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Little Women Read Along Discussion #3

Today is the last day of the Little Women read along. Sad! I can't believe it's over; I've had so much fun with this. But I suppose all good things must come to end (or least most of them) and at least I'll have a new read along to participate in starting tomorrow! And I also want to encourage any of you interested to join the Northanger Abbey read along. One chapter per day is so doable and read alongs are so much fun. Reading good books and making new friends? What more could you ask for?

Today we're covering chapters 34-47 of Little Women. Discussion questions were written by Jenni.

Q & A

1. What do you think about the girls now? Has your opinion of them changed since the beginning or even the middle of the story?
Subtly. I still feel that Jo is my favorite and Beth is a close second because I relate to them the most. Meg has improved in my opinion, though she still seems a bit superficial here and there (but I think we all have those moments, so I'm not judging). I think Amy has changed the most. She still loves pretty things (and I don't blame her; I do too) but she doesn't focus on riches like she did prior to marrying Laurie.

2. At the end of the book, which character do you relate to most? Is it a different character than at the beginning?
I still feel that I relate to Jo the most. We both love reading and writing and hate the idea of growing up. True, she changes her views on certain things as she grows older, but I'm not at that point in my life yet so I can't relate in those areas yet. I think I relate to Beth more than I realized. I'm not nearly as selfless as she was (though I wish I could be) but I am a shy person who likes to stay at home (even though I wish I had the guts to travel) and can relate to a quote from the movie quite well. "Everyone is growing up and leaving me."

3. Do you think Beth should’ve died when and in the way she did?
This is kind of a tough question to answer, especially seeing that it was based on a real event in Louisa May Alcott's life. I'm glad that Beth lived longer than they expected her to when she got scarlet fever, but it's still so sad that she did die from a disease that is now so curable and at such a young age, when life is just beginning, really. I think it was very fitting that she died with her family surrounding her because they were all so close.

4. How do you feel about Laurie’s romantic decisions? Did his relationship with Amy seem developed enough to be sincere?
It did seem to go a bit fast. And really, she probably wrote it that way to keep Laurie as a part of the March family. I'm kind of grateful for that because I couldn't imagine the March family without Laurie. As for it being sincere.... I'm not sure. But Laurie does say wonderful things of Amy and that's nice to see.

5. How do you feel about Jo’s romantic decisions? Do you think they were consistent with her character?
In a way I would say no, it's not consistent with Jo's character because she always said she would remain an old maid. But then again Jo will surprise you and it definitely surprised everyone when she fell in love with Professor Bhaer. Plus, he's unconventional; he's older, he's poor, and he's from a different country. He isn't the type of guy Meg or Amy would have gone for, but he and Jo fit well together (even though I wish she would have married Laurie!).

6. What do you think about the names the girls and their husbands gave to their children?
I love that Jo named her son Teddy! I just think that's great. And I love that Amy named her daughter Beth, even though it is sad especially seeing that her Beth is sickly, too.

7. If this was your first time reading Little Women, what do you think? Did it meet your expectations? Would you read it again? If this was a reread, do you feel the same as you did when you read it the first time? Or, has your opinion changed?

8. Do you have a favorite quote or passage from Little Women?
I have so many! Here are a few:

9. Would you change anything about the story if you could? If so, what?
I'm a little conflicted. I do wish Jo and Laurie would have wound up together, but I do like Professor Bhaer. But at the same time it would be interesting to see Jo as a spinster. Maybe we could see some alternate endings and then I would give you my opinion. And it would be nice to see Beth grow up and be well, though it's hard to imagine her as a full-fledged adult.

10. Even though the setting for Little Women is quite different from today’s world, do you think we can learn anything from this story? If so, what?
I think there are many things we can learn; the importance of work, how to be respectful toward one another, to never give up on yourself even if you face difficulties. Little Women is full of lessons that apply to everyone at any time.

Other Thoughts:

I've seen a lot of people comment that they think Jo's turning down Laurie's proposal was forced and didn't seem to flow. Like she didn't really want Jo to turn down Laurie. And I agree, it didn't seem right (and I'm not just saying that because I wanted them to be together). Knowing that Louisa May Alcott was a spinster all her life, and that Little Women is semi-autobiographical and that she based Jo on herself, I almost wonder if maybe she wrote it this way to protect herself. Maybe she wanted to leave some aspects of her life (and one's love-life can be a very personal thing) out of the story and she wanted Jo's romance to be different than her own. Or perhaps it's true that she did have a friend that was like her "Laurie" and things just didn't work out and she wanted to channel that pain into art. Who knows? This is just my humble opinion.

Favorite Quotes From Chapters 34-47:

"There were lines upon his forehead, but Time seemed to touch him gently, remembering how kind he was to others." Chapter 34, talking about Professor Bhaer.

"....for love is the only thing that we can carry with us when we go, and it makes the end so easy." -Beth, Chapter 40

"....a face so full of painless peace that those who loved it best smiled through their tears, and thanked God that Beth was well at last."  Chapter 40

"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning to sail my ship." -Amy, Chapter 44

And so now I say farewell to the Little Women read along of 2016. It was more fun than I could have imagined and a decision I will never regret. I've fallen in love so much with this book over the course of the month. I will most definitely read it again many times in my life.


  1. I like your answers and observations :) I too am joining in on the reading of Northanger Abbey so see you there! :)

    1. Thanks, Julie! Yay, I'm so excited for the Northanger Abbey read along! It's going to be fun. Thank you for stopping by!

      -Miranda Atchley

  2. It's sad to see this read-along end. I really enjoyed reading Little Women. I enjoyed reading your answers as well. One thing I would have loved to hear what Marmee thought of Professor Bhaer. I'm sure she liked him, but I wonder what she thought when she first read Jo's letters about him. Even though Jo claimed she had no romantic interest in him, she wrote so much about him that her mother must have suspected something, don't you think?

    1. Yes! I agree. It definitely would have been interesting to read what Marmee thought as she read those letters. I think any mother would be curious when their daughter mentions a man as she's living away from home for the first time. That's a good observation and one that I hadn't really though of.

      Thank you for stopping by!

      -Miranda Atchley

  3. I really enjoyed reading your answers. I agree that my main problem with Laurie and Amy is that it felt so fast. I would have like a little more foreshadowing. I love the quotes you included. There are so many good quotes in this book.

    1. Thanks, Amy! Yes, hints here and there prior to the actual event would have made it seem more real. I think in the movie they do add those little hints that make it seem more believable. And I agree; Little Women has soooo many good quotes to remember at all occasions in life.

      Thank you for stopping by!

      -Miranda Atchley

  4. I really liked reading your answers to the questions. Thank you for participating. I also like your observation at the end about Jo in relation to LMA. I never thought of that, but it sounds plausible.

    1. Thanks, Jenni! Who knows if I'm even close on that, but I felt like sharing. Thank you so much for hosting the read along with Kami and Suey. It's been so much fun and I am so grateful.

      -Miranda Atchley


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