More Old-Fashioned



CURRENT BOOK:  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The bathroom is coming along and the ball was business as usual except we did not see my former boss and her family like we hoped.  We enjoy the ball so much that my husband is trying to get into the organization (it’s only for men — I’m on the waiting list for the waiting list for the women’s organization).  Anyway, he has about four people trying to squeeze him in if a spot opens up within their groups.  The stylists at the nail and hair/makeup jobs did a sublime job turning my hot mess self into something appropriately glamorous.  Generally I’m a girl who’s just as happy chilling around in loungewear without even brushing my hair, but you’ve gotta go all out sometimes, right?

After reading Little Women, I am noticing a pattern that all books written for girls in the Victorian era are highly puritanical.  I actually took the old-fashioned values to heart when I was reading these books as a child, but as an adult, I am seeing it with new eyes.  Children are held to such a different standard now.  I can’t recall reading the sequels.

Little Women, based on Alcott’s own experiences within her family, chronicles the coming-of-age of four sisters in New England during and after the Civil War.  They face many challenges and must make some difficult decisions, which they learn from, and they retain their strong bonds and form valuable friendships along the way.  The value of love and virtue versus money is a recurring theme throughout.  Everything wraps up neatly with a celebration of a milestone birthday for their mother and their mother’s happiness at the lives her girls have carved out for themselves — and especially for the time, the girls do find fulfillment in that go beyond their places as wives and mothers.

While I can understand and support its place on The List, I think it shows more about how the American female experience has changed and how society’s values have changed, than it is reflective of the American female experience itself.


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