a certain gleam come across his eyes as he sings the line. Maybe his lips turn upward into a smile when the lyric comes up, no matter how many times he sings it. Or maybe it was because of the warmth in his voice as he spoke of his home that Jo recognized as she speaks of her home.
But she notices. She notices all the little things of Friedrich, but had yet to have a reason why. But when she leaves New York and is alone after Beth’s death, she thinks of those little things and smiles to herself.
When he comes to her home, she thinks about that line. Home. He is home.
There is another way to interpretate this chapter. Mignon´s song is about departure and re-uniting with your loved one in the after life. Louisa believed that in the next life, she would meet her loved one again and then she would get the life that she had wanted. Maybe this scene was written about Henry, same way as the umbrella chapter. Henry had the same Goethe´s books as Louisa and he was also a good singer and when he would come to visit the Alcott´s, they sometimes sang together.
Quote from Megan Armknecht
Another parallel between Bhaer and Goethe is their philosopher, especially regarding the purposes of art and religion. Bhaer is very interested in Jo´s writing, encourages her to read Shakespeare, and helps explain his work to her. Bhaer gives her as a New Year´s present. Classic writers, such as Shakespeare were very important to Goethe, who read Shakespeare and often wrote about and criticized him in letters to Schiller.
As Jo reads Shakespeare, she not only begins to notice true, honest character more, but she also recognizes just how good Bhaer truly is. She discovers a "live hero", who interested her in spite of many human imperfections. Mr Bhaer, in one of their conversations, had advised her to study simple, true and lovely characters whenever she would found them, as good training for a writer; Jo took him at his word - fro she coolly turned round and studied him and finds him to be good and benevolent. In this way Bhaer´s love of the simple, honest and pure, mirror´s Goethe´s who remained ever in touch with the reality of things as revealed to the sense, but never blind to an ideal interpretations.
This is all in the text of Little Women. Friedrich encourages Jo to become a genuine writer. I have never understood people who say that Friedrich prevents Jo from writing, when in the book, he does the exact opposite, but the people who spread that type of false information, are usually Jo and Laurie fans.
Another quote from Armknecht:
"Bhaer is trying to help Jo to become a genuine writer instead of one who caters to the whims of the crowd. This is something that Goethe would have done. He disliked superficiality in people and in art and was through life frequently offended by the shallow pretensions, the false aims. He insists that a poem must be suggested by real life, and having herein a firm foundation".
This is particularly important information. When Louisa was in her twenties she wrote sensational stories to a New York magazine. Weekly Volcano in Little Women, is a caricature of this magazine. These stories are not Louisa´s best stories, and in Little Women, she describes how Jo has mental health problems because she feels powerless in the hands of the editor, who wants her to write stories that have shock value and when Jo looks for material she begins to have anxiety attacks. This is all in the text. It has never been adapted and that must affect to any anti-Friedrich statements people might have, because in the novel Friedrich comes to Jo´s help, when he sees how much she is struggling.
When Louisa wrote these sensational stories, she was not very experienced with the darker side of life and struggled with lot of these themes that she was requested to write about. It makes sense that she looked up to her literal hero, Goethe and take his advice that a good story, should have a real-life foundation and this is how Jo in Little Women moves on from writing trash to write successful realism thanks to Friedrich, and Louisa did the same thanks to Goethe.
There are times when Goethe´s and Friedrich´s values separate. One of these are their views on religion. Goethe´s views on religion are often described as vague where as Friedrich in Little Women, is very religious. Louisa was a very spiritual person herself and her religious views were rather eclectic, but the base of her beliefs were in her protestant upbringing.
In Little Women Jo and Friedrich attend a symposium. There Jo listens one of the young philosophers speaking about atheist world view, and this makes Jo quite upset.
"It dawned upon her gradually, that the world was being picked to pieces, and put together on new, and according to the talkers, on infinitely better principles than before; that religion was in a fair way to be reasoned into nothingness, and intellect was to be the only God. Jo knew nothing about philosophy or metaphysics of any sort, but a curious excitement, half pleasurable, half painful, came over her, as she listened with a sense of being turned adrift into time and space, like a young balloon out on a holiday".
"He bore it as long as he could; but when he was appealed to for an opinion, he blazed up with honest indignation, and defended religion with all the eloquence of truth - an eloquence which made his broken English musical, and his plain face beautiful. H had a hard fight, for the wise men argued well; but he didn´t know when he was beaten, and stood to his colors like a man. Somehow, as he talked, the world got right again to Jo; the old beliefs that had lasted so long, seemed better than the new. God was not a blind force, and immortality was not a pretty fable, but a blessed fact. Jo felt as if she had solid ground under her feet again; and when Mr Bhaer paused, out talked, but not one whit convinced, Jo wanted to clap her hands and thank him.
She did neither, but she remembered this scene, and gave the Professor her hearthiest respect, for she knew it cost him an effort to speak out then and there, because his conscience would not let him to be silent. She began to see that character is a better possession than money, rank, intellect or beauty, and to feel that if greatness is what a wise man has defined it to be "truth, reverence and good will" then her friend Friedrich Bhaer, was not only good but great".
In this case Friedrich is in fact, much more closer to the American philosophers like Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, who Louisa had often heard keeping speeches about religion. Despite the fact that the transcendentalists adored German culture and writings they were highly suspicious of German philosophers because they did not always share their religious views.
I know quite a few Little Women fans, who absolutely love the symposium scene. It is their favorite Jo and Friedrich moment. She says that "he was not only good, but great" Friedrich is no longer a crush for Jo. It becomes something a lot more serious. Jo remembered his passionate speech for the rest of her life. She even wants to clap when he stops talking. Friedrich, he managed to move something inside her. I have mentioned this in my articles before, one of the reasons why I always adored Jo and Friedrich love story and story line, is because it is one of the most realistic descriptions in literature, how it actually feels like to fall in love to another person and Louisa wrote from her experience.
Jo was attracted to Friedrich from the moment she met him. There is a build up in the novel how her crush and her curiosity about him deepens.
"He was poor, yet always appeared to be giving something away. a stranger yet everyone was his friend, no longer young, but as happy hearted as a boy, plain and odd, yet his face looked beautiful to many and his oddities, were freely forgiven for his sake. Jo often watched him, trying to discover the charm, and at last decided that it was benevolence which worked the miracle. If he had any sorrow "it sad with it´s head under it´s wing" and he turned only his sunny side to the world".
This what is said about Goethe´s personality: "Goethe was always an optimist, despite of the many setbacks he had had during his life. He often wanted to uplift others and bring as much success to others as to himself. Goethe believed that creativity was a gift, but only way to true success was through hard work and resilience. Goethe was emotional and vulnerable and yet he could be a light of the party. Sometimes he was generous to a fault, but always honest and loyal to those he cared about the most.
I personally really like the idea that Louisa gave Jo a husband and a partner that was inspired by Goethe. It makes a lot of sense that Friedrich who helps Jo to reach the next stages of her writing career was based on Louisa´s favorite writer, and that there are elements in Friedrich´s personality we can trace to Goethe.
I hope you enjoyed listening to this. Take care and make good choices. Bye.
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott, 150 years Penguin edition,
Sorrows of young Werter, Johann W. Goethe, 1787, Book Beat
Singing Mignon´s Song, Christine Doyle, John Hopkin´s university press, Children literature volume 31, 2003
"Jo marries Goethe, Dr Bhaer as the Goethean ideal in Louisa May Alcott´s Little Women", Megan Armknecht
Goethe in our time, Sarah Colvin, BBC Radio 4, https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p003c1c8
Little Women Podcast Transcript:
Merry meet little women fans! Welcome to the second season of Small umbrella in the rain. New episode every Thursday for the next 12 weeks.
Today´s comment shutout goes to Melodie. This is what she says:
I wish, instead of remaking “Little Women” into a story where Jo is happy as a spinster, they’d give us a movie about Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau. I want to see THAT story! Maybe folks would understand that Friedrich was the real prize then. And maybe they could understand better that Louisa did not remain unmarried because she wished it. She needed meeting of the minds, mutual respect sort of love.
It’s my experience that Jo and Laurie shippers are usually folks who haven’t read the book. Or, if they read it, it was when they were very young and it was still only as a companion to the 1994 movie. I love your comparison to “The Notebook.” I’m always horrified when I hear that’s someone’s idea of romantic. It’s so toxic. And Jo and Laurie together would be just that. I think one of the beautiful things about “Little Women” is it shows the difference between immature and mature love. When we are young, love often looks like what Jo and Laurie had. I think Laurie just wanted to be in love, so he latched onto the idea of Jo. It’s hard to see it this way, though, because of the movie portrayal. How do you say no to a young and beautiful Christian Bale?!
Melodie, I agree 100%. Perhaps the problem is not the way the book is written, but that society at large romanticizes that type of toxic behavior. Louisa found Henry very attractive even though he wasn´t conventionally attractive but it wasn´t just about his looks but the connection that they shared. Laddie Wisniewski, who was one of the real life Lauries. He was conventionally attractive but he and Louisa didn´t have that connection.
Romanticizing possessive behavior in a male character runs very deeply in our culture. There are double standards, because when a man is pursuing the woman, no matter what the woman says, lot of people think it´s romantic, but when a woman does the same to a man, she is automatically labeled as crazy. This episode is about the similarities between Goethe´s novel, The Sorrow´s of young Werther and Laurie´s character arc in Little Women, and especially how Jo´s and Laurie´s relationship can be directly traced into Goethe´s novel.
There will be mentions of suicides. If this is a topic that triggers you, use your own judgement how to proceed. It is not going to be overly explicit, but it can be a difficult topic for some people.
This episode is sponsored by Audible. If you wish to find unlimited amount of books to read and podcasts to listen you can get 1 month free trial by clicking the affiliate link in the description https://amzn.to/3uFSyNf and if you are looking to something to listen on Audible I can recommend The Sorrows of young Werther and other Goethe´s novels. To me, in terms of my character research . reading Goethe helped me to understand Laurie´s character a lot more, and also it made me understand the transcendentalist world view and their belief system better, because Goethe was one of their heroes and they believed that nature was manifestation of god and this is an idea that Goethe writes a lot in his novels and because he was Louisa´s favorite writer as well, it has helped me to understand Louisa more as a person.
Louisa May Alcott and Goethe
Johan Wolfgang von Goethe was one of the most praised German authors of his time. Louisa May Alcott was a big Goethe fan. Louisa was a transcendentalist. The whole world view of the transcendentalists could be described as nature-centric form of Christianity and it was based on German philosophy and German romanticism. Goethe was one of the most important literal inspirations for the transcendentalists because he captured the essence of their beliefs into poetic form.
Louisa, according to her own words "grew up hearing stories of Goethe on her father´s knee". Bronson Alcott´s library included contemporary translation of Goethe´s biography and we can assume that it was one of the first books that Louisa read. One of Louisa´s most famous literal characters, Laurie from Little Women, is partially based on Goethe and Goethe´s literal heroes (Doyle).
Goethe was born into great wealth. His father was a doctor of jurisprudence and came from prestigious family from Frankfurt. Goethe was home schooled. He had tutors and he studied history, mathematics, music, languages, dancing and fencing. Goethe was fluent in French, a language he spoke as well as his native German.
At the age of 16 Goethe began to study law in the university of Leipzig but he mostly focused on deepening his love for literature and partying.
After graduating as the licentiate of law in 1771 Goethe worked as a lawyer in Frankfurt for a while. Around the same time he began to receive more fame as an author. Goethe published his first novel the Sorrows of Young Werther at the age of 24 and it became a massive best-seller. At the time "Werther" was the second most sold book in Germany, only surpassed by the German Bible.
Sturm und Drang /Stress and Thunder
Goethe was one of the most prominent figures of the German Sturm und Drang movement. Sturm und Drang refers into deep emotional stress. The name of the movement originates from a play called Sturmn und Drang written by Friedrich Maximilian von Klinger. Two most prominent figures of the movement were Goethe and Friedrich Schiller and the movement effected to the German art world, music, literature and theater.
Louisa described herself as "a creature of moods" so finding an author who managed to capture Louisa´s own emotional stress into words must have been both exiting and comforting. In Little Women Laurie, Jo and Friedrich can be described as Goethean characters, Laurie notably the most. We can trace Laurie´s character arc in Little Women to two Goethe´s novels: "Sorrows of young Werther" and "Wilhelm Meister´s apprenticeship" and to Goethe himself.
In Little Women Laurie is born into great wealth. He lives with his grandfather and he has a home tutor, Mr Brooke. In boarding school he studied fencing and dancing. In college Laurie is a party boy and not very interested in the world of academics (unlike Jo). Laurie is also fluent in French. He has, most of the time, nice manners and he is a talented musician. Laurie is very temperamental. He was born out of a forbidden marriage, between his American father and Italian mother, and this is one of the reasons why he struggles to bond with his grandfather, and they both feel great deal of resentment towards one another when Laurie moves to live with him.
Sorrows of Young Werther
Sorrows of young Werther is a novel written in a letter form. This is an important fact because this makes an immediate effect to the reader. There is no narrator. Letters are written by Werther and addressed to his friend Wilhelm. Werther is a story of a young man who falls in love to Charlotta "Lotte", who is engaged to another worthy man, Albert. Werther suffers from constant emotional stress and he also has quite a temper.
In the beginning of the novel Werther travels to the countryside. He is impressed by the unpretentious country people and envies their happy and simple life style. Often he wonders what is the secret of their happiness, since they have way less than he has. Werther spends great deal of time thinking the meaning of life and he is a great admirer of beauty and the natural world. He spends his time writing and drawing the things he sees. Nature comforts him and that is where he feels happy and safe.
When Werther meets Lotte for the first time he is invited to her home and he sees her feeding her younger sisters and brothers and what Werther is attracted is the feeling of warmth and home that he sees around him. Something that he doesn´t seem to have in his own urban home.
Same happens in Little Women, when Laurie meets the March family for the first time and Jo sees the "hungry look in his eyes" when he looks at her family.
Amy is in there
Louisa´s younger sister May, was a talented professional artist but perhaps Louisa was also inspired by Werther´s artistic talents.
"I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now. When, while the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image, and the breath of that universal love which bears and sustains us, as it floats around us in an eternity of bliss; and then, my friend, when darkness overspreads my eyes, and heaven and earth seem to dwell in my soul and absorb its power, like the form of a beloved mistress, then I often think with longing, Oh, would I could describe these conceptions, could impress upon paper all that is living so full and warm within me, that it might be the mirror of my soul, as my soul is the mirror of the infinite God! O my friend—but it is too much for my strength—I sink under the weight of the splendour of these visions!"
-Sorrows of Young Werther, chapter 1
We must talk about Fritz and Coffee
Friedrich is also in the Sorrow´s of young Werther.
The other day I went to the fountain, and found a young servant-girl, who had set her pitcher on the lowest step, and looked around to see if one of her companions was approaching to place it on her head. I ran down, and looked at her. "Shall I help you, pretty lass?" said I. She blushed deeply. "Oh, sir!" she exclaimed. "No ceremony!" I replied. She adjusted her head-gear, and I helped her. She thanked me, and ascended the steps.
- Sorrows of young Werther
In Little Women when Jo sees Friedrich for the first time he is helping a poor servant girl to carry a heavy hold of coal and this makes a good impression on Jo.
Werther´s body type is more similar to Friedrich than Laurie. Laurie is described to be skinny and androgynous young man. Werther on the other hand is a tall, solidly build man with broad shoulders. He has blue eyes and a fine forehead. Similar to the way Friedrich is described to look like in Little Women. Louisa was attracted to very masculine looking Teutonic heroes and all her romantic interests in her novels look like Werther/Goethe.
In Little Women, Jo and Friedrich have a very strong flirt game and it´s often connected to coffee. When Friedrich comes to court Jo, Jo tells to Hannah to make coffee because "Friedrich..I mean professor Bhaer, doesn´t like tea". Jo would love to make German foods for Fritz but she is not a great cook and she is sad, but he constantly praises her how she makes the best coffee. They are adorable.
Werther, never fails to mention Wilhelm how much he enjoys drinking coffee with his new acquaintances and he writes these long descriptions how they all went to picnic and drank lots of coffee. I counted that coffee is mentioned at least 10 times. It seems that Goethe´s novels became Louisa´s early guides to Germany, and she did visit Germany on her first trip to Europe.
The novel is entirely written from Werther´s perspective so the reader does not get to hear Lotte´s personal thoughts or feelings about him and his behavior. Werther falls in love, but Lotte doesn´t return to his affections. Albert is described as a man who Werther respects but also envies. There is an element of ridiculousness in Werther´s behavior and his emotional stress. He compares his mood changes into dark clouds and thunder storms. Both Werther and Laurie are written to be overly-dramatic.
Werther´s thoughts of suicide appear alarmingly often. Albert is worried when Werther jokes about it and when Werther defenses man taking his own life when the constant passions and feelings are never ending and he can´t escape them.
Laurie´s and Werther´s emotional stress is not caused by the broken heart. Their problems are caused by the lack of meaning.
Laurie was always told what to do by others. He was addicted to Jo´s maternal care, and because of that maternal care that Jo has for him, she was never able to inspire him to become a person who could make his own decisions and live his own life. Part of this is created by Jo´s sympathy to the masculine. She struggles to judge his behavior because of her soft spot for boys. We can trace this back to all the real-life Laurie´s being a lot younger than Louisa.
In the middle of the novel, Werther leaves Lotte and Albert and travels away. He gets a position as an ambassador´s assistant but the work does not satisfy him or the duties that comes with it. He struggles to fit into the high society because he feels that his individuality is being smothered by the "fake facade". He compares his wealthy associates to the poor people who were so kind to him. Werther sees that the nature of the person does not matter in the society, but only wealth and status does. Which leads into an inevitable conflict with the aristocrats and as a result he is reminded by his supporters that on such occasions going with the "whim of the society" is the way to go. Werther´s behavior becomes the topic of the gossip among those who have envied his position and Werther is so upset he would like to "stab a knife into his heart".
Goethe lived during the time when Neo-humanism became mainstream philosophy. One of the more important aspects of neo-humanism was the idea of "self". What is more important? the sense of self, the personal values and the moral codes, or in the end, is our value only measured by our wealth and status.
Jo wakes up to consider her own values
The idea of being "one authentic self" was part of the transcendentalist philosophy. Werther´s inner struggles, with his self-worth are being measured by things that he has no control over, like his family background. This is repeated in Little Women when Jo and Friedrich participate into the social gathering of artists, poets and intellectuals. Jo has a moment of clarity, when the people who she has been admiring from afar show the true nature of themselves and it is far from flattering. This becomes a pinning point between her and Friedrich, because his speech on religion goes right into her soul. Jo often despised the higher class gatherings and was even afraid to be invited into such events. This is caused by Jo´s own preconceptions about the higher class but also her unique sense of self and the way her parents have shown her the livings conditions of the less fortunate.
The idea of self, and self-worth appears in Jo´s and Friedrich´s discussion about writing, and when he reminds Jo that if she, Jo wants to be a successful writer, first she needs to find her own voice, and as a result Jo begins to search her own style.
This is where Werther and Laurie separate. Despite the fact that Laurie has grown up in the world that was filled with high class social gatherings, he is not against them. In fact he enjoys participating to parties and dinners. Amy has always enjoyed such gatherings. Laurie grew up in that world he neither has disillusions about it, but it is only with his relationship with Amy he begins to understand the privileges of his position.
Path to self-destruction
Quote from Liisa Saariluoma, professor of literature:
Even before Werther "falls in love" to Lotte, he knew that their love was doomed because she was engaged. For Werther being unhappily in love was something that he was pursuing from the beginning. Falling in love with Lotte, was a self-destroying path from the start, because Werther knew that even love can not save him from a life without a meaning.
Everything that Lotte represents to Werther, the warm atmosphere, the sense of home, or memories from his childhood and his first love, is secondary compared to his addiction for the emotional distress. Lotte can not save him from the conditions that he must live or that he refuses to find a meaning for his life, and instead he makes Lotte the only reason for his living, and their relationship changes from friendship to emotional blackmailing. Werther´s love for Lotte, is the same love he feels when he is with children or the peasants, because they erect something inside him, harmony, which is not something he has been able to find from the high society.
She said no
When Werther returns to Lotte and Albert, they are now a married couple. They treat Werther with friendliness but his moods are uncontrollable. He knew that the marriage was about to happen but it only fuels to his distress. The country idyll and the harmony that he was so in love with is utterly broken. Young woman who he was friends with had lost their child, and her husband had returned and lost their inheritance. A young peasant boy, a friend of Werther, has sexually abused his mistress. Even nature does not comfort Werther. Seeing the hazel threes he had admired with Lotte make him furious.
Lotte becomes angry at Werther accusing him for choosing her from all the other women, when he knew that she was engaged to somebody else. She and Albert try to calm him down, and she tries to figure out how they could make him to be more sensible.
"I can´t love anyone else, I can´t forget you Jo! never! with a stamp to emphasize his passionate words.
"What shall I do with him? sighed Jo, finding that emotions were more unmanageable than she expected. "You haven´t heard what I wanted to tell you. Sit down and listen; for indeed I want to do right, and make you happy" she said, hoping to soothe him with a little reason, which proved that she knew nothing about love". (Little Women, chapter tender troubles)
When Werther has made his final decision, Lotte is very nervous when she goes to meet him. In Little Women when Jo decides that it is time to tell Laurie to stop, she is very nervous. Werther reads Lotte death of Ossian, which is a poem by James McPherson and all the passages handle death and grief and they are very sentimental. Werther becomes very abusive.
"Everything passes away; but a whole eternity could not extinguish the living flame which was yesterday kindled by your lips, and which now burns within me. She loves me! These arms have encircled her waist, these lips have trembled upon hers. She is mine! Yes, Charlotte, you are mine for ever!
Werther doesn´t listen anything that Lotte says. He threatens her to say he loves her and then he shoots himself.
In Little Women Laurie says that there comes a time when Jo will find someone else, and he rather dies than sees it, and this is Jo´s brilliant response.
Werther the tragic (anti)hero
Werther was massively popular book among the German youth when it appeared. Young men even dressed like Werther, wearing a yellow vest and a blue jacket and it inspired thousands young men and women to commit suicide, and many were angry at Lotte for rejecting Werther. Does this sound familiar to Little Women fans?
Werther´s way to self-destruction is pervasive and all-compassing. His desire to live full-filling meaningful inspirational life is replaced with the belief that it can not be possible.
Werther´s inner conflicts have been often explained with his status. That his unhappiness is caused by the fact that he can not live a simpler life because he was born as an aristocrat.
More contemporary interpretation is that Werther sees no meaning in his life. In his biography Goethe writes about his inspirations for Werther, that the boredom towards life troubled his generation and the popular literature of the time was all about death and disappearance.
Emily and I discusses about this in our Laurie episode. It is a shame that Laurie´s character arc is missing from all Little Women adaptations, because the lack of meaning and not really knowing what you want to be or what you want to do with your life, that is a topic that lot of young people still today can identify with.
Falling love with the fantasy
In Little Women Jo actively tries to partner Laurie to each one of her sisters, because she earnestly wants Laurie to be her brother. First with Meg because "she is in the age", and in part 2 first to Beth, and later on to Amy (even before Jo knew that Amy and Laurie were re-kindling their friendship in Europe). For the modern viewer Jo´s desire to marry Laurie to anyone of her sisters, might come out as fear of committing, but the reason can be found from the proposal chapter. Jo at that point, did not know yet what love was, but she knew that she was not in love with Laurie, and that she wanted to be with someone who she could love truly and with her whole heart. Throughout the book series Jo is shown as a maternal figure who "saves" young boys from being lost, and in Jo´s eyes without her family´s care, Laurie will be lost.
Both Werther and Little Women, flip the pattern of the traditional romance novel, because the female protagonists wants someone better, a partner who is more suitable for them than the overly-emotional guy who is pursuing them and who´s advances make them feel uncomfortable.
Difference between immature and mature love
In Little Women when the reader moves from part 1 to part 2, all the sisters have grown but Laurie has stayed in the mental level of a teen-ager. He doesn´t like school, he doesn´t like to work. Jo has become quite tired with his behavior. She is always telling him how to act and behave. There are scenes in Little Women, where Laurie is frustrated to the way Jo is criticizing him, but he still continues to pursue her, even when he knows that Jo finds it annoying. Laurie is on a self-destructing path.
For Werther and Laurie, Jo/Lotte represents manic pixie dream girl. Manic pixie dream girl is character that somehow is expected to give the male protagonist whatever he needs to complete them and that love erases their troubles so they don´t need to grow or change, but neither Jo or Lotte are manic pixie dream girls, quite the contrary, they are individuals with their own desires and needs.
Laurie first tries to kiss Jo, when they are 15 and it happens when Beth becomes ill and Jo says no. His advances become more aggressive in Little Women part 2 and Jo starts to be afraid hanging out alone with him, which is why she travels to New York, where she meets professor Bhaer and she begins to develope feelings for him and he to her, but unlike Laurie, Friedrich respects Jo and he wants to know her true feelings for him, before making any kinds of advances.
When Laurie proposes to Jo he threatens to kill himself if she says no.
One of the best films of the recent years that depicts "Wertherian" behavior is 500 days of Summer. The entire visual narration of the movie is based to the emotional landscape of Tom, the protagonist. Tom is in love with the idea of love, more than Summer, the woman he is dating. There is a scene in the movie where Summer for the first time shows vulnerability to Tom and shares something deeply personal from her past, but her entire speech is mumbled, so we as viewers don´t know what she is saying and the only words that Tom hears are "I haven´t told this to anyone before". Tom hears the one thing he want´s to hear.
This is what Joseph Gordon-Levitt said about his character Tom.
"He develops a mildly delusional obsession over a girl onto whom he projects all these fantasies," "He thinks she’ll give his life meaning because he doesn’t care about much else going on in his life. A lot of boys and girls think their lives will have meaning if they find a partner who wants nothing else in life but them. That’s not healthy. That’s falling in love with the idea of a person, not the actual person."
After being rejected by Jo, Laurie travels to Vienna and there he tries to compose an opera for Jo, but no matter how hard he tries she never fits into the role of a sweet princess his mind wants to conjure (this has never been adapted into the Little Women films). This is why Laurie´s and Jo´s relationship was doomed from the beginning. Laurie doesn´t see women as who they are. He falls in love with the fantasy. He projected his fantasies and expectations onto Jo. He ignores the signs and warnings, and wants to live in his fantasy world. He tries to see Jo as a princess who he is going to save, but all things that he remembers are the most unflattering aspects of Jo. Since he is Jo´s best friend he should know what kind of person Jo is. This is also when Laurie begins to dream about a woman who looks a lot like Amy, and that is when he remembers the thing that Amy told him. That he is lazy and that she is ashamed of him. This is a huge turning point for Laurie. He leaves the daydreams and goes to find a work from his grandfather. Is Amy a manic pixie dream girl? no she isn´t, because Laurie sees Amy´s full reality and manic pixie dream girl, is never a real person. It is a male fantasy.
Goethe on Werther
Quote from Sarah Colvin, professor of German:
"Sorrows of young Werther brought Goethe enormous fame. It was hugely successful. There are elements of Sturm und Drang in it but more than that, it tapped into the cultural sensibility of the time. The importance of the heart, the importance of the emotions. An enormous audience responded into that. It sold out very quickly. It was popular for all kinds of reasons. Partly because you could decode it and people always love that.
Goethe, he himself fell in love to a young woman called Charlotte von Buff and the main character that Werther falls in love is called Lotte. That brought some embarrassment to the real life Charlotte and her fiance. In reality the relationship between Charlotte and Goethe was platonic, and he had a great respect to Johann Kristian Kestner, who is the Albert of the story.
Werther he kills himself in the end and lot of young men and women followed his example. Werther was badly misunderstood as a novel. Firstly because people didn´t understand that Goethe was actually criticizing the cultural sensibility in the character of Werther and secondly, it was read as an encouragement to suicide, which it certainly wasn´t. It was partly based on to a young man called Jerusalem, who´s story Goethe had heard and implemented to the novel. Jerusalem was a promising young ambassador´s assistant, who had had heartbreaks and disappointments living in the high society and who eventually took his own life".
Goethe was horrified by the wave of suicides that happened. Couple years later, he literally re-wrote Werther, this time in more critical tone.
Louisa was a consumer of Goethe´s novels since an early age. Because she had read Goethe´s biography she seemed to have a very deep understanding why Werther was not a character to be romanticized, but just like Goethe, Louisa noticed that giving Laurie this "Wertherian" character arc, in the end, took the attention away almost everything else in the novel.
Alf and Ladislas
It is difficult for us to understand it now, but when Little Women appeared Louisa received tons of mail everyday from young girls asking her to re-write the ending of the novel and marry Jo to Laurie. There is a scene in Jo´s boys (which is the last Little Women book) where Jo, who is now a famous writer, is very frustrated by these fans who send these requests and the fans who come to spy on her and leave disappointed when they see that she is a "gray woman in her 50s" and not a pretty 15-year old.
This is what Elizabeth Bankcroft writes, in her essay Alcott´s through 30 years, letters to Alf Whitman:
"Alfred, a motherless, lonely boy of 15, enrolled in Franklin B private school in 1857. The shy youth became great favorite of the Alcott girls".
Thirteen years later after Louisa´s death, Alfred published portions of twelve of her letters to him in the "Ladies home journal" permitting the magazine to announce that Laurie the beloved "hero" of Little Women, had edited them. Apparently up to then it had been generally believed that Ladislas Wisniewski, of Vevey and Paris, was the sole prototype for Laurie, but Alfred admitted that Louisa has written him, many years before that "Laurie is you and Jintly (that´s Ladislas). You are the sober half and Ladislas (who I met abroad) is the gay whirligig half".
I am not a native English speaker so I had to check what whirligig means.
Whirligig is a toy that spins round, for example a top or windmill.
I think I need to add that the word gay in the 19th century context, wasn´t always about sexual orientation. It meant a person who took care of their looks or looked dashing and dandy.
Louisa met young Wisniewski in Switzerland. He was very flirtatious with Louisa, who nursed him when he was ill. Louisa always spoke very highly about Ladislas in public, but in private letters between Louisa and her sister May they call him "boring" and they are frustrated that he does not take life very seriously. This is also why, I hardly ever believe any of Louisa´s public statements. She didn´t want anyone to know how heavily Little Women was intertwined with her own life.
We can only imagine Louisa´s frustration when her young fans would beg her to marry Jo to a dear friend like Alf, or Ladislas who was somewhat Louisa´s ex.
I can see why Werther was such a beloved character among young people in the 18th century, because he is written to be very endearing with all his messiness. Somebody also commented in a literal group that I´m part of that both Laurie and Werther, have these tragic elements within them that appeal to young people.
Thank you for listening.
If you wish to follow little women channel on Instagram or on YouTube user name is the little women channel, we are also on Facebooktv as little women channel.
I´ll see you soon.
Make good choices!
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott, 150 years Penguin edition,
Muuttuva Romaani, Liisa Saariluoma, Karisto, 1989
Sorrows of young Werter, Johann W. Goethe, 1787, Book Beat
Singing Mignon´s Song, Christine Doyle, John Hopkin´s university press, Children literature volume 31, 2003
Alcott´s through 30 years, Letters to Alf Whitman, Elizabeth Bankcroft, 1957, Harvard Library
Goethe in our time, Sarah Colvin, BBC Radio 4, https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p003c1c8
How 500 days of Summer gets the manic pixie dream girl right, Movies under the surface, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YI2i96G6Kwk&ab_channel=MoviesUnderTheSurface
Little Women 1994 film, Little Women 2017 series, and "Young Goethe in love" 2010 (in Germany "Goethe!")
"This is less a question than an observation a huge part of what is disappointing about lot of these adaptations including the Greta Gerwig one, is that it´s 2020 now and folks don´t want to talk about the fact that a huge part of the Bhaer-hate stems from fat-phobia and honestly, that brilliant, goofy, nerdy people don´t make romantic leads and I´m pretty sure Louisa May Alcott would agree. I always imagined someone maybe with Sean Astin´s build playing the part".
This next thing I am going to say is legitimate. You can find Louisa May Alcott novels so you can check this out. In every single Louisa May Alcott novel, where the Louisa type of protagonist falls in love or marries, the romantic partners, they always look the same. They all have the same body type. They are all tall and heavily build. One of Friedrich´s models was the German poet Goethe and if you look at pictures of Goethe, he is this middle-aged man with broad-shoulders and very tall and you know, heavily build and all Louisa May Alcott´s romantic heroes look like that. Some of the have beards, some of the don´t and surprisingly many of them speak with German accents. John Suhre who was a German soldier who Louisa nursed in the war. He was tall and a bit stout, with a brown beard. Louisa wrote into her diary that she found him very handsome and attractive. Adam in Moods and David in Work, the female protagonist is always fixated to their looks and their "manliness" and when Friedrich becomes Jo´s sexual awakening she pays attention to his big hands and to his big feet and she is really lusty over him.
In Jo´s boys when Dan comes back to Plumfield, he has grown a beard. For those of you who have not read Jo´s boys, Dan was one of Jo´s and Friedrich´s students. When he comes back he asks Jo if he should shave the beard or not and Jo is like "don´t do that. It makes you look so manly and handsome" and it is so funny because both Friedrich and Dan are based on Henry Thoreau. Mac in Rose in Bloom, he also has the same body type. He is blonde and he is younger. In Eight Cousins where he is a pre-teen he is described to be a bit "chubby", but then in Rose in Bloom, Mac has a huge growth spurt and suddenly he is taller and he has broad shoulders and Rose, surprise, begins to see him more attractive.
All these men are described to have blue eyes, which is an interesting detail since Henry Thoreau had blue eyes. In away Louisa, she was attracted to the alpha-male. Her ideal man always looks very masculine but they are all very gentle by nature. To Louisa man being heavily build meant that they were big and strong, and they can take care of themselves and other people. People like Greta Gerwig complaining about body type. It is very shallow. People can hire conventionally good looking actors to play Fritz like Rossano Brazzi and Louis Garrel, but it never erases the problem that Jo is never attracted to Laurie, and Laurie´s looks, and the way his and Jo´s relationship has these toxic elements, it´s always missing and all that explains why Jo dumps him in the first place.
Alpha-male for Louisa was also someone who could support their writing, which is what Friedrich does. He encourages her to find her own writing style. There is also some criticism over skinny-looking guys in Little Women. Nat and Laurie are skinny and pretty, more effeminate and the narrator has occasionally criticisms about their "overly-emotional nature", like Laurie. Laurie is often overly-dramatic and Nat is more of a daydreamer, they both are very sensitive. Which raises an interesting question if part of that is about narrator´s dislike about femininity because in the novel, one of Jo´s more masculine qualities is that she denies her own vulnerability which is why I think her arc with Friedrich was so important because the more she tried to deny her vulnerability, the more she felt lost and with Friedrich she could find the balance.
In some ways Louisa connected men being skinny with non-productivity. In Jo´s boys Meg and Jo don´t want Daisy to marry Nat, because they think he is such a daydreamer. Then he travels to Germany to study music and when he comes back to Concord he is more heavily-build. It´s really funny because Meg and Jo are like wow, he looks much better now. I don´t personally share Louisa´s views about skinny guys not being productive but maybe it was based on her own experiences since Julian Hawthorne and Laddie Wisniewski who were real-life Laurie´s. They were pretty but they weren´t always very productive and didn´t really live up to Louisa´s standards. In Finland we have this expression, uusavuton, which means an adult, who doesn´t know how to be an adult, and Laurie and Nat, they are these type of characters. They need strong female guides, like Amy or Daisy to inspire them to grow and to take control over their lives.
To Louisa the alpha-male is a man who combines the masculine and the feminine energy together in a balance, and effectively. Strong but kind, confident but humble. I don´t really know any other writer who has such a clear idea what her ideal man is like. It has a lot to do with taste, but I think Louisa´s love for "masculine men" who were also intellectuals was connected to her own values. She was drawn to men who possessed tender masculinity. I read once that Louisa gave Friedrich elements of European men that she wished that more American men would have. I think there might be some truth to that. I grew up watching lots of Scandinavian film productions, like Astrid Lingren adaptations and there is lots of male characters that look very masculine, or physically strong male characters, but they are passionate and romantic with their partners and they love their kids. So if you know someone who complains about Friedrich´s looks, Louisa wrote Friedrich to be her own ideal man, so if someone has problems with that. They don´t really understand the author.
When Louisa was asked to write little women, she hesitated because her closest friends were all boys, and then her sisters. Knowing Louisa´s love for men and boys and masculinity, it makes a lot of sense that men who she was attracted to also looked that way. There has been lots of research on Louisa´s identification with masculinity and yes, there is a lot of that in Little Women, but in a lot of ways Jo is also a very feminine character, in the way she reads romance novels and when she falls in love, she dreams about marriage and starting a family and she is very maternal, which is something that came naturally to her.
You can watch the full q and a here.
If I was a Jo and Laurie fan, I would not speak to myself. Also discussing how incredibly lonely Louisa was and how she envied her sisters' marital happiness, and how she believed that in the next life she would reunite with her loved one and would get the things that were not granted to her in the present (marriage, family).
Hi Niina. I love listening to your podcast. I know this is not a topic you speak very often but I am curious to know what are your thoughts on Jo and Laurie fans and do you think the large number of them is more of a result of a bad interpretation of the novel or the overly romanticised film versions or both?
An excellent question. To my experience lot of Jo and Laurie fans they have very strong denial mentality. I can give you an example. Once I was having a discussion with someone. I said that I really didn´t like the way Laurie was minimizing Jo´s writing in the novel and this person said that they can´t remember any scenes from the book where Laurie would dislike Jo´s writing. So I took screen shots of the scenes in the book where Laurie is minimizing and making fun of Jo´s writings and this person blocked me. To me it is difficult to have discussions with Jo and Laurie shippers because when you point out things in the novel they close their eyes and ears and are like "I don´t want to hear that I don´t want to see that". If you listen to my channel, then you know that I love to discuss about the novel. To my experience they don´t read the part 2. They romanticise part 1 and they skip over the scenes where Laurie and Jo as well are shown in more critical ligth, like in the chapter where Laurie is imposing as John and is catfishing Meg and those things are never in the films.
So to answer your question, I think there are lots of Jo and Laurie fans who are very aware of the more problematic aspects of Jo´s and Laurie´s relationship in the novel but because the films romanticise the so much it is very difficult to some to let go of that and this is why I think the film makers make a HUGE disservice to the book and to the public because year after year after year they keep erasing these toxic elements of their relationship, so the viewer never finds out the real reason why Jo dumps him.
Here is a quote from a discussion I had with Cara who is a fellow Little Women fan.
"There are so many men like Laurie in romantic movies. Guys that are constantly bullshitting or hurting someone end up with the girl and we are rooting for them because they are Oh So pretty. Take Ryan Gosling in the Notebook. He threatens his love interest with killing himself by jumping off the ferris wheel if she doesn´t go on a date with him. Incredible Werther moment. We see it as a grand gesture and a sign of love because that guy is played by Ryan Gosling. If the role would be played by an unattractive actor we would view his actions much differently".
"I always ask myself if the screen writers and actors did read the book or only saw the adaptations because if so they wouldn´t be that biased I think or they really think love interest in Jo´s age would be more contemporary or rather that they like this young blooming love growing into something bigger -trope but are they really people attracted to stupidity? I mean I know a lot of people that don´t care how well-read or intellectual their significant other is but it´s usually people that aren´t well read either and focus on different things".
Laurie, he can be productive and smart when he wants to but he also says that he went to college to please his grandfather and Jo, but he is not interested from academics, the same way as Jo and Friedrich are and he is not interested to work. I don´t really care to discuss with Jo and Laurie fans these days anymore because it´s waste of my time. The last discussion that I had with a Jo and Laurie fan was really disturbing. They said that Louisa May Alcott didn´t know what she was doing and that Greta Gerwig´s version is the only real version because Jo almost accepted Laurie´s proposal. I´m not kidding with you. When I said that Laurie doesn´t really have anything in common with Jo. He likes men´s fashion and music, but he doesn´t take his music career very seriously. I did not hear from this person again. In my evolution of Laurie essay I quoted a lady who had written an article called "Laurie is a nice guy" where they wrote how they used to love Jo and Laurie together but when they got older it began to bother them how he was harrasing her and tried to manipulate Jo to be with him. In the 19th century there was many Jo and Laurie fans because no one was questioning his behavior. Except Louisa May Alcott herself in the novel. I think Jo and Laurie fans are mostly doctorined by the films. If the films would include all the messed up things that Laurie does in the novel and how bad influence Jo and Laurie have on each other no one in their right mind would think they are a good couple.
Jo and Laurie fans they love to complain about Amy burning Jo´s book. In the novel Jo is bullying Amy for months. She was on a 24/7 crusade humiliating her. That´s not in the films. Jo and Laurie fans they love to complain how Amy "stole" Jo´s trip to Europe. Jo says to the aunts that she doesn´t like French and that she is better than them and the aunts are going to France. That is never in the films and isn´t it interesting that Louisa May Alcott herself did the same trip to Europe that Amy did? The way I read that chapter it is meant as a lesson to Jo to not put herself above other women.
The favorite thing that Jo and Laurie fans like to complain is that Friedrich stop´s Jo from writing. This is a narrative that is entirely made up by the Laurie fans. In the book Jo has a mental breakdown when she has to write sensational stories which contradicted with her own desires and that is never in the films. So when Friedrich reminds her that if you want to be a successful and an authentic writer you need to write things that you can stand behind and you can be proud of and this happened with Louisa. She really struggled with sensationalism and she felt lots of pressure when the publisher asked her to write stories that she herself was not comfortable with and there is a quote in Louisa´s journals where she mentions that her friend Emerson has given her courage to find her own voice as a writer. You can find this from the first Louisa May Alcott biography which has quotes from her diaries and it´s never in the movies and the film makers just skip over that and then you get people like Greta Gerwig and Heidi Thomas saying that Friedrich doesn´t allow Jo to write. Why haven´t these people actually read the novel?
Some of you may know that a book called "Jo and Laurie" appeared in 2020 and because of my basic principles I decided not to read it. Someone who I did a collaboration to the podcast had read it and they said that in the novel Louisa decides to match up Jo and Laurie but she is not very happy with that so even the person who wrote this book, and I assume that they are a Jo and Laurie shipper, isn´t certain about them and that if Louisa thought it was a good idea. Part of me thinks that is hilarious but then I am also annoyed that they are misrepresenting Louisa May Alcott who was an actual person (I´m looking at you Greta Gerwig). The only way that Jo and Laurie would have ended up together was if Louisa would have ended up with Ladislas Wisniewski. He wanted Louisa to be his nanny and called Louisa his "little mama" and according to some Alcott scholars he was a conman blackmailing Louisa. I think we can all agree that that relationship would have been a bad idea. If you want to hear more about theories surrounding Ladislas check out my video essay "love and sex in little women".
All this applies to Jo should have been a spinster/asexual/ i ship Jo to a flower pot/ I think she wants to be a child who doesn´t grow up blah blah blah none of those narratives goes along with the events in the novel or Louisa´s personal life. The transcendentalists they had very unique ways to see the world. They were abolitionists and they believed into co-education. People like Henry Thoreau and other philosophers who Louisa knew personally and that she inserted into Friedrich´s character. Without them she would not have become the person who she became so you can´t erase Jo´s and Friedrich´s relationship from Little Women because then you don´t have story of this curious intellectual person growing to be Louisa May Alcott.
There is a book called "life of Charles Follen" which was written by Eliza Follen. Charles was a German immigrant and an abolitionist and he was a hero for the transcendentalists. Louisa had met Charles as a child and she liked him a lot. After Charles passed away Eliza wrote a book about him and their relationship. Louisa May Alcott read this book when she was 12. So both Charles and Eliza ended up becoming models for Jo and Friedrich and my favorite quote in Little Women is the part where Jo wonders why everyone likes Friedrich and she says "he was attractive as a genial fire. People gathered around him like a warm hearth" and I found out that Louisa actually copied this sentence from Eliza Follen. So my favorite scene in Little Women, is written by Eliza Follen. There was something about that relationship that deeply moved Louisa. I am going to make an entire podcast episode about Charles and Eliza in the future.
When Louisa was in her 20s she had dreams about marriage and starting a family. This is what I´v been doing. I´ve been tracing these books that Louisa read that worked as basis for Jo´s and Friedrich´s relationship. Henry Thoreau who Louisa loved all her life passed away when she was 28 and Henry was a model for Friedrich and all the romantic heroes in her stories and John Suhre, German soldier who Louisa fancied and nursed in the war. He passed away when she was working in the hospithal and it is sad that people like Greta Gerwig try to justify Jo remaining as a spinster or to be in love with Laurie, just because Louisa May Alcott never married. Louisa was incredibly lonely. Lot´s of people like to sugarcoat that. Susan Bailey once wrote that maybe writing romantic endings for her heroines was Louisa´s way to cope with her loneliness or re-live romantic memories. Louisa did consider marriage with Laddie Wisniewksi but like we´ve discussed in this podcast many times, he was very flicky and not very trustworthy, and Louisa writes in one of her articles that marriage without love is self-deceiving and if you marry someone just because you are lonely, you are hurting yourself even more and this is exactly what happens in Little Women. Jo says that the only reason she could marry Laurie is because she was lonely.
It´s actually really heartbreaking to read some of Louisa´s letters because she was incredibly lonely. Louisa believed to recarnation and to the immortality of the soul and that she would re-unite with her loved on in the next life. Louisa writes how she sees that her sisters are very happy and she is happy for them but she is sad because she is lonely and she believes that she has had so many struggles in this life she believes that she deserves just as much love and romance as they do and that she will get them in the next life.
"I believe that we meet somewhere again, thou where or how I don´t know or care, for genuine love is immortal"
"I think immortality is the passiong of a soul through many lives or experiences; and such as are truly lived, used and learned, help on to the next, each growing richer, happier and higher, carrying with it only the real memories of what has gone before.... I seem to remember former states and feel that in them I have learned some ofthe lessons that have never since beenmine here and in my next step I hope to leave behind many of the trials I have struggled to bear here and begin to find lightened as I go on. This accounts for for the genius and great virtue some show here. They have done well in many phases of this great school and bring into our class teh virtue of the gifts that make them great or good. We don´t remember the lesser things. They slip away as childish trifles and we carry on only the real experiences"
This is so interesting to me. Louisa believes that she learns and grows from her mistakes and in the second life she gets the things that weren´t given her in the present. Things like marriage and family of her own, and maybe even the school that she dreamt of.
This idea that reading Good Wives or Little Women Part 2 as a sad story of yerning for childhood, it is not supported by the text or the author´s intention at all, because Little Women is about growing up as a person, but what lot of people don´t know that is that Louisa became very ill after her cervice at the Civil War. She had typhoid fever but it was actually the mercury poisoning that slowly killed her. Especially during the end of her life Louisa´s condition was extremely painful and I think it is also good to remind that during this time, in the end of the 19th century most people married for money instead of love and Louisa was part of the movement that was encouraging people to marry for love instead of money.
For those of you who have asked me about Louisa´s relationship with Henry Thoreau. I agree with Christine Doyle, Alcott scholar who said that Henry merited Louisa´s life long affection. He was the love of her life. Now, I don´t know if he loved her back. I think he loved her as a friend and maybe there was something romantic that happened between them but there are too many similarities between Little Women and things that happened between Louisa and Henry, the way Louisa has written about them into her diaries. She wrote that she used to "steal" Henry from her father to have philosophical discussions with him and this happens in Little Women, when Jo tries to steal Friedrich from her father. Henry also has a habbit to carry an umbrella and Henry also used the word "thou" when he was being very cute or romantic. Look up Henry Thoreau´s love poems. Friedrich uses "thou" on Jo, "thou" is his pet name for her and Henry is the romantic lead in Louisa´s novels. What it comes to her love for him, she is very transparent. Henry is not the only model for Friedrich, but he sort of accidentally became part of my research when I found out how big effect this relationship that they had had on Louisa´s literal works. Hashtag #TeamHenry.
Discussing on Amy´s religiosity and Louisa May Alcott´s religious views.
Emily: We also talked a little bit about how Jo and professor establish sort of this common language between them in the way they talk with each other because of the use of "thou" and "you" and "us". I guess for me it is like what we´v discussed is that he doesn´t want to hold her in distance. It is almost like a pet-name for them to have a common language with each other but also establishing that they are the ones closest to each other. Which is great. I don´t think it is that extreme in German, in the actual language of German, among friends you say "du" and then for like, let´s say professional relations, your boss or with someone you don´t really know or don´t really see, so then when you establish sort of rapport with them, you´ll say "du". It is not quite as extreme as Fritz takes it in Little Women. Louisa was not a native German speaker. She was kind of doing her own thing with language which, you know, I don´t have a problem with.
Niina: In German and in Russian I think, you know they use a lot of formal language which is not that common in English, or here in Finland. But then in the 19th century I would imagine that it was even more important for the Germans to use "Sie" and "Du" so there was a bigger difference.
Emily: Yeah probably.
Niina: So when Louisa was travelling in Germany. She must have been using "Sie" a lot, when she was talking to people. Yeah I think in that relationship between Jo and Friedrich, "Thou" it becomes more of a pet name. Then it is interesting because when you read poems from Henry Thoreau or Goethe they are always using the word "thou". Makes you wonder if that was something that happened between Louisa and Henry, but that´s all speculation.
Emily: Yeah, we can´t know for sure but it is an interesting quirk. I think we also forget sort of the more antiquated nature of language at that time. I think we try so hard to modernize Little Women and bring it to our own time that I think we forget that it is very much a product of it´s time and is very much colored by history. Which I think people forget factors a lot in the events in the book that actually colors it.
Niina: It annoyed me a lot how Greta Gerwig was complaining how he is using the word "thou" and like I am reading Little Women when I´m 17 and I´m thinking it´s actually really romantic, but then again I was studying German back then. Then again also the translations, like I´v got this old Finnish translation of Little Women and the part where he calls Jo "Professorin, it is translated to "Professor´s little wife".
Emily: Oh no!
Niina: And then in German it means a female professor!
Emily: Female professor!
Niina: Female professor. He is giving her this title that she is his equal. I can imagine someone, a Finnish person reading Little Women, that poor translation from the 50´s and go "Oh Friedrich is such a sexist" and then in the original he is a feminist! Okay. I am pretty sure that the person who translated that didn´t speak a word of German. To my copy I corrected the German words there. I hope that the new translations are better but that was something.
Emily: I know this is a severe misunderstanding of that word. The thing is it is so cute when he calls her "Professorin" Even though he is older than her. He sees her also as a professor and on his level, even though on paper they don´t start out that way. I really can´t understand how people can´t get behind this relationship.
Niina: A part of me hopes that they will make a Little Women adaptation where they clearly show that Friedrich is German and maybe also include parts of him living in Germany. That would be nice and it was important to Louisa that he was German
Thank you for listening. Like comment and share and subscribe to Small umbrella in the rain to learn more about the history of Little Women.
aWhy Friedrich is poor/ Little Women explained
One of the things that I come across over and over again as someone who studies Little Women, is that a lot of people don´t understand why Louisa May Alcott married Jo to a man who was poor. This question is followed by mentioning Laurie´s wealth. Even Little Women script writers have asked this, which always surprises me.
What if I would tell you that Louisa marrying Jo to a poor character who Jo loves and not to a rich character who she is not in love with is one of the most feminist aspects of Little Women.
Louisa May Alcott was born into New England´s transcendentalist movement. Transcendentalism was religious philosophical movement that was based on German philosophy. One of the main thesis of the transcendentalism was the importance of self-reliance. A belief that a person should be able to take care of themselves and others. Rooted to the idea that no matter the circumstances you were born into, you can still make something of yourself. Leave a mark to this world.
One of Louisa´s favorite writers was the German poet Goethe. Goethe was born into great wealth, which eventually led him to a quest to find himself. In away being born as a rich man caused emptiness. Some readers might notice that this is down to a T, Laurie´s character arc in the book, but it has never been adapted.
Goethe finds writing to be his calling and he recommends work as the best remedy for the broken heart. In Little Women when Laurie is in Vienna after he has been rejected by Jo and has been lectured by Amy, he is writing an opera which would ”harrow Jo´s soul and melt her heart” but he just keeps seeing Jo in her most unflattering ways and Jo is replaced by a beautiful ghost that looks like Amy and Laurie sees himself as a romantic prince.
He is flirting with this ghost for a while but then he stops and for the first time in his life Laurie realizes that what he is doing is silly, and he remembers Amy´s words. She took his hand and said that it was white and soft as a woman, and had never done any real work. Only picked flowers for ladies and wore Jouvin´s best gloves.
As a result of this Laurie goes to work for his grandfather. Laurie´s character arc in Little Women is not about Amy or Jo. Laurie´s character arc is about how Laurie becomes a man. In Louisa May Alcott´s world the only acceptable wealthy people are the philanthropists. Marches are friends with older Mr Lawrence not because he is rich but because he uses his wealth to do good. Laurie gets his redemption arc because Amy gets him to support his philanthropist projects.
Self reliance was a big part of Goethe´s philosophy but if we go back into the history of Germany and many other European countries that were protestant, and this is a big part of American history as well, one part of spirituality was the idea that work is beautified by faith and that work, even the most mundane work has a higher meaning. We live in a very secular world but understanding the Christian aspect of the novel can make it easier to understand it.
Transcendentalism has a mixed reputation these days. Unfortunately a lot of that has been spread by the Little Women film makers, who say it is preachy and anti-feminist. It is very ironic because the transcendentalists were an important part of the first wave of feminism because they believed that women had the right to work. Louisa, her sisters May, Anna and Lizzie, they were all working girls, Louisa´s mother Abba was one of the first American social workers.
In Little Women the Marchs´s they used to be on a higher place in the society. In the novel aunt March is the sister of Jo´s father and her husband died and they had a child together, and she died as well. That would make any person bitter. So aunt March is wealthy but she is not happy.
Jo describes uncle March being one of her favorite people. He was kind and he liked to play with kids and that he had a great library. Uncle March actually sounds a lot like Friedrich.
Why did Greta Gerwig decided that it was a great idea to make aunt March a rich spinster who never wanted to marry (where did she get the money, film doesn´t explain that, who is she related to?) Reminds my what Little Women fan- Melodie Ellison said ”Greta Gerwig decided to put herself above everyone else, Louisa May Alcott included".
The Marches they used to have more money but when their father allowed a black child to enter his school , he lost his position and that is when the Marches became poor. In reality the Alcott´s were poorer than the Marches.
Jo is never romantically interested about Laurie in the novel, and in part 2 Jo is actually criticizing Laurie because he doesn´t take his education seriously,and this is a big deal for Jo because she would like to study and go to university. When Jo returns after an eventful year in New York and Laurie proposes her, she sees that he is still not at all interested to find a job. He basically tells her (Jo) to be the one who tells him what to do with his life. It is not Jo´s job to raise him.
One of the re-occurring themes in Little Women is that Laurie is constantly unaware that he is privileged. One example is chapter ”Laurie makes mischief and Jo makes peace” where he is 15 and was pretending to be his tutor John Brooke and send Meg letters in his name.
There was already a rumour going on that Meg and Laurie were an item, and that Marmee was trying to marry Meg to Laurie. This started in the chapter ”Meg goes to vanity fair”. Of course Marmee hated this rumor and so did Meg, but Laurie seemed to be completely unaware of this and that he nearly ruined Meg´s reputations and his tutors reputation.
There are lot of this type of instances in Little Women. In part 2 Laurie is often questioned for buying nice clothes and then he gives worthless gifts to his friends.
Friedrich and Jo are on the same social level, they are both poor and they what it is like to be poor. Jo´s family were not rich, but they were living quite comfortably before. Friedrich had the same experience. In Berlin he was a respected professor. He would get his monthly paycheck. He lived alone so his expenses were less. Then his sister got ill. He moved to New York to take care of her. She died and he adopted his nephews. Now he can only find a job as a language tutor.
What Jo falls in love with in Friedrich is that he is self-reliant and hardworking and that he supports Jo and her desire to work and make her own money. In the chapter friend which is terribly adapted in most adaptations, Friedrich sees that Jo is struggling to write for Weekly Volcano. The stories that she was asked to write forced her to look material that caused her depression and anxiety.
One of the methods that the transcendentalists used as a method to ”transcend” was that they ”scanned” themselves. They would look at the situation from multiple different angles and see if there was something that needed to be changed. Louisa did this all her life. In Little Women Amy, Jo, Laurie and Friedrich they all have these moments of clarity.
When Friedrich tells Jo that the sensational stories can corrupt person´s mind, Jo agrees with him because these sensational stories have been already corrupting her mind. Louisa did the same as Jo, she wrote sensational stories and then she had a moment of clarity. We could compare this to a person who is working for a company. Payment is small, they get not appreciation and they are asked to produce content that goes against their own values.
Friedrich helps Jo to see all that and by doing that she gets her self worth back. Her writing also improves because after this Friedrich gives Jo a set of Shakespeare´s novels and Jo begins to search her own literal style.
The Amazing thing is that Jo does exactly the same to Friedrich. Fritz is described to be very friendly, extroverted person but the narrator also mentions that he feels quite isolated. He is not in a place in his life where he would like to be. He is in a job that doesn´t give him professional satisfaction. The narrator (Louisa) mentions that he dreams about falling in love and starting a family. He loves his nephews but he is also painfully aware that it would be difficult to find a person who would accept the boys to their life as well. Louisa also points out that Friedrich has experienced discrimination for being German and that makes it difficult for him to find a job.
The best adaptation that shows this is Little Women musical. It even has a line where Friedrich tells Jo that ever since he started to fall for her his students told him that he is much happier and smiles all the time. In the novel it is the night before Jo is leaving. Fritz gets his moment of clarity ”Oh my god. I´m so in love with this woman. What should I do”.
The reason why Jo goes back home is not because they argue like in the films. It´s because Beth gets ill and Friedrich lost a sister. He knows what that is like. Jo does the same to Friedrich what he has done for her. She inspires him to take life by the balls. He starts to look for another job so he could provide both Jo and his nephews and when Jo accepts his proposal and they begin to turn Plumfield into a school Jo returns him his previous status as a professor and he simultaneously supports her career as a writer.
This is how Jo addressed her family about her plans: “Now, my dear people," continued Jo earnestly, "just understand that this isn't a new idea of mine, but a long cherished plan. Before my Fritz came, I used to think how, when I'd made my fortune, and no-one needed me at home, I'd hire a big house, and pick up some poor, forlorn little lads who hadn't any mothers, and take care of them, and make life jolly for them before it was too late. I see so many going to ruin for want of help at the right minute, I love so to do anything for them, I seem to feel their wants, and sympathize with their troubles, and oh, I should so like to be a mother to them! …I told my plan to Fritz once, and he said it was just what he would like, and agreed to try it when we got rich. Bless his dear heart, he's been doing it all his life – helping poor boys, I mean, not getting rich, that he'll never be. Money doesn't stay in his pocket long enough to lay up any. But now, thanks to my good old aunt, who loved me better than I ever deserved, I'm rich, at least I feel so, and we can live at Plumfield perfectly well, if we have a flourishing school. It's just the place for boys, the house is big, and the furniture strong and plain. There's plenty of room for dozens inside, and splendid grounds outside. They could help in the garden and orchard. Such work is healthy, isn't it, sir? Then Fritz could train and teach in his own way, and Father will help him. I can feed and nurse and pet and scold them, and Mother will be my stand-by. I've always longed for lots of boys, and never had enough, now I can fill the house full and revel in the little dears to my heart's content. Think what luxury – Plumfield my own, and a wilderness of boys to enjoy it with me."’
Philosopher Waldo Emerson was Louisa’s friend and neighbor; I will read you a quote from his book Self-Reliance: ‘What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.’
What Waldo is saying there is that trusting your own instincts is always the best path to take, and it is also the more difficult one, because there are always people who try to convince you to go against what you know is right.
Here is a quote from Louisa’s early novel The Lady and the Woman, where she discusses her ideas of marriage. Eligible Edward Windsor claims that the style of woman he most admires are those who ‘claim our protection and support, giving us in return affection and obedience, beautiful and tender creatures submissive to our will, confident in our judgment and lenient to our faults, to be cherished in sunshine and sheltered in storms.’
Kate Loring, a young woman of 24, with no pretensions to beauty, who has raised her four orphaned brothers, replies ‘You have given your idol a heart but no head; I would have her humble though self-reliant, gentle, man’s companion not his plaything, able and willing to face storms as well as sunshine, and to share life’s burdens as they come.’ Louisa was part of the women’s movement that developed into the first wave of feminism. Whilst the moving power of this movement was to encourage people to marry for love instead of money, most marriages of the time were because of financial reasons. In Little Woman Marmee says to the sisters that she would rather see them married to poor men and be happy than unhappily to rich men. All the marriages in Little Women, in one way or another, are wrapped around this idea that love is connected to self-reliance. It is a very Christian idea of marriage, the idea that you build something better together with your significant other. I usually try to avoid politics and religion in all of my podcasts, but because Louisa May Alcott was a Christian and it had a big impact on her work, this is one of the things where I make an exception.
When Louisa was in her early 20s, she considered marrying for money to help out her family; in Little Women this element is given to Amy, and a lot of people think that this makes Amy a social climber: I don’t think that was Louisa’s intention. In the book Amy considers marrying Fred Vaughan because she wants to lift her family away from poverty. She’s not thrilled about the idea; she sees it as her duty. Sometimes I wonder if the people who criticize Amy for marrying Laurie, who is rich but not as rich as Fred but still wealthy – would they be as quick to criticize Jo if she had married Laurie? The cause of the whole argument is the lack of Laurie’s character arc in the adaptations.
In the nineteenth century, despite the desire to work, women’s work areas were limited. There was some factory work, but often women would work as maids or governesses or tutors. Amy writes in her letters that if the artistic career doesn’t take off, one of the options is to come back home to Concord and work as an art teacher.
Both Jo and Amy had very similar ideas about wanting to become wealthy, for the wrong reasons. Marrying a rich man, and to support your family that way, seems almost too easy, but in the long run that kind of thing could ruin your life. Jo thought that writing sensational stories would be easy money, and almost cost her her mental health. Amy’s moment of clarity comes when Laurie reminds her that she should not sacrifice her own happiness, and that her family would definitely not support that kind of decision, and the truth is that Amy is reminded of her values and the way she was raised.
I have talked about Laddie Wisniewski who was one of the models for Laurie. Louisa met Laddie in Switzerland, when she was working there. It is still a bit unclear why he was there in the first place – maybe he was taking care of his health. According to Louisa, he had tuberculosis and she was nursing him; he was very flirtatious with Louisa, then he allegedly proposed to Louisa’s employer, [? 19.52 Anna Weld?], who did not react well, and Laddie was kicked out of the premises. Anna Weld was a very wealthy woman, which has led some Alcott scholars to speculate that Ladislas was after her money.
For the angry Laurie fans, who are listening to this, I think the part of Laurie chasing Jo is what comes from this encounter with Laddie Wisniewski, and the rest of it probably comes from Goethe, but continues after the publication of Little Women. Louisa’s publisher had sent a check to Laddie Wisniewski; Louisa and Ladislas had not met each other after they had met in Europe. Why was Louisa giving him money? These are all theories. Ladislas had got married, and he had children, and he needed the money to support them; Louisa loved kids, and she was happy to help. Second scenario: he was blackmailing money from Louisa, threatening to go to the press and tell about their time together in Europe; Laddie was 10-11 years younger than Louisa, and that would have been quite a scandal. I don’t know which scenario is the truth, but I do know that Louisa’s sister May also knew Laddie and they had actually lived in Paris at the same time; but May wasn’t a huge fan of him, and it seems that Louisa got fed up with him as well. They described him as boring, and said that he never paid back his debts for money that Louisa gave him. Maybe May had also given him money that he never paid back.
Whilst the biggest crime that the adaptations do is to make it seem that Amy and Jo are always arguing over Laurie, in the book Jo never wants him, and Amy doesn’t want him either when he is being lazy and unproductive. In an article called ‘Happy Women’ which Louisa wrote about a year after Little Women was published, Louisa writes that accepting a false idea of love just because you are lonely is self-deceiving. Isn’t this what happens in Little Women? Jo considers Laurie’s proposal because she is lonely; perhaps the reason why Louisa rejected Laddie Wisniewski was because she was still in love with Henry Thoreau.
Henry, like all the Transcendentalists, believed in self-reliance; I think the best way to describe Henry’s relationship with money is that he was a minimalist; he also came from the working class – his father had a pencil factory where Henry worked from time to time. He was also a teacher and occasionally a gardener, a hunter and a naturalist – and a writer; and of course Henry was a Transcendentalist philosopher like Friedrich. In Little Women’s saga Henry is constantly present, specially in Little Men where Louisa describes his love for simplicity, when she writes about Friedrich’s love for the natural world.
In the 19th century some religious organizations considered the Transcendentalists heretic, because they almost had a pantheistic belief that Nature was the most perfect expression of God. One of my observant book-readers said that it really was based on someone who Louisa was in love with, and that explains why Louisa was frustrated by the fans who were demanding that she married Jo to Laurie.
Louisa never really liked Little Women; she considered it as one of her worst novels. I think the observant book-reader is right that Louisa wrote a lot about herself, and therefore the success of Little Women would create very conflicted feelings. I and my friend Emily talked about this in our ‘Laurie’ episode; in the 19th century Laurie was a super-popular character, and perhaps one part of that popularity was because he was wealthy. Every time that Louisa was asked about the real-life Laurie, she would always speak very highly about Laddie to the public; but then in her private letters she was not so happy with him.
So why is Friedrich poor? He is poor because he is Jo’s equal, and therefore they shared their similar views on self-reliance and can build their life together. This is what Louisa writes in the ‘Umbrella’ chapter; Friedrich says “I could not find the heart to take you from that so happy home until I could haf a prospect of one to gif you, after much time, perhaps, and hard work. How could I ask you to gif up so much for a poor old fellow, who has no fortune but a little learning?" "I'm glad you are poor. I couldn't bear a rich husband," said Jo decidedly, adding in a softer tone, "Don't fear poverty. I've known it long enough to lose my dread and be happy working for those I love, and don't call yourself old – forty is the prime of life. I couldn't help loving you if you were seventy!"
n Jo´s boys, which is the last little women book, Jo and Friedrich are making out, and he is seventy!
The book that was Louisa’s personal favorite was ‘Moods’, a story that she began to write when she was 17, and she revisited it several times during her life. If you want to read about Louisa’s love life and relationships, ‘Moods’ is pretty explicit, and Jo’s and Friedrich’s age difference in the book is 16 years, which is also Louisa and Henry’s age difference. When it comes to the adaptations, they don’t usually pay much attention to wealth and class; Laurie’s missing character arc is a prime example of that.
That Fritz is poor or not is often pretty vague – same with him being an immigrant, for example in Greta Gerwig’s film there was an earlier script where Friedrich was written to be German and Jo’s father gives a speech about the USA being built upon immigrants, which is true, but then in the final script, and then in the final film, Friedrich is vaguely European and the part about immigrants was turned into a joke. The only film where Friedrich is clearly poor is the 1994 film. Gabriel Byrne´s clothes; in the film they look really nice but they don’t look new. The 1978 series is the only adaptation which shows that Friedrich is applying for jobs after Jo has returned to Concord, and there is a scene where he gets the job and he is building courage to travel to Concord and tell about it to Jo. But the musical is probably the best when it shows that not only does Fritz has a good effect on Jo and her writing, but she has a positive effect on him and his life, in a wider sense.
I will read you a quote from Henry’s poem called ‘Friendship’:
When under kindred shape, like loves and hates
And a kindred nature,
Proclaim us to be mates,
Exposed to equal fates
And each may other help, and service do,
Drawing Love's bands more tight,
Service he ne'er shall rue
While one and one make two,
And two are one;
In such case only doth man fully prove
Fully as man can do,
What power there is in Love
His inmost soul to move
Based on Louisa´s diary markings from the time when she was in her early 20s, it would seem that one of her dreams was to start a school with Henry, where she would be the boys’ mother and he would be the teacher. Henry passed away in 1862; quite soon after that, Louisa registered to work as a nurse in the war; we can fairly say that these events are connected. The idea of school reappears in Little Women. One of Louisa’s friends, Elizabeth Powell and her husband, seem to have been models for Jo and Friedrich; like Jo and Fritz, they even had two sons together. Elizabeth also became one of the first female deans of a university.
Another model for Jo and Fritz were a couple who Louisa greatly admired, Eliza and Charles Follen. Now Charles Follen was a German immigrant; he was really good friends with Louisa’s uncle, Samuel May, and one of the early figures of Transcendentalism. Charles died in an accident, and Eliza wrote a book about him and their marriage. You don’t only see this couple’s influence on Little Women, but also in countless other Louisa May Alcott novels.
Louisa had the habit of inserting herself and people she knew into the books that she wrote. Charles was almost a legendary figure among the Transcendentalists; Louisa basically grew up hearing stories about him. Charles was a hardcore Abolitionist, a revolutionist educator, and he was from – you guessed it – Berlin. Charles was a political refugee. When I now read Little Women, a part of me believes that Friedrich was a political refugee who was fighting against the oppressors. May I tell you, Little Women fans who like to spend their time meditating on Friedrich’s character (like yours truly) are often interested in the different philosophical movements of the past.
I have a few friends who sometimes talk about Friedrich’s childhood and his past relationships before he met Jo. If we think about Henry Thoreau and then Charles Follen – I don’t know if they ever met, but Henry would have known about him because all Transcendentalists knew about Charles Follen. They were both intellectuals, but they both had a rebellious side and a very strong sense of social justice; both Amy and Jo grew up in a family where both parents were always happy to help the poor, and both sisters knew what it was like to be poor. Laurie can never be Jo’s partner because he doesn’t have the mental capacity to support her writing career; it doesn’t mean that Laurie is stupid – it’s just not something that he’s interested in or that he knows a lot about. He is not very grounded, so he can’t really run a school with Jo, but everything works out great for him as Amy is very grounded. When Jo sees him [Friedrich] for the first time, he’s helping this little servant girl, who is carrying a heavy bucket of coal. One of the better parts of the 2017 series is the line where Fritz says that it pains his heart to see a child suffer. Beside their love of books and Goethe and philosophy, Jo and Friedrich also share similar views on anti-slavery and child labor, and also on education, and when we think about all these people who Louisa inserted into Jo’s and Friedrich’s characters – Charles, Eliza, Henry, Louisa herself – they are all connected by this level of rebellion-ism and their refusal to conform to the regulations of society. How amazing is that! Thank you for listening.
Três estágios de namoro do século 19
Explorar o desenvolvimento do relacionamento romântico de Jo e Friedrich no livro, Vou usar os estudos da historiadora Karen Lystra sobre o amor romântico e o namoro do século XIX como comparação. Existem três estágios no namoro do século 19. O amor vem por uma infinidade de razões. Os olhares compartilhados representam uma transação mútua de vidas interiores. Isso leva à identificação de egos e reconhecimento mútuo de pessoas.
O despertar sexual da jo
Jo passa muito tempo em Nova York, cerca de 8 meses. Quando ela vê Friedrich pela primeira vez, ela fica imediatamente atraída por ele.
Quando a porta da sala se abriu e fechou, alguém começou a falar "Kennst du das land" como uma grande abelha, era terrivelmente impróprio, eu sei, mas não consegui resistir à tentação. e levantando uma ponta da cortina antes da porta de vidro que espiei. O professor Bhaer estava lá e enquanto ele organizava seus livros, eu dei uma boa olhada nele. Um alemão normal, bastante robusto, com cabelos castanhos caindo por toda a cabeça, barba espessa, nariz bonito, os olhos mais gentis que já vi, e uma grande voz esplêndida que faz bem aos ouvidos depois de nossa tagarelice americana afiada ou escorregadia. Exceto por seus belos dentes, eu gostava dele. Pois ele tinha uma cabeça bonita, seu linho era muito bonito e ele parecia um cavalheiro.
Com base na primeira impressão de Jo em Friedrich, ela parece estar completamente fascinada por ele. Isso é o que a fã de Little Women Melodie Ellison tem a dizer sobre os looks de Friedrich.
Acho que parte do motivo pelo qual as pessoas agem como Friedrich não é atraente é por causa da conhecida citação de Louisa May Alcott sobre intencionalmente fazer um casamento engraçado para Jo. Eu não ficaria surpreso se ela não quisesse dizer isso. Laurie era convencionalmente atraente. Existem homens em nossos tempos atuais, que se enquadram na mesma categoria. Homens como Zac Efron. Por exemplo, se você me perguntasse o que eu acho de Zac Efron, Direi que ele é bonito, mas não estou pessoalmente atraída por ele. Como Jo, prefiro meus homens barbudos e um pouco robustos, mas o mais importante, inteligentes, trabalhadores e gentis. Acho que as pessoas que não podem aceitar uma versão mais antiga e menos quente do professor falha em entender o relacionamento dele e de Jo. Ela o respeitava e ele a ela e por ela, essa era a sensualidade final.
falha em entender o relacionamento dele e de Jo. Ela o respeitava e ele a ela e por ela, essa era a sensualidade final. Um dos maiores equívocos sobre as mulheres pequenas é que Jo é apenas baseada em Louisa. Louisa escreveu para Jo para ser uma versão idealizada de si mesma e há elementos em Jo que vêm de mulheres que Louisa admirava. A amiga de Louisa, Elizabeth Powell, foi a verdadeira modelo para Jo, de 15 anos. Com base na troca de cartas entre Elizabeth e Louisa, Elizabeth não gostava muito da ideia de casamento, o que é compreensível desde que ela tinha apenas 16 anos. Elizabeth se apaixonou e se casou 10 anos depois e parece que ela continuou sendo um modelo para Jo. Primeiro para Jo March e depois para Jo Bhaer.
Na realidade, Louisa, de 15 anos, era o completo oposto. Louisa era apaixonada pelo melhor amigo do pai, o filósofo Waldo Emerson. Louisa escrevia cartas de amor para ele, mas nunca as mandava e ficava sentada embaixo da janela dele cantando a música de Migon. A canção de Mignon é uma canção do romance de Goethe, o aprendizado de Wilhelm Meister. Que era um dos livros favoritos de Louisa. Emerson foi um dos muitos modelos de Friedrich. O principal modelo foi o filósofo Henry Thoreau, que mereceu o afeto ao longo da vida de Louisa. Quando Jo encontra Friedrich pela primeira vez, ele está cantando a canção de Mignon.
Quando Jo escreve sua carta para casa, ela diz q ue a carta é bastante "bhaery" e que ela está sempre interessada em pessoas estranhas. Podemos interpretar que Jo é fascinada pelos excêntricos de Friedrich e é aqui que Jo encontra sua alma gêmea porque durante toda a sua vida ela se considerou estranha e inadequada.
Uma das razões pelas quais a relação de Jo e Laurie nunca pode ser uma relação entre iguais era que Laurie estava procurando uma figura materna em Jo, e Friedrich ser mais velho e mais maduro do que Laurie é um paradoxo disso.
"Eu estava em nossa sala ontem à noite e o Sr. Bhaer entrou. Com alguns jornais para a Sra. Kirk, ela não estava lá, mas a Minnie, que é uma velhinha, me apresentou muito bem.
”Esta é a amiga da Mama, Srta. March”
“Sim, ela é alegre e gostamos muito dela”, acrescentou Kitty, que é uma “enfant térrible”.
Nós dois nos curvamos e depois rimos, pois a introdução afetada e a adição direta eram um contraste bastante cômico.
Como seu criador, Jo e Friedrich compartilham seu amor pelas crianças. Já no primeiro romance, Jo escapou da sociedade feminina e saiu correndo para brincar com os meninos. Em Nova York, Jo está mais interessada nas ações de Franz e Emil do que em suas pupilas femininas, Kitty e Minnie.
Quanto mais tempo Jo passa em Nova York, mais atraente Friedrich se torna, tanto física quanto intelectualmente. Quanto mais tempo Jo passa em Nova York, mais atraente Friedrich se torna, tanto física quanto intelectualmente. Quando chega a primavera, ela nota as "curvas agradáveis ao redor de sua boca" ”Seus olhos que nunca foram frios ou duros”, ”Suas mãos grandes que tinham um aperto quente e longo que era mais expressivo do que palavras”.
Simpósio / interesses mútuos
Já na primeira parte de Mulheres pequeninas, descobrimos que nem sempre Jo gosta das confraternizações de classe alta. Agora que ela está nos círculos de escritores, poetas e intelectuais, é o mundo do qual ela anseia fazer parte ela está desapontada com suas próprias ilusões que ela criou sobre aquele mundo.
Antes que a noite acabasse. Jo ficou tão desiludida que se sentou em um canto para se recuperar. O Sr. Bhaer logo se juntou a ela parecendo um pouco fora de seu elemento e logo vários dos filósofos, cada um deles envolvido em seu hobby, se prepararam para realizar um torneio intelectual no recreio. Friedrich também parece sentir que está no lugar errado.
o fica angustiada quando está acompanhando o debate e um dos jovens filósofos coloca o intelecto acima de Deus. Após alguma hesitação, Friedrich mantém seu discurso em defesa da religião. A fala deixa uma impressão eterna em Jo e eu até diria que é quando Jo começa a perceber que seus sentimentos por Friedrich são mais do que amizade.
"Ela começou a ver que o caráter é melhor posse do que dinheiro, posição, intelecto ou beleza e sentir que se grandeza é o que um homem sábio tem que descobrir que seja verdade, reverência e boa vontade,então seu amigo Friedrich Bhaer não era apenas bom, mas ótimo ”.
Little Women é um Bildungsroman. Bildungsroman é um gênero literal originário da Alemanha. A tradução para o inglês poderia ser um romance sobre o "amadurecimento". O foco de um Bildungsroman está no desenvolvimento moral e psicológico dos personagens,
No cinema e em todas as adaptações para a TV até agora, a cena em que Fritz expressou suas opiniões sobre literatura sensacionalista se transformou em um conflito. Acho que é para criar mais drama, mas não é assim que as coisas acontecem no livro porque Jo já rotulou seus escritos sensacionais como “lixo”.
Muito antes de ela sequer pensar em viajar para New York. Ela se assegurou de que suas intenções são boas porque usaria o dinheiro para ajudar sua família. Esse conflito interno de Jo começa no capítulo 27. Literalmente lições.
Neste capítulo, Jo assiste a uma palestra sobre pirâmides. Lá ela encontra um jovem que está lendo uma história emocionante escrita pela Sra. Nordbury. Jo se diverte com a admiração do menino pelo “lixo” que Jo chama esse tipo de literatura o que enfatiza seu desejo de se desprender dessas histórias.
Assim, as visões negativas de Jo em relação a histórias sensacionais são claramente identificadas. Quando Jo ouve o quanto a Sra. Nordbury ganha com seus contos de Stress e Thunder. Jo começa a mudar de ideia e logo começa a escrevê-los sozinha.
Os contos de Stress e Thunder se originam de Goethe. Em alemão, esse gênero é chamado de ”Sturm und Drang”. Drang se refere a profundo estresse emocional. Sturm und Drang foi um movimento da literatura e da música na Alemanha do final do século 18 e foi amplamente influenciado pelos escritos e peças de Goethe. Há uma grande ênfase na fé do indivíduo e o movimento foi altamente influenciado por Shakespeare. As peças Sturm und Drang de Goethe eram sobre heróis teutônicos muito masculinos o que provavelmente é o que fascinou Louisa como autora. As primeiras histórias de Jo são tentativas pobres de capturar o espírito de Sturm und Drang.
Sua história estava cheia de desespero e desespero, pois seu conhecimento limitado dessas emoções desconfortáveis permitiu que ela o fizesse.
Jo leva em consideração todos os conselhos que recebe de todos ao seu redor de buscar o conselho de alguém que pudesse ajudá-la a melhorar como escritora. Ela vai contra seu próprio julgamento quando sabe que alguns dos conselhos que recebe não melhoram a história.
”Assim, com firmeza espartana, a jovem autora colocou seu primogênito na mesa e o picou tão cruelmente quanto qualquer ogro. Na esperança de agradar a todos, ela seguiu o conselho de todos e como o velho e seu burro na fábula, não convinha a ninguém. Depois de enviar para um monte de revistas".
Jo escreve seu primeiro romance, que é um romance e recebe críticas mistas. Jo agradece o feedback e aprende com ele.
"Sua família e amigos administravam, conforto e acomodação liberalmente, no entanto, foi um momento difícil para a sensível Jo de alto astral, que tinha boas intenções e aparentemente agiu tão mal mas lhe fez bem, para aqueles cujas opiniões tinham real valor, lhe deu críticas que é a melhor educação do autor e quando o primeiro azedume passou, ela podia rir do pobre livrinho, mas acredita ainda nisso, e sente-se ainda mais sábia e forte pelas batidas que recebeu ”.
Problemas de saúde mental (causados pelo vulcão semanal)
No capítulo 34, quando Jo entra no mundo editorial em New York, ela entra no mundo dominado por homens. Sua história sensacional é cortada de um terço de seu comprimento original. Jo está frustrada com a maneira como o Sr. Dashwood quer cortar toda a moral da história e a moral é o que Jo deseja manter.
Eventualmente, Jo concorda que essas alterações sejam feitas. Apesar de seu escudo masculino, Jo é bastante emocional internamente, embora ela não goste mostrá-lo e escrever contos emocionantes torna-se angustiante.
"Ela estava vivendo em uma sociedade ruim, e pensava que era, , é influência afetada, pois ela estava se alimentando muito e extravagante de comida perigosa e insubstancial e estava tirando rapidamente a flor inocente de sua natureza, por um conhecimento prematuro do lado mais escuro da vida. O que vem em breve para todos nós.
Jo tem vergonha de seus escritos. Ela insiste em usar pseudônimo e não conta para ninguém em casa o que está fazendo e nem ela mostrou suas histórias para Fritz. Friedrich nunca critica Jo como escritora. Ele está criticando o gênero. Friedrich é honesto. Ele quer que Jo se leve a sério como escritora. O livro que Jo não grita ou discute com Fritz, ao contrário do filme que Jo faz porque Friedrich expressa o que Jo tem pensado há muito tempo. Como resultado, Jo queima seus romances inúteis, , então o livro que Jo tenta escrever para crianças. Não parece certo. Então ela escreve histórias que só tem moralidades, isso também não parece certo. Ela salta de um gênero literal para outro. Experimentando.
Friedrich acabou se tornando um amigo. Ele incentiva Jo a estudar pessoas da vida real para que ela possa desenvolver seus personagens e como presente de Natal, , ele dá a ela um conjunto de romances de Shakespeare. Goethe, o ídolo de Louisa, teria pensamentos semelhantes sobre as histórias sensacionais que Friedrich tinha.
Aqui está uma citação de Megan Armknecht, que fez uma extensa pesquisa entre o personagem de Friedrich e Goethe. ”Bhaer está tentando ajudar Jo a se tornar um escritor genuíno, em vez de alguém que atendia às exigências da multidão. Isso é algo que Goethe teria feito. Ele não gostava da superficialidade nas pessoas e na arte e foi frequentemente ofendido ao longo da vida ofendidos com as pretensões superficiais, os falsos objetivos, escritores que por terem alguma sensibilidade poética e algum dom de expressão ”.
Louisa deu crédito a Goethe como o autor que mais pensou em mim sobre a criação e compreensão de personagens.
No filme de 1994, Jo discute com Friedrich sobre seus escritos. O filme meio que retrata Jo como uma ultrafeminista quando Jo diz que uma pena que seus escritos não são bons o suficiente para a alta moral de Friedrich, este é o oposto completo do livro Jo, porque o livro Jo e Friedrich, eles sempre compartilharam a mesma moral.
Aqui está uma citação de uma pessoa que se juntou a #teambhaer" depois de se tornar aquatinta com Friedrich pela primeira vez através do filme de Greta Gerwig e eles se inspiraram para ler o livro.
”Nunca li ou assisti a Little Women antes disso mas eu sou tão fenomenalmente encontrado em Friedrich, apenas em geral. Mas isso vem de alguém que assistiu ao filme de 2019 primeiro e não tinha contexto antes disso. Como escritor experiente em cinema, Tomei conhecimento do paralismo cinematográfico de Gerwig entre o passado e o presente durante a minha vigília e eu poderia dizer que algo deve ter sido retirado da equação. Como forma de equilibrar a visão da Gerwig. No entanto, eu tinha carinho pelo homem que basicamente não tinha existência no meio do filme mal no fato de que o método do essencialismo narrativo de Gerwig ainda me fazia apreciar seu peso. No mesmo 2019, Jo resumiu toda a sua solidão em uma única varredura, como descobri mais tarde, ela dedicou um capítulo inteiro a esses calafrios sombrios.
Descobri que a varredura limpa de Friedrich se reduziu a linhas que poderiam ser facilmente esquecidas se um veio de atuação em vez de um script. "Mas você tem alguém que te leve a sério?" Para falar sobre o seu trabalho, ele era basicamente aquele destinado a simplesmente vê-la. Que em uma única linha Greta Gerwig tinha noções essenciais de seu caráter.
Isso se correlaciona com o livro Fritz Agora o Sr. Bhaer era um homem diferente e lento para dar suas opiniões. Não porque estavam inquietos, mas muito sinceros e sérios para serem falados levianamente, enquanto olhava de Jo para vários outros jovens atraídos pelo brilho da pirotecnia filosófica. Ele franziu as sobrancelhas e desejou falar, temendo que alguma alma jovem e inflamável se perdesse pelos foguetes para saber quando a exibição acabou ”. Claro, como eu realmente admiti, 2019 Friedrich foi minha primeira versão de Friedrich e ele ainda conseguiu chamar minha atenção, por tudo que valia a pena. Foi bom ler o livro 2 e descobrir que Alcott o escreveu como uma adição valiosa, , ao invés de uma desculpa, como eu tive a infelicidade de ler as críticas recentemente que fiquei chocado com tudo o que alguém poderia argumentar o contrário.
Isso me faz pensar por que Greta gastou tanto tempo e energia criticando o livro Friedrich enquanto promove seu filme. Com apenas essa linha simples ele se estabelece como alguém digno do amor de Jo, O filme de Gerwig tem como foco o quanto Jo se incomoda com a mudança, e a cena de feedback não promove o ultrafeminismo mas Jo sai mais infantil. Ela grita que nunca mais fala com ele e não é algo que o livro Jo faria. Na série pbs, Friedrich realmente grita com Jo. Isso não é algo que o livro Friedrich faz.
Friedrich não era tendencioso para Jo quando se tratava de seus sentimentos, ele sabia que ela poderia fazer mais e queria que ela fosse tão boa escritora quanto desejasse. Ele a vê como igual, como uma mulher com coração e alma verdadeiros, uma mulher com talento. Ele não é fácil para ela, mas também não é cruel com ela quando se trata de sua escrita. Acho que, em última análise, ela aprecia que Friedrich nunca suavizou o golpe
mas sempre a tratou como alguém cujas idéias e pensamentos deveriam ser ouvidos.
Aqui está outra citação das lições literárias do capítulo 27: "É só isso. Tenho me preocupado com a coisa há tanto tempo que realmente não sei se é bom, ruim ou indiferente. Será uma grande ajuda ter pessoas legais e imparciais dando uma olhada e me dizendo o que elas acham disso. "
Todo o capítulo é sobre como Jo aprende a definir sua arte a partir do feedback que recebe, muito antes de ela conhecer Friedrich, e isso prenuncia a chegada do personagem de Friedrich. Há um desejo de encontrar uma pessoa que não só possa fazer críticas construtivas mas também a incentive a explorar sua capacidade de contadora de histórias.
O filme de 2018 fez um ótimo trabalho ao tornar o editor de Bhaer Jo e professor de literatura, e até agora é o único filme em que Jo ouve e aceita o feedback que recebe da mesma forma que o livro Jo faz.
Quando estava fazendo essa pesquisa, fiquei chocado quando percebi que a cena em Little Women onde Jo está tendo um colapso mental porque das histórias que ela tem que escrever ao vulcão semanal, que nunca sai nos filmes. Quando Louisa tinha vinte e poucos anos, ela escreveu para um jornal de notícias de Nova York chamado Frank Lesley's semanais ilustrado. Weekly Volcano é uma caricatura desse jornal.
Tendemos a ter uma maneira bastante unidimensional de pensar no que se refere às pessoas históricas porque as pessoas históricas tinham moral. Assim como temos moral. Louisa escrevia por dinheiro e escrevia por dinheiro que vinha com problemas de saúde mental. Ela teve que procurar coisas que a deixavam desconfortável.Eles tinham histórias de homens abusando de mulheres e algumas das histórias eram racistas e sexistas. Essas coisas contradiziam Louisa e sua própria moral. É por isso que ela saiu Há uma citação literal em seus diários, onde ela escreve sobre essas lutas morais e sua amiga Emerson diz ei, você não precisa escrever nada que você não queira escrever e, assim como Jo no livro, Louisa se sente aliviada quando para. Você pode encontrar este jornal online. Você pode ler de graça. Todos esses roteiristas tiveram acesso para lê-lo ao longo de uma década.
Amor pela Filosofia (e filósofos)
Muitos estereótipos desnecessários foram feitos em relação ao personagem de Friedrich. Vou apontar alguns deles, em parte porque são realmente ridículos mas também porque mostram a longa jornada que temos para entender a visão de mundo de Louisa May Alcott. Em um estudo supostamente "feminista" que li, a autora apontou que Friedrich tendo Shakespeare, Milton, Platão e Homero, além de sua Bíblia alemã em sua estante de livros, representam a maneira como Jo agora é prisioneira do poder masculino. Aparentemente, se um personagem masculino fictício que por acaso é professor de filosofia tem livros sobre filosofia em sua estante que devem torná-lo um sexista.
A própria Louisa cresceu lendo livros e ensinamentos desses filósofos em particular. Platão foi na verdade um dos primeiros filósofos a falar sobre igualdade de gênero. Christine Doyle destaca que ao longo da série de livros o personagem de Friedrich representa os aspectos positivos da cultura alemã que os novos imigrantes incorporaram. Bem lido e bem educado - a estante de Friedrich contém volumes de Shakespeare, Milton, Platão e Homero, além de sua Bíblia alemã ele é, no entanto, notavelmente despretensioso, cerzindo as próprias meias, por exemplo.
Ele é profundamente religioso, defendendo a importância da religião na reunião de intelectuais, ele e Jo comparecem. Este é um detalhe particularmente importante uma vez que, ao contrário dos imigrantes alemães da classe trabalhadora, a intelectualidade alemã era altamente suspeita por sua "impiedade", e é na verdade contra os proponentes do intelectualismo de Kant e Hegel que Friedrich lança sua defesa da religião. Até mesmo os grandes apoiadores da literatura alemã, os transcendentalistas, às vezes achavam difícil chegar a um acordo com o que eles lêem como imoralidade e até ateísmo.
Laurie não tem crescimento
Quando Laurie começa a mexer com Jo no livro, Jo se sente muito desconfortável com isso. Ela diz não muitas vezes, mas ele não a escuta nem a respeita. No livro, Jo é uma personagem bem mais madura do que Laurie, mas nas adaptações recentes este não é o caso. No filme de Greta Gerwig, depois que Jo quase confessou a Marmee que está apaixonada por Friedrich o filme Jo de repente decide escrever Laurie e aceitar sua proposta. Isso não acontece no livro. Alguém pode argumentar que o final aberto é uma desculpa para não lidar com a solidão de Jo e maximizar os lucros do filme tentando agradar a todos. Quando Laurie pede Jo em casamento, ele diz que quer que Jo cuide dele e ele não quer que o Jo continue escrevendo quando o comportamento de Laurie se torna possessivo, é agora que Jo finalmente percebe como é para uma mulher quando alguém não respeita seus limites. Laurie sente culpa em Jo por muito tempo e ele zomba de Friedrich mesmo quando ele nunca o conheceu.
Esta é uma narrativa comum nos romances de Louisa May Alcott. Em Rose in Bloom, Charlie deseja se casar com Rose, por causa de seu dinheiro. Ele é muito parecido com Laurie, um campeão de quem todos gostam, mas também é muito sensível e foge para o jogo e o álcool. Rose eventualmente se apaixona por Mac, que é basicamente uma versão mais jovem de Friedrich escocês-americana. Em Work story of experience, o protagonista Christie é cortejado por um homem chamado Fletcher. Um homem feliz que gostaria de possuí-la e Christie se sente muito desconfortável com seu comportamento possessivo. Não havia campagns do tipo "metoo" no século XIX.
No verdadeiro estilo Alcottiano, esses homens estão todos perdoados. Laurie passa por um processo em que Amy desempenha um papel importante e graças a ela baixo nível de BS Laurie realmente melhora a si mesmo.Fletcher e Charlie não têm tanta sorte e em seus leitos de morte eles pedem desculpas ao protagonista.
Laurie nunca amou Jo. Ele estava procurando uma desculpa para manter o relacionamento como estava para que ele não tivesse que crescer ou assumir a responsabilidade por suas ações, mas Jo quer sair desse ciclo tóxico em que estão.
Arquétipos de Laurie e The Friedrich nos romances da Louisa May Alcott
Especialmente depois que ela voltou de Nova York e abriu seu coração para Friedrich. Vou ler para você uma citação do meu amigo Chelley e Chelley conhece os livros de Louisa May Alcott como seus próprios bolsos. Na minha opinião, Louisa May Alcott desenha muitas semelhanças entre personagens como Laurie, Charlie in Oito primos e Rose in Bloom, Tom em uma garota antiquada, Jack in Jack e Jill e Thorny sob os lilases. Todos criados em ambientes relativamente confortáveis. São bondosos, inteligentes e talentosos mas mais do que um pouco selvagens e indolentes, e são influenciados para o bem ou para o mal, principalmente por mulheres. No caso de Laurie, as Marchas são explicitamente referidas como uma influência positiva sobre ele, mas é Marmee, Jo e Amy
quem, em última análise, tem mais influência e cada um de seus relacionamentos com ele representa alguma versão de poder feminino semi-domesticado; mãe, irmã a amante. Apesar da importância declarada das duas primeiras influências no entanto, Laurie não está realmente inspirada para se aprimorar simplesmente para ser uma pessoa melhor enquanto cresce até que ele fale com Amy que, em vez de ser maternal ou expressar seus sentimentos, fala com ele honestamente e diz a ele, ele precisa crescer. Na questão principal de Rose in Bloom, Rose com Charlie é que Charlie espera que ela, a mulher, seja o anjo que o salva de si mesmo, o protege e ele fere repetidamente Rose, explorando seu coração bondoso natural e desejo de ajudar. Louisa poderia ter seguido o mesmo caminho com Nat e Daisy, Tommy e Nan e Even Jo e Laurie ou Laurie e Amy, mas em todos os outros casos, ela escreve uma história em que uma mulher pede para ter o mesmo respeito que deseja, e esperar que de seus parceiros de vida, e os homens se preparem e os encontrem em pé de igualdade ou perca.
Depois, há o arquétipo de Friedrich. Isso é Mac em Rose in Bloom, Friedrich em Little Women, John in Hosphithal Sketches, Adam in Moods, David in Work. O arquétipo de Friedrich, ele geralmente é mais velho e mais calmo, autossuficiente e mais fundamentado do que o arquétipo de Laurie. Há uma paixão silenciosa pelo protagonista. Desejo de estar em pé de igualdade com eles. A ideia de que o amor embeleza uma pessoa e que quando você está em um relacionamento com a pessoa certa vocês se inspiram para serem melhores. Esse é um tema muito comum nos romances de Louisa May Alcott.
No caso de Friedrich, ele quer ser digno de Jo. Ele se candidata a um emprego no oeste para poder sustentar Jo e seus sobrinhos. Nas sequências você pode ver claramente como Jo e Fritz se equilibram perfeitamente. O arquétipo de Friedrich é baseado principalmente em Henry Thoreau. Ele foi o grande amor da vida de Louisa. Havia uma amizade muito forte entre eles. Com Louisa e Henry, houve quase uma telepatia entendimento entre si. Aqui está outra citação de Chelley. A história de amor de Mac e Rose em Rose in Bloom, é uma das mais românticas alguns em todos os romances de Louisa May Alcott e muito disso depende dessa forma telepática de comunicação. São letras que meio que abrem uma janela de suas almas, um ao outro e eles se conectam em um nível intelectual que para eles aprofunda o amor. Paixão silenciosa é uma boa maneira de descrevê-la. Acho que a ideia de Louisa May Alcott modelar o interesse amoroso de sua heroína depois de homens que ela admirava na vida real é quase tragicamente engraçada porque enquanto ela está escrevendo algo e pensando aqui está o final feliz, nosso querido protagonista aprende lições de vida e encontra o amor e a felicidade futura com um companheiro que é digno e igual a ela, uma grande parte de seus leitores vai ”ela se casou com aquele cara por quê?” porque eles estão tendo problemas para olhar além da aparência externa e, infelizmente, acho que muitas pessoas hoje em dia ainda perdem seu ponto principal porque ficam tão presos a quem não acabou junto, que não entendem por quê as pessoas que acabaram juntas são as certas uma para a outra e como esse casamento baseado em amor e confiança e respeito e objetivos semelhantes foi tão radical por um tempo que enfatizou a estabilidade financeira e / ou a mobilidade ascendente sobre a felicidade pessoal.
O fato de Louisa May Alcott estar apaixonada por Henry Thoreau e que ela teve um caso com o jovem Wisniewski isso é de conhecimento comum. Você pode ler sobre isso em quase todas as biografias de Louisa May Alcott e online também. Por exemplo, a acadêmica de Alcott, Susan Bailey quem dirige Louisa May Alcott é o meu blog da paixão, ela escreveu muitos informativos, artigos baseados em fatos sobre a relação de Louisa com esses homens.
Amor e Sexo Em Mulherzinhas
Vou ler para você uma citação de Marlowe Dailey-Galeone. ”Alcott mostra mulheres encontrando seu próprio empoderamento e satisfação através de sua escrita, por meio de sua arte, por meio de seus relacionamentos com os outros. A forma como estruturam as atividades domésticas até mesmo no modo como pensam o casamento como uma parceria. Além disso, Alcott antecipa a discussão sobre o prazer e a realização das mulheres. Quando ensino mulheres pequenas, gosto de perguntar aos meus alunos se eles gostaram da cena de sexo. Esta é uma cena sutil, mas importante de intimidade e prazer depois que Meg e John conversarem sobre finanças, Alcott inclui cuidadosamente o momento em que Meg veste o casaco de John. O casaco que ele só consegue comprar porque ela devolve o vestido e eles têm dinheiro suficiente. Ela veste o casaco e dá as boas-vindas a ele. Meio atrevido. Podemos ter perdido isso. O que vem a seguir é um estado de coisas feliz, então ela, Louisa, é se envolver com a ideia de prazer. Mais uma vez, acho uma coisa boa para lembrar que em 1868 e 1869 Louisa May Alcott está pensando nisso.
Louisa May Alcott e a Família Transnacional
Louisa May Alcott era uma transcendentalista. O transcendentalismo foi um movimento filosófico e cristão americano. O transcendentalismo foi baseado nas idéias do filósofo alemão Immanuel Kant e sua ideologia sobre a família universal. A crença de que todas as nações podem aprender umas com as outras. Transcendentalistas eles levaram esta mensagem a seus corações. Se você sabe alguma coisa sobre os eventos e conflitos mundiais do século 19, os transcendentalistas eram considerados radica mas também estavam à frente de seu tempo. Familiarizar-se com outras culturas foi incentivado. Os imigrantes alemães foram amplamente discriminados. O transcendentalista os acolheu. O mais respeitado e valorizado literatura, poesia, peças e arte, todas vieram da Alemanha e toda a visão de mundo de Louisa era baseada na filosofia alemã. O filme de 2019 foi criticado por não incluir as ideias transcendentalistas e quando Greta Gerwig estava promovendo seu filme, ela fez várias declarações xenófobas sobre o personagem de Friedrich. Ele sendo alemão e falando com sotaque alemão e como Greta Gerwig achava repulsivo.
Todos esses comentários xenófobos não se alinham com a filosofia de Louisa sobre família transnacional e Greta Gerwig é descendente de imigrantes alemães. Algumas das críticas que tenho feito sobre Greta Gerwig é que ela reluta em ter minorias apresentadas em seus filmes. O que é muito lamentável. Quando Jo decide parar de escrever para o Weekly Volcano, ela faz uma descoberta notável. Como criadora, tudo o que ela escreve para seus romances tem uma influência boa ou ruim para seus leitores e ela pára para pensar em quanto dano ela fez escrevendo histórias que conflitavam com sua própria moral. Ela nem mesmo é bem paga por essas histórias. Friedrich ele representa a Louisa mais velha e toda sua visão de mundo transcendentalista. Ele lembra Jo quem ela é como pessoa e que ela tem um bom coração. Jo cresceu em uma família que sempre estava pronta para ajudar os necessitados e sua mãe levou Jo e suas irmãs com elas quando ela foi ajudar as famílias de imigrantes e o pai dela perdeu o emprego quando levou uma criança negra para a escola. Os Alcott eram abolicionistas e até escondiam escravos negros em casa. Louisa testemunhou em primeira mão pessoas sendo discriminadas por causa de sua etnia.
O amor embeleza uma pessoa
Gerwig também reclamou do visual de Friedrich e isso é o que a maioria das pessoas sente falta em Mulheres pequeninas. Katherine Hepburn e Paul Lukas do filme de 1933 provavelmente são os mais próximos de como os personagens foram escritos. O ponto principal da história é que o amor embeleza uma pessoa. Jo não foi escrita para ser bonita, mas ela acha Friedrich muito atraente e ele se sente atraído por ela Louisa também não era particularmente bonita. Mesmo seus fãs ficaram desapontados quando a viram. Há uma cena hilária nos meninos de Jo. Há um fã adulto que vem conhecer Jo Bhaer. Filho de Jo e Friedrich, ele aponta o retrato de sua mãe e esse fã é tipo ”oh não! Eu esperava que ela tivesse 15 anos, fosse bonita e tivesse rabo de porco. Acho que não quero vê-la agora, porque ela parece tão mundana ”. Laurie foi escrita para ser uma personagem convencionalmente bonita, mas suas ações sobre Jo são feias. Filmes são vendidos com gente bonita, mas eu ficaria mais preocupado com a maneira como os cineastas encobrem as falhas de Laurie. Por causa de sua aparência, às vezes Jo se sente uma aberração e não é digna de amor. Friedrich basicamente diz a Jo que não há problema em ser desajeitado e não convencional e ainda assim valer a pena ser amado.
Não há fotos restantes de Ladislas Wisniewski.
As fotos que uso são de domínio público.
Laurie da vida real
Louisa conheceu Ladislas ”Laddie” Wisniewski na Suíça quando ela trabalhava como companheira de uma mulher inválida chamada Anna Weld. Laddie era um compositor polonê s de 21 anos. Ele era muito charmoso e chamava Louisa de sua “mamãe pequena”. Ele tinha tuberculose e Louisa cuidou dele. Louisa era uma enfermeira treinada. Ele estava flertando com Louisa. Algo aconteceu entre Ladislas e Miss Weld. Eles começaram uma discussão. Alguns acreditam que ele tentou forçá-la a dormir com ele e outros dizem que ele a pediu em casamento. Existe uma história de Alcott chamada ”capricho de Anna”. Há um personagem que soa exatamente como Ladislas e ele propõe uma rica herdeira chamada Anna.
Portanto, talvez a ideia da proposta não seja tão rebuscada. Isso é o que Louisa escreve ”Anna preocupou-se com Menininho que estava em um estado de espírito desesperador. Não poderia aconselhá-los a serem tão felizes quanto desejavam. Então deu tudo errado e ambos preocupados ”. As marcações anteriores do diário sugerem que Menininho tinha namorado Louisa e até havia mencionado um possível futuro juntos. Louisa havia escrito que Anna Weld era “chorona, carente, tola e não ligava para Goethe”. O tom das marcações do diário de Louisa muda. Ela começa a simpatizar com Anna e fica mais desconfiada sobre Menininho. Quando Louisa escreve "não poderia aconselhá-los a serem felizes como desejavam?" o que ela quis dizer? Ladislas e Anna de repente se tornaram afetuosos um com o outro. É muito improvável porque logo Ladislau anunciou que estava indo embora. Imagine ser Louisa. Primeiro, esse jovem lindo está flertando com você o tempo todo e sendo romântico e então ele pede seu chefe em casamento. Louisa não era rica na época. Ela não era considerada particularmente bonita e Louisa tinha cerca de 32 anos quando isso aconteceu. Quando seu emprego acabou, ela foi para Paris e passou um dia com ele sem acompanhante, o que foi muito escandaloso e depois disso ela escreveu ao seu jornal muito censurado palavras “não podia ser”. Se vocês já leram o guia do filme de mulheres pequenas de 2019, Greta Gerwig escreveu “Jo e Laurie poderiam ser um ótimo casal se quisessem”. Bem, parece que Louisa não queria. Isso me lembra o que Emily disse em nosso podcast de Laurie. Quando Laurie estava propondo Jo, ele estava procurando alguém para cuidar dele. A biógrafa de Alcott, Harriet Reisen, aponta que talvez Ladislas fosse um vigarista que orava por mulheres ricas. Há coisas que sugerem que Wisniewski pode ter sido um vigarista. Louisa escreve em seu diário sobre sua “recuperação milagrosa da tuberculose”. A tuberculose matou milhões de pessoas e muito convenientemente, Ladislas é milagrosamente curado, pouco antes de ter esse conflito com a Srta. Weld. Não sei se ele era um vigarista ou não, mas acredito que ele pode ter confundido o cuidado de Louisa por ele com algo romântico e que ele queria que ela fosse babá dele, o que não é algo que você possa construir um relacionamento saudável e estou bastante convencido de que ele não estava no nível intelectual de Louisa e ela não podia confiar que ele apoiaria sua escrita.
Friedrich da vida real
Susan Cheever escreve na American Bloomsbury que todas as vezes que Alcott voltou para Concord, Louisa se pegava amando Henry mais e mais cada vez que eles voltavam. Louisa amava homens muito masculinos. Ela escreve em seus diários que adora soldados e uniformes. Ela escreve em seus diários que Henry é o homem perfeito e há uma citação em que ela compara Henry a Napoleão e seu amigo Emerson a Goethe. Em Little Women Friedrich é o despertar sexual de Jo.Ele foi escrito para ser mais masculino e mais maduro do que Laurie.
Ele tem barba, mãos grandes e voz grave. Jo narrador chega a dizer que Jo ama homens muito “viris”. Há algumas críticas sobre os caras magros e mais afeminados. Como Laurie e Nat. Nos meninos de Jo, há muitas cenas em que Jo e Friedrich se beijam e também tem uma cena em que eles estão se beijando. Eles estão prestes a fazer a sujeira e seus filhos entram e os interrompem. Estou realmente surpreso que Louisa se safou com isso. É muito justo dizer que Louisa queria alguém do seu lado que pudesse alimentar e estimular seu cérebro. Henry não era muito bonito, mas havia algo nele porque ele tinha algumas admiradoras mulheres em Concord. Louisa sentiu-se atraída por ele, mas o aspecto mais importante dessa relação eram os interesses semelhantes e a conexão intelectual que eles tinham e eles passaram muito tempo um-a-um juntos. Ela iria visitá-lo em sua cabana no lago de Walden. Eles faziam longas caminhadas pela natureza e ele frequentemente a levava para passeios de barco. Já disse isso antes e repito, a diferença de idade entre eles era a mesma de Jo e Friedrich, de 16 anos. Henry faleceu quando Louisa tinha 28 anos. O resto de sua vida com Ladislas e outros homens e mulheres que encontrou. Ela nunca os achou nem remotamente tão estimulantes intelectualmente quanto Henry. Em Little Women, Jo confessa a Friedrich que, ele é seu primeiro amor e, portanto, o melhor. Algo que achei muito interessante em minha pesquisa de Thoreau, era que Henry e toda a família Thoreau tinham a reputação de desprezar a fofoca e apoiar o individualismo. Isso é algo que Louisa admirava. Você pode ler em seus diários que Henry e Louisa muitas vezes se sentiam estranhos. Muito parecido com Jo e Friedrich, que estão conectados por seus sentimentos de exterioridade. A autocensura, ela acontece até nas Mulheres Pequenas.
A autocensura, ela acontece até nas Mulheres Pequenas. Isso levanta a questão de qual é a intenção do autor? No livro quando Amy queima o manuscrito de Jo, isso acontece porque Jo está intimidando Amy há semanas e ela está farta. Little Women é enquadrado no "processo de peregrinação". Uma história onde o protagonista aprende a superar seus maiores defeitos. Para Jo, sua maior falha é seu temperamento. Por que Louisa faria sua contraparte literal para enfrentar isso se não houvesse intenção? Ela é a criadora e quem controla a história? outra explicação é que Louisa está censurando sua própria escrita, porque quando Jo escreve a história novamente, ela se torna muito melhor. A segunda autocensura acontece com o Weekly Volcano. Como expliquei anteriormente, Louisa usou-se como exemplo, mas nunca admitiu isso. No último livro de Little Women,A rapaziada de Jo , quando Jo se torna uma escritora famosa, ela é totalmente contra quando seu sobrinho Demi começa a escrever histórias para uma revista. Jo não aprova. Quase como se Louisa estivesse ecoando sua própria história com sensacionalismo. Louisa começou a autocensurar seus diários quando Little Women se tornou um best-seller. Como escritora, ela foi anunciada como “a amiga de todas as crianças”. Também é importante destacar que no século 19 o sexo era um tabu. Houve momentos em que Louisa teve dificuldades com o formato do livro infantil porque ela preferia escrever temas adultos, especialmente após o falecimento de Louisa, os primeiros estudiosos de Alcott interpretaram literalmente tudo o que ela havia escrito, a maioria dessas pessoas não sabia que Louisa havia autocensurado seus próprios diários. Louisa não apenas escreveu sobre sua própria vida amorosa em Pequenas Mulheres, literalmente disfarçada, ela também escreveu sobre sua experiência ao escrever histórias sensacionais. Podemos até dizer que ela escreveu seus maiores segredos para o romance. Não é de admirar que ela tivesse sentimentos conflitantes sobre isso. Alguns de nós podem estar muito ansiosos para julgá-la por isso, a maneira como ela tentou se desligar das Pequenas Mulheres, mas na mulher do século 19 com uma boa reputação
Idealização da masculinidade
isso era muito mais valioso do que todo o dinheiro que possuíam. Há algo sobre o qual gostaria de falar. É o cerne do estudo das Pequenas Mulheres, do ponto de vista do gênero. Essa é a idealização do masculino. Em uma das marcações de seu diário, Louisa escreveu: “Sou uma adoradora de heróis por natureza”. Se eu citar um dos leitores do meu blog, “Jo estava se afogando na misoginia internalizada”. Jo coloca Laurie em um pedestal porque Laurie é um menino. Laurie faz o mesmo com Jo, porque ela é a primeira pessoa que presta atenção nele. Quando Laurie está pescando com Meg, Jo não vê nenhum problema em seu comportamento, e na verdade é por Laurie que Jo se sente mal, e isso deixou muitos leitores modernos, especialmente as leitoras, bastante chateados. O que sabemos sobre Louisa é que ela sempre preferiu a companhia masculina em vez de mulheres. Friedrich é idealizado por motivos completamente diferentes dos de Laurie. Ele é idealizado porque Jo está apaixonada por ele. Quando entramos no capítulo do namoro e guarda-chuva, os papéis estão invertidos entre Jo e Friedrich e agora é Friedrich que admira Jo abertamente. O modelo de masculinidade de Friedrich é diferente. Ele respeita os limites dela e não os ultrapassa, e só se move contra Jo quando tem o consentimento total de Jo.
Quando Friedrich propõe a Jo, ele dá a ela o título alemão de "Professora", o que não significa "esposa do professor", como foi traduzido para a minha versão finlandesa mais velha de Pequenas Mulheres é alemão e significa "professora" e com isso Friedrich reconhece a sede de conhecimento de Jo e a considera sua igual intelectual. Tanto no filme de 1994 quanto no de 2019, Jo e Friedrich se deram mal, mas no livro, eles se separam como amigos, ambos se perguntando se isso poderia levar a algo mais no futuro. ”Bem cedo ele estava na estação na manhã seguinte para se despedir de Jo e, graças a ele, ela iniciou sua jornada solitária com a agradável lembrança de um rosto familiar sorrindo em sua despedida, monte de violetas para lhe fazer companhia e o melhor de tudo, o pensamento feliz ”Bem, o inverno se foi e eu não escrevi nenhum livro, não ganhei nenhuma fortuna, mas eu fiz um amigo que vale a pena ter e vou tentar mantê-lo a vida toda ”. Jo e Fritz passaram os dois anos seguintes escrevendo cartas um para o outro. Cuidar de Beth força Jo a reavaliar sua vida.
O guarda-chuva, auto-identificação
Em seguida, entramos na terceira e mais importante parte do namoro do século XIX. Identificação de egos, reconhecimento mútuo um do outro. Que em Little Women é o guarda-chuva. O namoro costuma ser apressado nos filmes. Friedrich, de fato, visita as Marcas por duas semanas e durante todo esse tempo espera ver sinais de amor de Jo. “Pois um professor noturno ia e vinha com um amante como a regularidade”. Então ele ficou fora por três dias inteiros e não fez nenhum sinal para prosseguir, o que fez com que todos parecessem sóbrios e Jo pensativa no início, e depois, infelizmente, muito zangada ”. A ideia de perder Friedrich tornou-se petrificante. Ela vai até o bloco alemão para procurá-lo, mas ele não está em lugar nenhum. Começa a chover e Jo está prestes a cair no choro e então ele está lá.
“Sinto que conheço a senhora de mente forte que vai tão bravamente sob muitos narizes de cavalo e tão rápida em meio a tanta confusão.
"O que você faz aqui, meu amigo? ”
"Estou fazendo compras"
O Sr. Bhaer sorriu, enquanto olhava da fábrica de picles de um lado para o atacado de couro e cartas do outro,
mas para ela, ele apenas disse educadamente.
“Você não tem guarda-chuva, posso ir também e levar para você os fardos”.
As bochechas de Jo estavam vermelhas como uma fita, e ela se perguntou o que ele pensava dela mas ela não se importou em um minuto, ela se viu andando de braços dados com seu professor. Sentindo como se o sol tivesse explodido de repente com um brilho incomum que o mundo estava bem novamente e aquela mulher verdadeiramente feliz estava se aquecendo na chuva naquele dia. Jo não tem muitas experiências com homens, então faz sentido que ela seja bastante desajeitada e desajeitada perto dele.
Em uma versão anterior do roteiro do filme de Greta Gerwig, Jo puxou uma cadeira quando Fritz veio visitá-la e a consertou de maneira muito calma. Pelo menos eles incluíram a parte de Jo, colocando-se em chamas, e o espectador descobre que Friedrich era igualmente desajeitado. “Achamos que você tinha ido”, disse Jo apressada, pois sabia que ele a estava olhando. Bonnet não era grande o suficiente para esconder seu rosto e ela temia que ele pudesse pensar que a alegria disso era uma traição espontânea. Mais uma vez, Jo enrubesce e ela está muito ciente de sua presença.
A partilha da vida interior acontece ao tentar interpretar o tom, a voz e os gestos do outro. Quando Friedrich conta a ela sobre o novo emprego e que agora ele pode oferecer uma casa melhor para seus sobrinhos Jo é encorajado pelos clientes potenciais.
“Certamente você deveria. Como será esplêndido ter você fazendo o que gosta e poder ver você com frequência e os meninos ”
Disse Jo agarrando-se aos rapazes como desculpa para a satisfação. Ela não pôde deixar de trair.
“Ach, mas não nos encontraremos com frequência, temo, este lugar fica no oeste”.
“Tão longe” e Jo deixou suas saias à sua fé ”, como se não importasse agora o que acontecia com suas roupas, ou com ela mesma.
O Sr. Bhaer sabia ler várias línguas, mas ainda não tinha aprendido a ler as mulheres. Ele se gabou por conhecer Jo muito bem e, portanto, ficou muito surpreso com as contradições de voz, rosto e maneiras. Que ela mostrou a ele em rápida sucessão naquele dia. Pois ela estava em meia dúzia de estados de ânimo diferentes no decorrer de meia hora. Quando o conheceu, ela pareceu surpresa, embora fosse impossível não suspeitar que ela tinha vindo com esse propósito expresso. Quando ele lhe ofereceu o braço, ela o aceitou com um olhar que o encheu de alegria, mas quando ele perguntou se ela sentia sua falta, ela deu uma resposta formal tão fria que o desespero caiu sobre ele, mas, sabendo de sua boa sorte, ela quase bateu palmas.
A alegria era só para os meninos? Então, ao ouvir seu destino, ela disse "tão longe" em um tom de desespero que o elevou a um pináculo de esperança mas no minuto seguinte, ela o derrubou novamente, servindo como totalmente absorvente no assunto. O narrador aponta as dificuldades, do namoro mudo, a narração de amor. Como verbalizar por meio de pistas não verbais. Quando vão às compras, Jo é muito desajeitada e Friedrich começa a ver como Jo realmente vai por contradições. Na loja, ela esconde o rosto chorado em um xale.
“Isso combina com você, Sr. Bhaer?” Ela perguntou. Virando as costas para ele, sentindo-se profundamente grato pela chance de esconder o rosto. Na verdade, sempre achei essa cena muito íntima. Isso me dá algumas vibrações sérias de 1995 de Sense and Sensibility.
Reconhecimento mútuo um do outro
No momento seguinte, ela vasculha os contadores como um “caçador de pechinchas confirmado”.
O padrão de Jo é esconder vulnerabilidades em ação, mas Jo chegou a um ponto em que está pronta para derrubar todas as suas barreiras.
"Por enquanto o sol parecia ter sumido, tão repentinamente quanto saiu, e o mundo tornou-se enlameado e miserável novamente e pela primeira vez ela descobriu que seus pés estavam frios.
Sua cabeça doía e seu coração estava mais cheio de dor do que a escada. O Sr. Bhaer estava indo embora. Ele só se importava com ela como amiga. Foi tudo um engano, e quanto mais cedo melhor. Com essa ideia na cabeça, ela saudou um ônibus que se aproximava com um gesto tão apressado que as margaridas voaram para fora da panela e ficaram muito danificadas ”. É aqui que chegamos à culminação. O reconhecimento mútuo um do outro.
"Perdão. Eu não vi o nome claramente".
Não importa, eu posso andar. Estou acostumado a remar na lama. Jo devolveu piscando com força, pois ela teria morrido, ao invés de enxugar os olhos abertamente. O Sr. Bhaer viu as gotas em suas bochechas, embora ela desviasse a cabeça. A visão pareceu tocá-lo muito, pois, de repente, ele se abaixou e perguntou em um tom que significava muito.
"Corações queridos, por que você chora?"
Gostar de alguém é assustador. Os dois se gostam há muito tempo. Quando você traz alguém para sua vida pela primeira vez, é assustador porque você tem que admitir para si mesmo que está totalmente aberto. Dar um passo à frente, para dizer que você os ama, é como estar na beira de um precipício. Jo e Friedrich estão ambos parados naquele penhasco e, quando Jo se abre, Friedrich diz a ela que já caiu duro.
Agora, se Jo não fosse nova nesse tipo de coisa, ela teria dito, ela não estava chorando, estava com um resfriado na cabeça, contou qualquer outra mentira feminina apropriada para a ocasião. Em vez daquela criatura indigna respondeu com um soluço irresistível,
"Porque você está indo embora"
“Ach mein gott, isso é tão bom”, disse o Sr. Bhaer, então bateu palmas apesar do guarda-chuva e dos pacotes.
“Jo, eu não tenho nada além de muito amor para dar a você. Eu vim ver se você poderia cuidar disso, e esperei para ter certeza de que era algo mais do que um amigo".
Sou eu? Você pode fazer um pequeno lugar em seu coração para o velho Fritz? ele adicionou tudo de uma vez.
"Ai sim!" disse Jo, e ele ficou bastante satisfeito, antes que ela cruzasse as duas mãos sobre as dele e olhasse para ele com uma expressão que mostrava claramente o quão feliz ela seria de caminhar pela vida ao lado dele embora ela não tivesse abrigo melhor a não ser um velho guarda-chuva, se ele o carregasse.
Friedrich quer ficar de joelhos, mas eles estão no meio da rua, cobertos de lama. Isso torna difícil para que expressem seu amor olhando um para o outro e não se importem mais com o que está ao seu redor. Jo chama Friedrich pelo primeiro nome pela primeira vez.O que o encanta. Ele diz que sua irmã foi a última pessoa a chamá-lo de Friedrich.
Pobre homem, isso foi há cinco anos. Friedrich também chama Jo de Jo e não de Miss March. A conversa agora está aberta e terna. O amor de Louisa pela Alemanha continua quando Friedrich pede a Jo para usar a palavra ”tu” em vez do inglês “você”. Para aqueles de vocês que não falam alemão, existe ”Sie”, que é como você se dirige a outra pessoa formalmente. Depois, há "Du" que é informal e no contexto do século 19 muito íntimo. No inglês antigo, "tu" era a versão mais íntima de "você". Friedrich mostra a Jo o poema que o trouxe até ela. O poema se chama “no sótão” e Jo o escreveu após a morte de Beth, sentindo-se muito sozinha. Na maioria das adaptações, Friedrich trouxe para Jo seu novo livro. O poema mostra que Friedrich teve tempo para seguir a carreira de Jo.Quando Jo pergunta o que o manteve afastado por tanto tempo, descobrimos que ele está procurando um emprego para que ele pudesse fornecer um lar para Jo.
Isso destaca a autossuficiência de Friedrich, um valor que Jo aprecia. O capítulo termina na famosa linha “não está vazio agora”.
“Estou feliz que você seja pobre. Eu não suportaria um marido rico ”.
Disse Jo decididamente. Em seguida, adicionado em um tom mais suave.
“Não tema a pobreza. Eu sei disso há tempo suficiente para perder minha linha e ser feliz trabalhando para aqueles que amo e não se chame de velho. 40 é o início da vida. Não poderia deixar de te amar se você tivesse 70 anos!
O professor achou isso tão comovente que ficaria feliz com seu lenço. Como não podia Jo enxugou os olhos para ele e disse rindo, enquanto ela tirava um pacote ou dois. Posso ser obstinado, mas ninguém pode dizer que estou fora da minha esfera agora e carregando fardos. Devo levar minha parte, Friedrich, e ajudar a ganhar o lar. Decida-se ou nunca irei ”.
Ela acrescentou resolutamente enquanto ele tentava recuperar sua carga. "Ach, tu me dás tanta esperança e coragem, Não tenho nada a retribuir senão o coração cheio e as mãos vazias ”.
Avistou o professor bastante emocionado. Jo nunca aprenderia a ser adequada. Pois quando ele disse isso enquanto eles estavam nos degraus, ela colocou ambas as mãos em seu sussurro ternamente.
"Não está vazio agora" e inclinando-se beijou "seu Friedrich" sob o guarda-chuva.
Aqui está outra citação de Christine Doyle. ”Enquanto Meg e John são o casal pé no chão. Amy e Laurie são os românticos, os artistas. Jo e Friedrich combinam os dois. Uma das qualidades mais marcantes de Friedrich é que ele combina o heroísmo doméstico e o romântico ”.
A maior parte do namoro do século 19 impedia de cruzar a linha até o casamento, mas isso não significa necessariamente que todos os relacionamentos carecem de paixão. Lystra menciona que os casais de classe média a alta geralmente não se consumam fisicamente até o casamento. No entanto, durante o namoro sem acompanhamento, eles o fariam. Fontes primárias tendem a sugerir que durante o século 19 o sexo tornou-se vinculado ao amor sentimental, especialmente para as mulheres. Enquanto as mulheres deveriam ser puras por natureza, Lystra afirma que os vitorianos viam o sexual, o espiritual e o moral no conceito de amor verdadeiro.
Aqui está uma citação da fã das Little Women, Kymberly East:
No professor, Jo encontrou um candidato a um tipo de casamento que ela não considerava possível. Uma união entre duas pessoas onde a liberdade e a parceria se entrelaçam. Em tal relacionamento, ela não precisava sacrificar nada. Na verdade, ela foi capaz de realizar um sonho, que de outra forma poderia não ter sido capaz de realizar e em livros posteriores, ela tem sucesso como autora e também como um lar para meninos. Sua libertação foi concluída e nenhum sacrifício foi exigido dela ”
Obrigado por assistir. Confira o episódio que eu e Emily fizemos sobre o relacionamento de Jo e Friedrich. Fique bem e faça boas escolhas. Tchau.
sMALL UMBRELLA IN THE RAIN
Small Umbrella In The Rain is an on-going series of video essays, articles and podcast episodes that examines the different intersections in Louisa May Alcott´s Little Women.